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I Am Number Four director DJ Caruso relied on his iPad during production

Director DJ Caruso’s adaptation of the James Frey/Jobie Hughes-penned young adult science fiction novel I Am Number Four hit theaters on Friday. The story follows a young man and his caretaker, who also both happen to be alien refugees of a planetary invasion. There are superpowers and set pieces, lots of big moments, and Caruso said in a recent interview that his iPad was an invaluable tool during production.

“I got it, I don’t want to say as a toy, but then I realized about a week into prep that my storyboards were coming on it, my previs was on it, my script was on it, I don’t carry my script anymore,” he told Just So You Know. “I started getting emails from two of my storyboard artists who work in Los Angeles and I have this application where I can mark up the boards — I’m a terrible drawer — and I can mark up the boards and send them back. It just became this amazing production tool.”

The Apple tablet also helped power a key effect used multiple times by star Alex Pettyfer’s character John Smith. The young alien possesses the ability to issue beams of light from the palms of his hands, which required the actor to wear specially wired flashlights during production. The iPad basically served as an on/off button for gaffer David Lee, Caruso said. He also spoke of the bizarre experience of trading app recommendations with Stephen Spielberg, who produced the adaptation with Michael Bay.

This news may be iPad-specific, but it speaks to the larger thrill we’re all feeling as tablets slot into the space between mobile phones and laptops — or even replacing laptops all together — in our daily lives. Not even a week ago we reported on the FAA’s approval of the iPad as a pre-flight/in-flight tool. It’s an interesting time to be living in, watching the stuff of science fiction become science fact.

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