Chris McKay’s The Tomorrow War is a blockbuster designed to keep you on the balls of your feet, guessing where it’s going to go. The story, by design, places us in the shoes of a military veteran (played by Chris Pratt) who gets recruited by time-traveling soldiers who are fighting a war against alien invaders in the future. The audience is supposed to be as confused as Pratt’s character, Dan, as he finds his way through the thriller. But McKay’s actors were equally confused when it came down to one specific character.
Dan meets Dorian (Edwin Hodge), a savvy veteran, once they start training for the future fight. We don’t know much about Dorian, save for the fact that he repeatedly volunteers to keep returning to the battlefield, even after his designated draft period is over. But why? What happened to this man that he seeks solace on a battlefield where countless volunteers have died trying to stave off an alien threat? When I asked Hodge during a recent press day for The Tomorrow War, his answer surprised me. Press play on the video above to hear it.
Characters like Dorian immediately attract the attention of the audience, because even in the midst of a jarring and confusing situation, here comes this lone figure with his own mysteries to solve. Usually, backstory helps to inform an actor on how best to play the role, but it’s not always provided, and some actors claim that they don’t want it.
Edwin Hodge did want to know more about Dorian, so he could inject some flavor into his characterization. And as an actor, he relished the opportunities, almost on a daily basis, to figure this character out alongside his director, Chris McKay, and create him from the ground up. As he told CinemaBlend during the press day for The Tomorrow War:
That process came to be throughout filming, sitting down with Chris (McKay). A lot of times, it was kind of scene by scene. We’d jump into a scene, and it’s like, ‘Okay, what are we feeling today?’ Based on what Dorian’s going through at this point, in the backstory that we built, what are we going through in this day, and this moment in time? That organic process, I feel, made jumping into this character just effortless, in a sense.
Personally, that would terrify me. As a performer, I’d want to know as much as I could about my character before I committed to a scene, but there’s a reactionary tone and place to Chris McKay’s The Tomorrow War that allows for this level of discovery in the moment, and it appears that Edwin Hodge embraced it and dove right in.
People have been digging The Tomorrow War on Amazon Prime. The film was meant to be a franchise starter for Paramount, though that studio sold it to Amazon as a Prime Streaming play. The film hit the Number One spot on streaming (though, the numbers are suspect on ANY streaming service), and a sequel has been greenlit. So, it’s back to the future for our brave militia. We’ll report on The Tomorrow War 2 details as they arrive.