AT THE MOVIES: The Man Behind the Apocalypse

Mark Forker, Special-Effects Genius

When director John Hillcoat needed someone to create vast post-apocalyptic landscapes for his new Viggo Mortensen-led epic The Road, he sought out Mark Forker, who heads visual-effects house DIVE out of the Curtis Center. Forker, 54, spent more than a dozen years working in L.A. on such effects-driven features as Titanic, Armageddon and Apollo 13, but moved here a few years ago thanks to our film tax incentive. “Plus, I did not like L.A. at all,” he says. “L.A. has no soul.” As for his newest project, which Esquire called “the most important movie of the year,” don’t look for comet impacts or humanity-sucking wormholes. “I don’t like to do the obvious Transformers stuff. I’m really into the photo-real: the environment, the weather, that kind of thing.” The Road is set years after some cataclysmic event occurred, presenting a unique challenge for Forker. “We typically look to other movies for reference,” he explains. “With most films that display apocalypse, you’re seeing it occur, or you’re watching just after. But in this case, we had to ask, ‘How does it look 10 years later?’ It’s itself old, dusted-over. Repairs have not been made. What does that look like?”