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Dennis Quaid Weathers The Storm

In the new big-budget disaster film, "The Day After Tomorrow," Dennis Quaid plays a climatologist whose research indicates global warming made a disastrous change to earth's climate, which causes the planet to head for a new Ice Age.

The film has generated quite a buzz, politically speaking, since some people have used it to criticize the current administration about its environmental policies. But Quaid tells The Early Show co-anchor Rene Syler the film goes beyond politics; it actually aims to entertain.

He says, "This movie is a mother of all disaster movies, really. It's every disaster movie you have seen rolled into one. I have been a big fan of these since I was a kid, since 'Earthquake' and 'Towering Inferno.'"

In "The Day After Tomorrow," tornadoes rip Los Angeles, a massive snowstorm pounds New Delhi, large hail destroys Tokyo and the temperature changes from sweltering to freezing in one day in New York. Like "Independence Day," which was made by the same producers as "The Day After Tomorrow," the survivors of the catastrophe are faced with an uncertain future.

As climatologist Jack Hall, Quaid tries to warn the world. He says he "tries to save the world. And he winds up in the end trying to save the life of his son played by Jake Gyllenhaal."

The film was mostly shot on a sound stage in Montreal during the winter of 2002-03. It was "one of the harshest winters on record. It was 40 degrees below outside, but we are shooting in a sound stage that is about 80 degrees, and we are doing a movie about an Ice Age," Quaid notes.

Asked how hard was it to get into character, he says, "I'm in the arctic wear and doing a sweating detox thing inside there; they are blowing snow in my face with the wind machine at 100 miles an hour. The snow is made out of shredded Pampers and newspaper and snow flakes."

And the special effects are amazing, Syler notes, and Quaid agrees. "I've been a fan of Roland Emmerich. He is the master of disaster. Nobody does it better than Roland. The great thing about him, he's like a teenage boy. He knows what's cool. He knows how to wink at the audience while destroying the Earth."

Quaid notes his 12-year-old son was eager to see it again the day after they both watched it.

"It's a great time for my career and personal life," Quaid says, having been clean and sober for some time and having received critical acclaim for the films "The Rookie " and "Far From Heaven." "You get older and things fall away. You sort of are at a place in your life where you don't care so much about what people think and the world thinks. You know what you like."

Some Facts About Dennis Quaid

  • Dennis William Quaid was born in Houston, Texas on April 9, 1954.
  • Dennis Quaid's brother is actor/director Randy Quaid.
  • Quaid attended University of Houston in Texas, but he dropped out to pursue acting.
  • Quaid's former wife is actress Meg Ryan.
  • In 1977, Quaid performed in his first feature role as one of a group of friends helping Richard Thomas cope with the death of his idol James Dean in "9/30/55."
  • In 1979, Quaid gained Hollywood's attention for his role in "Breaking Away."
  • In 1980, Dennis Quaid teamed with his brother Randy to play the outlaw Miller brothers in Walter Hill's Western "The Long Riders."
  • In 1983, Quaid played astronaut Gordon Cooper in "The Right Stuff."
  • In 1987, the actor played a Louisiana detective in "The Big Easy"; he also starred in the sci-fi comedy "Innerspace."
  • In 1989, Quaid played singer Jerry Lee Lewis in the biopic "Great Balls of Fire."
  • In 1993, Quaid had many roles in features such as "Wilder Napalm," "Thin Man," "Undercover Blues," "Flesh and Bone." and "Wyatt Earp."
  • In 1995, Quaid co-starred with Julia Roberts in "Something to Talk About."
  • In 1996, the actor played a medieval knight in "Dragonheart."
  • In 1998, Quaid co-starring with Natasha Richardson in the remake of Disney's "The Parent Trap."
  • In 1999, he played an aging quarterback in the Oliver Stone-directed "Any Given Sunday."
  • In 2000, Quaid played a firefighter who is able to communicate across time with his grown son (James Caviezel) in the fantasy "Frequency"; also, in the same year, the actor was cast as a slippery lawyer advising the wife of a drug lord in "Traffic."
  • In 2002, Quaid starred in the surprise hit film "The Rookie," which was based on a true story of a middle-aged high school baseball coach who tries out for the Major Leagues and becomes the league's oldest rookie; he next appeared in the intense drama "Far From Heaven" -- he received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actor and a SAG nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role.
  • In 2004, Quaid played Sam Houston in "The Alamo."
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