The only items more prominent than Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt in their new movie “Edge of Tomorrow” are the giant functional battle suits used by the military in the film.
Called ExoSuits, Major William Cage (Cruise) and Sergeant Rita Vrataski (Blunt) use them to wage war on aliens known as Mimics.
The suits come in different shapes and sizes, and while you may think some of the suits are CGI or visual effects added in over actors, they are very real.
While the ExoSuits are never explained in depth in the film, a huge amount of detail and time went into creating them.
The film’s production notes break down the process that went into making the intricate gear.
Since it was necessary for actors to move around in the suits, director Doug Liman had a few requirements for the design. First, it would have to be an open suit rather than a complete body suit. It would also need to adhere to the working joints of the human body for movement.
“We were looking for something high tech, but in the style that the military would arrive at,” said director Doug Liman. “The military is not trying to sell their product to anyone, so they have a much more utilitarian approach and attitude to design. That is how I wanted the armour to look, simplified and raw, not like something sleek.”
Production designer Oliver Scholl and costume designer Kate Hawley oversaw the production of 70 ExoSuits. Another 50 suits were made out of softer material.
“Just building the ExoSuits alone took four to five months,” said Liman. “Once we committed to a design, we couldn’t come up with a new idea and expect it to happen any time soon.”
Cruise himself also helped develop the battle suits. He said the average suit weighed around 85 pounds; however, depending on the suit it could weigh up to 120 or 125 pounds.
A total of three different types of suits were made categorized as “grunts,” “tanks,” and “dogs.” Each one included different weapons.
For example, the “dog” suit includes rocket-launching guns that pop up from the suit.
The tank features huge machine guns while the grunt has smaller pistols.
Special attention was given to make Emily Blunt’s suit stand out from the rest. Since her character Rita is seen as a symbol of the fight against the Mimics, production wanted to avoid making her suit look too “girly.”
To accomplish that, red slash marks were put on the chest of her suit. They’re supposed to show Rita’s journey “to hell and back.”
In addition to guns, Rita was also given a sword made out of the rotor blade from a helicopter.
Once the suits were complete, it took a team of four people to get each individual cast member into their suit.
Cruise said it initially took 30 minutes to get into his suit and another 30 to get out. He eventually started timing the entire crew until they could get in and out of the garb in 30 seconds.
“Creating a fully-functioning ExoSuit was such a complicated process, but in the end we were all incredibly proud of the work we did,” said Hawley. “‘Form follows function’ was the lesson we learned in the end.'”
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