[The following information comes from the press kit for the film...]
Rachel (Emily Bergl) is not like the other kids at her high school. She doesn't belong to the right crowd, doesn't wear the right clothes or go to the right parties.
But Rachel has something else that separates her from the rest, the secret gift of telekinesis which enables her to move things with her mind. When Rachel meets Jessie (Jason London), the shell she's built around herself begins to crack. Maybe her life can approach normal after all. But as Rachel slowly learns to trust, a terrible trap is being laid for her. And making her angry could prove to be fatal.
United Artists Pictures presents The Rage: Carrie 2, directed by Katt Shea (Poison Ivy) from a screenplay by Rafael Moreu (Hackers). The film is produced by Paul Monash (Carrie, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid). Patrick Palmer (Moonstruck, Children of a Lesser God) is the executive producer.
Amy Irving (Deconstructing Harry, Yentyl), who made her feature debut as the only survivor of the prom night inferno in the original Carrie, reprises her role as Sue Snell. Twenty years later, she has become the guidance counselor at Bates High School, which has been rebuilt just down the road from where the original Bates High School stood before it was destroyed the night of Carrie White's rampage.
The film also stars an ensemble of rising young talents, led by newcomer Emily Bergl, along with Jason London, Dylan Bruno, Zachery Ty Bryan, Justin Urich, Elijah Craig, Rachel Blanchard, Charlotte Ayanna, Mena Suvari and Eddie Kay Thomas. Also featured are veterans J. Smith-Cameron, John Doe and Kate Skinner.
The release of Brian DePalma's thriller Carrie in 1976, based on Stephen King's best-selling novel, was a groundbreaking event in the horror genre. Topical and intimate, character-driven and provocative... it scared the pants off audiences all over the world.
The Rage: Carrie 2 revisits the same emotional territory -- the horrors of high school. As in the real-life corridors of teenage academia, there are the popular kids and the outsiders. "This is very much a '90s story," says director Katt Shea. "It addresses issues of how difficult it is to be a young woman today. It also takes into account the fact that while many issues don't change with time, there are attitudes and behaviors between the sexes that are unique to each generation."
Rachel Lang (Bergl) is perpetually on the outside looking in. With her mother locked away in a mental institution and foster parents who are more concerned with their caretaker's check than her well-being, Rachel lives in a private world she shares only with her beloved dog, Walter, and best friend, Lisa (Mena Suvari). "Rachel lives in a kind of self-imposed exile from the other kids at school," says Bergl, an accomplished young stage actress who makes her feature film debut in The Rage: Carrie 2. "She chooses to be separate from the other kids in her high school because she doesn't feel any real connection with them."
"Rachel is not a victim the way Carrie was," adds Shea. "She's pretty tough and has become well armored as a result of the blows that society has inflicted on her."
This insulated world is shattered when Lisa commits suicide and Rachel learns that the high school's group of popular football players and their pastime of sexual conquests may be the cause. When their leader, Mark (Dylan Bruno), begins to suspect that Rachel will break up their game by giving evidence to the police, he plans a cruel trick that will not only humiliate her but forever draw the line between what she is and what they are.
Complicating matter is Jessie (Jason London), one of the football players who is reluctant about joining in his teammates' bad behavior. Once he and Rachel finally break the social barriers -- and Rachel's own protective shell -- a powerful bond begins to form between them. "Her rough life has taught Rachel that people aren't always what they appear to be on the surface," Bergl notes.
"Rachel has put this emotional armor on herself," adds screenwriter Rafael Moreu. "Jessie manages to take it off her, piece by piece, until she is standing there naked and vulnerable, and then, just as she is at her most naked and exposed, the thing she fears most comes true."
Jason London, who starred in Richard Linklater's ode to the '70s, Dazed and Confused and the forthcoming independent drama Broken Vessels, stars as Jassie, who falls in love with Rachel in spite of their social differences. "Jessie is one of the football stars and part of the popular crowd," says London. "But he finds Rachel intriguing. It's threatening both to him and to his buddies because she has no interest in being involved in that kind of crowd and he feels a little guilty when he hears his friends making fun of her."
London points out that while he opens the door to the popular group for her, she too opens doors for him, "particularly with regard to dealing with peer pressure. He's always been afraid of going up against it but she's lived her whole life on the outside and so barely even feels it."
"Rachel has never fallen in love before," Bergl adds. "And while Jessie has more experience with the opposite sex, I don't think he's ever really fallen in love with anyone either. They're two people from very different social backgrounds who end up coming together despite their differences in friends and social stations at high school. I think it's a love story that is very tragic and very beautiful at the same time."
"At heart, Rachel is more honest than most of the people that surround her at school," notes Dylan Bruno, who appeared in Saving Private Ryan and When Trumpets Fade. "Mark is threatened by Rachel because she's taking his friend away from our little clique of guys. So, the cool, popular kids in school plan this prank to pay her back for all the wrongs that, in their minds, she has done to them."
What Mark and his friends don't know is that Rachel was born with powerful telekinetic abilities of which she is barely aware. "Turns out that she has a lot more power than Mark or anyone else does," says Bruno.
Bergl points out that Rachel is not really conscious of her telekinetic powers. "She attributes it to her schizophrenic mother," she says. "That's a big struggle for her because she's never really sure if what she's seeing is real. But throughout the film, she discovers her powers and I can tell you that by the end she knows all about them. There's definitely some bad-assed telekinesis in this film."
Moreu notes that the similarities between Rachel and Carrie White are more than blood-deep. "Rachel's tough in a way that Carrie was not. In a way, she's the antithesis of Carrie White, but yet she's exactly the same."
Eric, the jock who is partly responsible for the suicide of Rachel's best friend, is played by Zachery Ty Bryan, one of the young stars of TV's hit comedy Home Improvement. "I think it's great playing a bad guy like Eric," says Bryan. "You're playing a character you wouldn't normally be in life. I mean, at least, I wouldn't be. It's kind of weird to put yourself in the mind of that person and really go for it with real attitude."
Also making the leap from TV to the big screen is Rachel Blanchard, who stars as Monica, who befriends Rachel as part of the plot to humiliate her. "Monica is one of the popular girls," says Blanchard who is no less popular but a lot nicer as the lead character in TV's Clueless. "Although she's quite reserved, I think she's also the most deceitful of all the characters because she pretends to befriend Rachel when she has no intentions of ever really being kind to her. Let's face it, she's evil."
Newcomers Justin Urich, Elijah Craig and Charlotte Ayanna round out the "in" crowd, with Mena Suvari taking on the role of Rachel's tragic best friend, Lisa. John Doe and Kate Skinner portray her foster parents and J. Smith-Cameron takes on the role of Rachel's tormented mother.
Bergl feels that The Rage: Carrie 2 "makes a strong statement about the way young women are treated in high school, how they are inappropriately sexualized and face a lot of pressure from guys. It's grounded in the emotional reality of being a 17 year-old girl."
In the tradition of the original Carrie, the filmmakers have assembled a cast of talented unknowns around established star Amy Irving.
"I didn't think about the amount of their experience when I was working with these actors," says director Shea. "I wanted the actors to be distinctive from one another and unique in their screen personalities."
To play Rachel, the filmmakers cast newcomer Bergl, who had both the intensity and the warmth the filmmakers wanted for Rachel. "It's funny but, as a kid, I was fascinated with the first Carrie," the young actress admits. "Even before I saw it, I'd go to the video store and kind of stare at the box with the two pictures of Sissy Spacek -- the before and the after."
Bergl found the experience of working with Irving invaluable. The veteran actress was both a source of information and inspiration for the novice star. "I've been really lucky as an actor, meeting people who've been in the business a long time who have been willing to help me out," Bergl says. "I wouldn't even be doing this movie if the other actors hadn't been willing to give me good advice and introduce me to people and guide me along the way. Amy has been incredibly generous and the thing I've appreciated more than anything is that she's treated me as an equal."
"Emily is a truly extraordinary actress," says Amy Irving, whose impressive filmography includes such films as Deconstructing Harry, Yentl and The Fury. "This opportunity is a giant step in her career but I definitely believe she is ready for it. She's very open to learning everything she can. I've had a lot of fun working with her."
Irving was drawn back to the scene of her film debut by both her appreciation for the script and her respect for the original, landmark movie. "I never thought there would be a sequel," admits Irving. "But when I read the script, it made sense. I talked to (Carrie director) Brian DePalma about it, to get his blessing, and he thought it was a great idea and I should go for it.
"I never in a million years thought the original Carrie would have such an impact. There was some question of whether Sue Snell would even survive -- let alone come back in a sequel 20 years later. It's funny how that ending has stayed with people. I remember being at a sneak preview -- I think it was Halloween Eve -- and the audience scared me because all of a sudden they jumped three feet out of their seats when Sissy (Spacek)'s hand came out of the grave."
Under the helm of director Shea, the new characters illustrate the timelessness of pitting a young outsider against the crowd. "The underlying theme of getting revenge on one's persecutors -- particularly with the aid of superhuman powers -- is an irresistible, universal fantasy," concludes Shea. "This movie taps into that adolescent archetype. Any girl or boy who is not identifying with Rachel by the end of the movie simply hasn't been to high school."
The Rage: Carrie 2 was filmed entirely on location in Charlotte, North Carolina. An 11,000 sq. ft. house was built on the floor of Charlotte's old convention center (soon to be a shopping mall) in the heart of downtown. The house, with its swimming pool and walls of expensive glass brick, was completely destroyed for the climactic party scene.
"We imploded the house with an air mortar, a big, 1000 gallon tank filled with compressed air and electric valves," describes special effects supervisor Roy Arbogast (Close Encounters of the Third Kind). "When you open the valves, there's a huge air explosion. When the glass implodes, a lot of people die ffrom the big shards of shooting glass. Pieces stick into people and do all kinds of bodily damage. Most of that will be wire work and what we call pop-ups, a piece of glass rigged like a mouse trap."
During this climactic sequence, Rachel ignites a fire and blows out all the liquor bottles. She makes the fireplace explode; logs and alcohol flames fly out. She also closes all the shutters, trapping all the party-goers in the house. Arbogast and his crew loaded the bottles and logs on the set with exploding squibs and smeared the shutters with a gel that would enable the crew to ignite the fire when needed and extinguish it easily.
The other tricks Arbogast and his crew rigged included flying CDs being hurled through the air with mechanical throwers and fireplace pokers also being hurled through the air.
"There is a lot of very careful timing involved in creating the scenes in which Rachel uses her telekinesis," says director Shea. "Doors are slamming and things are flying through the air. We're doing a lot of in-camera effects that are really incredible and help tell the story, and then there are the explosions -- heads bing cut off, makeup effects. It's quite a show."
Part of the fun of doing a supernatural thriller is, for Shea, the aspect of going outside of reality. "For me, it's the opportunity to really go crazy as a director and just use all the elements that are available to me visually. In drama, you really have to stay within reality as the rest of the world sees it.