UNIVERSAL PICTURES ANNOUNCE
DVD AND BLU-RAY RELEASE OF
JEFF WAYNE’S MUSICAL VERSION OF
‘THE WAR OF THE WORLDS… THE NEW GENERATION!’
Featuring Liam Neeson in 3D holography
and an all-star cast
“…Dazzling…I felt a shiver of excitement…”
“…Who could ask for more…”
“…Thoroughly entertaining.” “Truly impressive”
“…Eye and Ear Boggling”
“A veritable feast of live stage and musical brilliance”
The Newcastle Evening Chronicle
Following a triumphant UK and European arena tour in 2012, Universal Pictures are delighted to announce that ‘The New Generation’ of one of the most ground-breaking and best-selling musical works of all time, Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of The War of the Worlds, will be released on DVD and Blu-ray™ on Monday 25 November.
Filmed at London’s O2 Arena and innovatively combining music, technology and live performance, it features an all-star cast including Marti Pellow as The Sung Thoughts of The Journalist, Jason Donovan as Parson Nathaniel, Wicked’s Kerry Ellis as his wife Beth, Kaiser Chiefs’ Ricky Wilson as The Artilleryman and Jettblack’s Will Stapleton as The Voice of Humanity.
Internationally acclaimed actor Liam Neeson completes the cast and will be seen in the new production in stunning 3D holography portraying the role of George Herbert, The Journalist. Taking over from Richard Burton’s iconic narration, Liam with an expanded story and musical score appears in 90 sequences (as opposed to Richard’s 74) including as an 11-foot high holographic ‘head and shoulders’ above the stage and within CGI sequences projected on the shows 100-foot wide Animation Wall.
It is Liam’s breathtaking full-body 3D performance, that seamlessly interacts with the live performers on stage, that leads the exciting new ingredients which complement the most memorable and iconic elements from previous productions and make it a truly epic production and multi-media extravaganza not be missed. Others include a 3-tonne, 35-foot tall Martian Fighting Machine firing real flame Heat Rays, a world first ‘levitation’, a leaf drop over the audience, and a Fighting Machine’s climatic ‘incineration’ of a cast member and NASA control centre, all mixed in surround sound.
Released on DVD and Blu-ray™ on Monday 25 November, this captivating and must-own spectacular will be accompanied by exclusive behind-the-scenes interviews with Liam Neeson, Marti Pellow and Jeff Wayne on the DVD, plus additional interviews with the rest of the cast including Jason Donovan and Ricky Wilson on the Blu-ray™ version.
Jeff Wayne’s double album was originally released by CBS records in 1978. It enjoyed huge success and critical acclaim across the globe with over 15 million records sold and spending over 330 weeks in the UK Album Charts (to date) plus achieving two International hit singles – ‘Forever Autumn’ and ‘The Eve of The War’.
The War of The Worlds has also won two prestigious UK Ivor Novello Awards, the US Best Recording in Science Fiction and Fantasy (the judges included Alfred Hitchcock, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg), as well as winning for Jeff, Classic Rock’s ‘Showman of The Year’ Award.
Talking about the latest re-incarnation of his audience and critically acclaimed work and its International release on DVD and Blu-ray™, Jeff Wayne said “Over the years I’ve often been asked that if I was composing and producing TWOTW ‘today’, how would I approach it? I always replied with that old chestnut, ‘if it’s not broke, why fix it”?
But in 2006 we created our first multimedia/live performance production touring arenas in the UK, Europe, Australia and New Zealand and I started seeing again the drama of the piece with fresh eyes.
Then on holiday after a tour in 2010, I decided to re-read HG Wells’ novel and our original script. It reminded me how much rich material never made it onto the album and our tours to date had pretty much followed the album’s structure.
HG wrote his story about an alien force from Mars invading Earth in 1897. His Martians were all brain with tentacles and superior intelligence, who brought amazing machines and weaponry with them. Landing on Horsell Common in Surrey, England, all Victorian humanity could defend itself with were rifles, cannons and some warships. Pop guns and toy boats by comparison.
Beneath this fantastic story though was a very serious questioning of the expanding British Empire reaching out ITS tentacles to the other side of the world to dominate and control. And no matter who carried these acts out, it was wrong.
Whether it was Wells’ world of the 1890s, or our world today, there remain wars fought over one’s faith, the control of territory, and the gaining and maintaining of power, at whatever cost. And when HG created his deadly cloud, the Black Dust, did he really foresee it was just chemical weapons by another name. Martians or Madmen, we never learn.
By the time my 2010 holiday had ended, I knew then there was more to say, and we would achieve this for our 2012 tour.
There was some sadness along the way. Richard Burton’s magnificent original performance of 74 sequences as George Herbert, the Journalist, were finite. There was no opportunity to expand it as Richard passed away in 1984.
From the sadness came excitement of seeing 90 sequences performed now by one of the new generation of great actors, Liam Neeson. Richard couldn’t have passed his baton to anyone more fitting. The new production also grew in every way, and the cast of 2012 complete the evolution.
For those who have been on the very long journey with me since my original recording and then our tours – thank you sincerely for staying part of it. For those new to my musical version, welcome to our world of The War of The Worlds – Alive on Stage! The New Generation.”