DJ Caruso held a virtual roundtable today in order to discuss his film, “I Am Number Four”, which is coming out on DVD and Blu-Ray May 24.

In the roundtable, Caruso discussed how he cast the film and some of the challenges that arose while filming.

When asked about how he cast the characters, Caruso wrote, “Alex brought a strong physical presence and he also had a very accessible quality. Dianna [Agron] had a grace and intelligence that the character required. Callan was perfect for Sam because he embodied Sam’s pain and struggle, but maintained a cool quality. Teresa was just plain kick ass in the room.”

Caruso wrote that he really wanted to do a film that reminded him of sci-fi films from the 1980s. “: I was looking for a somewhat family friendly science fiction film like the great ones in the 80’s that I grew up watching like Back to the Future. I felt that ‘IAM4’ had qualities that I could tap into that would satisfy that desire. That is why I was attracted to the material.”

He also stated that one of the big challenges was interweaving the effects into the film. “Blending visual effects with the teenage drama. That was a challenge, not to allow the effects to overtake the characters…All films present tremendous challenges. ‘IAM4’ was loaded with special effects and the number of shots grew. We had less than nine months to finish the film. So it was a full court press to make our release date.”

He went on to explain more about the time constraints. “I dreaded the quick turn-around,” he wrote. “I love to tinker and play with the film in post. There was just too little time. I am blessed to be a director. There is nothing about it that I dread.”

The main point of the film Caruso wanted to get across was how John/Number Four (Alex Pettyfer) comes into himself and realizes that, to paraphrase Stan Lee, he has great powers and great responsibility. “Once you accept who you truly are, you become empowered to [do] great things with your life,” he wrote. “In his quest for normality and true love he learns that his destiny calls on him to sacrifice the things he truly wants. He must become selfless. For a young man or alien (ha ha) that is a tough thing to accept.” This also comes into play when he mentioned how he attempted to make the film different from other teen dramas. “I strive for truth in themes,” he wrote. “Teens tend to be narcissistic by nature and I loved that John had to sacrifice what he loved and wanted for the greater good. I also loved that he stepped in and stopped the bullying that was happening with Sam. I love lacing in great music for the young audiences as well. I’m still a teen, musically (ha ha).”

Shockya was able to get this question answered:

I saw on the deleted scenes that Sam’s mom was initially worked into the plot, but got cut out. If other movies about Number Four get made, will Sam’s mom come back into the plot?
DJ Caruso: Sam’s mom was a created a few days before production started and we would have loved to have expanded on her character. She might show up in the next book? We fully fleshed out her back story behind the scenes.

Caruso’s next film projects? “‘Preacher’ at Sony based on Garth Ennis’ graphic novel,” wrote Caruso. “Also working on a very small ind[ie] entitled ‘Goats’.

DJ Caruso
DJ Caruso

By Monique Jones

Monique Jones blogs about race and culture in entertainment, particularly movies and television. You can read her articles at Racialicious, and her new site, COLOR . You can also listen to her new podcast, What would Monique Say.

One thought on “I Am Number Four director DJ Caruso on casting, shooting the film”
  1. I so love the movie ! DJ Caruso and the cast did a great job ! And of course the
    music is great, too. My favourite is “Letters from the sky” by “Civil Twilight”,
    but I like “Shelter” by “The XX”, too.

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