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Behind the scenes of ''The Day After Tomorrow''

Jake Gyllenhaal and Dennis Quaid weather a fictional storm — and a real-life political one — with ”The Day After Tomorrow”

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Jake Gyllenhaal
Jake Gyllenhaal Photograph by James White

”The Day After Tomorrow” — director Roland Emmerich’s latest grand disaster flick, revolving around a paleoclimatologist (Dennis Quaid) determined to save his New York City-trapped son (Jake Gyllenhaal) during a fast-descending Ice Age — is certainly bigger than the German director’s previous event flicks: It boasts a budget and special effects that seek to shame Emmerich’s ”Stargate,” ”Independence Day,” and ”Godzilla.”

And it’s faster, too: ”DAT”’s global-warming-triggered Ice Age rocks the world in a speedy (and scientifically impossible) few days — plus there’s the swiftness with which real-life environmental groups have launched awareness campaigns around the film. And it’s funnier, with the casting of Canadian actor Kenneth Welsh as ”DAT”’s villainous, Kyoto-hating Vice President. Welsh is a ringer, you see, for a Veep Named Dick. ”Somebody said, ‘But he looks like Cheney, we cannot cast him!”’ the director recalls. ”I said, ‘He looks like Cheney? Well, then he’s cast!’ I think it’s strange how people in America constantly dance around things.”

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