ON LOCATION IN HAWAII, PARIS, SAN FRANCISCO & LONDON
Assembling his loyal team of key collaborators and artisans, Eastwood commenced production on a film that would make a sprawling footprint, from London and Paris to San Francisco and Maui.
"The ideas in this movie are universal," says Damon. "It deals with questions that people are grappling with all over the world and always have been and always will be. So, I think it's great that it's a big story with such an international feel, and that we went to all these different countries to capture that."
Because the action would be interconnected, Eastwood worked with production designer James J. Murakami to ensure the audience would know where they were at any given time. "Clint wanted each story to have really unique, identifiable settings," Murakami says. "So, it was important to capture the modern, sleek look of Paris, and the middle class feel of San Francisco, and then the distressed look of Marcus's London. The places in many ways mirrored the character whose story is being told."
Costume designer Deborah Hopper also denoted the individuality of the main characters in their clothing. She affirms, "The costumes for the central characters had to reflect the personalities of three individuals in different parts of the world and coming from very different circumstances. It made it a very challenging project for me in terms of the costume design."
To further differentiate the stories, Eastwood and his longtime director of photography Tom Stern utilized the process of digital intermediation (D.I.), in which the print is scanned to allow the color timing to be processed digitally. "It's subtle but each city has a slightly different look to reflect what's happening in each part of the story," Stern explains.
Production began at Chamonix in the French Alps, facing Mont Blanc, where Marie visits Dr. Rousseau. "It felt like being in paradise," raves Cécile de France. "The experience was truly magical."
The company moved on to Paris to shoot Marie's return to her home city. French location manager Antonin Depardieu was able to secure numerous spots that would convey the sense of Marie's sophisticated world. "Marie reflects the fast-paced, polished and modern aspects of Paris," Murakami describes. "But at the same time, tradition is all around her."
French locations included Place de la Madeleine, as well as the Palais de Chaillot, facing the Eiffel Tower. Marie's apartment was located in a 19th century stone building on Boulevard Malesherbes, where their nights of shooting brought out legions of Eastwood fans to cheer on the production.
Hopper dressed Marie in luxurious fabrics and textures with a strong color palette, incorporating cashmere and leather, and using Hermès scarves as accents. The designer remarks, "Marie is a woman of the world--confident, chic and very feminine. After her near-death experience, her look changes and there is less emphasis on fashion. She dresses more casually and in softer colors and appears more accessible and open to what can happen."
Following the week in Paris, the company moved to London, where UK location manager Martin Joy had secured permission to shoot the flat Jason and Marcus share with their mother at the city's Chancellor Estates, nicknamed the Elephant and Castle. "Those particular projects were built about 40 years ago and were intended to last only 30 years," Murakami offers. "The government has wanted to destroy them and clear way for new housing. It's a rough, desolate place, so it was a really fitting home for our characters."
A particularly striking location was the Charles Dickens Museum, the only surviving London home of the Victorian novelist, where he wrote two of his most famous books, Oliver Twist and Nicholas Nickleby. The museum allowed Eastwood and company to shoot Matt Damon in the sequences in which George joins a small group touring the narrow house. "They were very cooperative about having us in there," says Eastwood. "And we were very respectful in taking our time to not damage anything."
Here, George glimpses the portrait called "Dickens' Dream," which depicts the author asleep at his desk with characters from his novels floating in the air around him. "When George sees it, he realizes that he's connected to this guy who has got all of these ghosts in his head, who are there with him all the time," Damon reflects. "It was pretty amazing to be able to do that scene in the actual place with the actual portrait."
As London is where the stories converge, the visual landscape of London moves from Marcus's urban surroundings to a gentler, Victorian environment, including the vast Alexandra Palace, which became the site for the London Book Fair. To complete the setting, the crew assembled publishers to set up booths within the spectacular landmark, along with 275 extras to act as fair attendees, salespeople from the different publishing houses and authors.
Additional locations included the scenic Victorian arcade at Leadenhall Market, and Conway Hall, which stood in for the Centre for Psychic Advancement, as well as the Liverpool and Charing Cross Underground stations, and the Mayfair and Columbia Hotels.
Having wrapped up a good portion of the European locations, the production reconnoitered two oceans away in San Francisco, where George Lonegan makes his home.
Like his counterparts in the other cities, San Francisco location manager Patrick O. Mignano sought out sites that would immediately identify the city, including Crissy Field in Golden Gate Park and the Presidio, as well as the C&H Sugar Company north of the city, which provided the industrial setting of George's workplace.
They found George's apartment on historic Nob Hill in an apartment within sight of the Transamerica building. "I'm from the Bay Area, so I know the neighborhood, and the apartment we chose is very typical of a lot of apartments in that area," Eastwood says. "The building is not constructed in absolute squares. The entrances have angles to them, so when you go in with the cameras, you can cover things from interesting sides rather than just four walls. But it's a great old neighborhood with an Italian restaurant underneath, so we thought it was perfect for George."
The tiny, 700-square-foot space required Eastwood, Stern and camera operator Steve Campanelli to squeeze into the tight spaces, often with a SteadiCam, to capture the shot. But this quality also helped the director hew closely to each character's experience, underscoring that while the film's canvas is large, the human drama is intimate.
That dichotomy is never more apparent than in the tsunami sequence, which would involve location shooting in the town of Lahaina on the Hawaiian island of Maui. "We considered a lot of different places to shoot that sequence," Lorenz notes. "We needed a sort of alleyway that led to the beach, where people could run up to get away from the wave. Front Street on Maui just made the most sense for that."
To capture the moment when Cécile de France and a small child are caught in the massive wave, Stern and Campanelli put cameras on surfboards and took them out into the water, followed by Eastwood himself. "I'd not seen Clint jump in the water before, but it's pretty typical of his directing style," says Lorenz. "He wants to get right in there and be a part of it, so he can make sure he gets what he wants and be able to point the camera in every direction."
"We were amazed," Kennedy remembers. "I mean, the water was such that the waves were quite big. It was almost impossible to keep the camera on the little surfboard. And Clint just dove in, pulled himself up on the boat, checked the camera, then went back into the water with everybody. Rob and I were standing comfortably on shore with no thought in our minds of going into the water," she smiles, adding, "but Clint and the cast and camera crew were in there getting the shot. It was pretty remarkable on all fronts."
De France was excited to shoot the sequence in the ocean. "I think Clint likes to stick with reality," she says. "He wants people to feel close to his characters, and as an actress, it was thrilling for me to do my own stunts in the water."
"I have never been in a tsunami, though my son was in Thailand when the big 2004 tsunami happened, and I talked to a lot of people who were there," says Eastwood. "A lot of people photographed it, and you could see that it was devastating."
To create the wave itself, Michael Owens and his team did reference the tragic events of 2004, looking at documentary footage and stills, and adding in elements that would reflect the intimacy of Marie's point of view. "It's a complicated sequence because Clint was not presenting it how you'd see it on the news," says editor Joel Cox, who has worked with Eastwood for 35 years, and, along with Gary Roach, edited "Hereafter." "We were trying to create it based on what people say they've seen and experienced--something that most people have never experienced in life. All the shots and effects are in service of creating, through Marie, an idea of what it's like to live through a tsunami, and specific to the story, to die in the water, and then come back."
The complex sequence was built from components captured on the beach at Lahaina, as well as footage captured in the UK, at Pinewood Studio's massive tank. "Clint always shoots on practical locations whenever possible, and from a visual effects perspective, that presents challenges but also helps maintain a strong basis in reality," says visual effects supervisor Michael Owens. "In this case, we were able to shoot Cécile in the tanks, in front of a green screen, at the mercy of water canons and whirlpools swirling around her, to give a real, palpable sense of what her character goes through."
Owens, working with visual effects house Scanline, utilized laser scans of all the elements--from the beach, to the actors, to the debris caught in the tsunami--to create a digital model in which the devastating wave could be created.
"It's really quite something," says Eastwood. "To depict that, to recreate that, is very, very difficult, and water is particularly difficult to do, but we had to do it that way. You also had to have some computer generated material in order to really tell the story we're trying to tell, and Michael did a great job of making that wave real."
THE FINAL MIX
Eastwood, who is known for composing and being closely involved in the creation of his film scores, put together the soundtrack for "Hereafter."
The Australian conductor Ashley Irwin conducted a 22-piece orchestra with Eastwood, Lorenz and Cox in attendance. Eastwood wove Rachmaninoff's Second Concerto into the score, as well as two simple and elegiac themes the director himself composed for the film. Also on hand on the scoring stage was pianist Gennady Loktionov, from Carmel, California, to arrange Eastwood's compositions.
"Clint sits down and writes the music, creating a feeling of what he wants in the overall movie," says Cox. "He's a jazz person, so he wants that freeform, to let it flow. He likes his scores to be sparse; it's there to support the story."
The same can be said about Eastwood's touch in the entire process of making the film. While he is clearly in charge of his production, he orchestrated this massive international shoot with his characteristic light touch and good humor. "As a director for 40 years, he knows what kind of environment to create for his crew," says Damon. "He knows a lot about the various jobs, and how to make it easier on everybody. And as a result, everybody really feels like they get to do their best work, and in a really fun atmosphere, too."
Kennedy had previously worked with Eastwood and Lorenz on "Bridges of Madison County" and was thrilled to have the opportunity to work with them again. "I had an incredible experience with Clint and I'm enormously thankful to be doing this again," she states. "He's one of a kind."
For Cécile de France, working with Eastwood for the first time was a revelation. "I felt he totally trusts you, so you feel ready to give him all your energy and potential," the actress says.
"He wants everything to unfold naturally, in terms of letting the actors be spontaneous and moving things along," says Lorenz, who has worked with the director for over a decade. "He trusts the people that work for him, and creates this fantastic working environment with his presence. It all emanates from him."
"When you approach a scene in a movie, your intuition is to do it a certain way," Eastwood offers. "I like to embrace the stories and let them unfold naturally by getting to know the people.
"In this film, each of the three main characters has something the other one needs, not necessarily answers, but a starting point to get on with their lives. They've all just got to do the best they can while they're here."
ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS
CLINT EASTWOOD (Director/Producer/Composer) is an award-winning director, producer and actor. He is currently in pre-production on "Hoover," a biopic about the controversial J. Edgar Hoover.
In 2009, Eastwood directed and produced the historical drama "Invictus," starring Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon, who both received Oscar® nominations for their performances. Eastwood also won a National Board of Review Award and earned a Golden Globe nomination for Best Director. The year before, he produced and starred in the widely acclaimed drama "Gran Torino." Eastwood won a Best Actor Award from the National Board of Review for his performance as Walt Kowalski, marking his first film role since "Million Dollar Baby." He also directed and produced "Changeling," starring Angelina Jolie in the true-life drama about an infamous 1928 kidnapping case that rocked the LAPD. The film was nominated for a Palme d'Or and won a Special Award when it premiered at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival. It also received three Oscar nominations, including Best Actress for Jolie, and Eastwood garnered BAFTA Award and London Film Critics Award nominations for Best Director, as well as a Golden Globe nomination for the Best Original Score.
Eastwood earned dual Academy Award® nominations, in the categories of Best Director and Best Picture, for his acclaimed 2006 World War II drama "Letters from Iwo Jima." In addition, the film won the Golden Globe and Critics Choice Awards for Best Foreign Language Film, and also received Best Picture awards from a number of film critics groups, including the Los Angeles Film Critics and the National Board of Review. "Letters from Iwo Jima" was the companion film to Eastwood's widely praised drama "Flags of Our Fathers," about the American men who raised the flag on Iwo Jima in the famed photograph.
In 2005, Eastwood won Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Director for "Million Dollar Baby." He also earned a Best Actor nomination for his performance in the film. In addition, Hilary Swank and Morgan Freeman won Oscars®, for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actor, respectively, and the film was also nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Editing. Eastwood also won his third Best Director Golden Globe, as well as a nomination for the film's score.
Eastwood's critically acclaimed drama "Mystic River" debuted at the 2003 Cannes Film Festival, earning him a Palme d'Or nomination and the Golden Coach Award. "Mystic River" went on to earn six Academy Award nominations, including two for Eastwood for Best Picture and Best Director. Sean Penn and Tim Robbins won Oscars® in the categories of Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor, while the film was also nominated for Best Supporting Actress and Best Screenplay. Eastwood also gained another Golden Globe nomination.
In 1993, Eastwood's foreboding, revisionist Western "Unforgiven" received nine Academy Award nominations, including three for Eastwood, who won for Best Picture and Best Director and was nominated for Best Actor. The film also won Oscars® in the categories of Best Supporting Actor (Gene Hackman) and Best Editor, and was nominated for Best Original Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction, Best Editing and Best Sound. Additionally, Eastwood won a Golden Globe for Best Director and the film won Best Picture honors from several critics groups.
Eastwood's films have also been honored internationally by critics and at film festivals, including Cannes, where he served as the president of the jury in 1994. In addition, he has garnered Palme d'Or nominations for "White Hunter Black Heart" in 1990; "Bird," which also won the award for Best Actor and an award for its soundtrack at the 1988 festival; and "Pale Rider" in 1985. He also won his first Best Director Golden Globe Award for "Bird."
In addition, Eastwood has directed and starred in such films as "Blood Work," "Space Cowboys," "True Crime," "Absolute Power," "The Bridges of Madison County," "The Rookie," "Heartbreak Ridge," "Sudden Impact," "Honkytonk Man," "Firefox," "Bronco Billy," "The Outlaw Josey Wales," "The Eiger Sanction," "High Plains Drifter," and "Play Misty for Me," which marked his directorial debut.
Eastwood first came to fame as an actor, first on television and then in such legendary movie Westerns as "A Fistful of Dollars," "For a Few Dollars More," "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly," "Hang 'Em High," and "Two Mules for Sister Sara." His film acting work also includes "Kelly's Heroes"; "Escape from Alcatraz"; the successful "Dirty Harry" actioners; the comedies "Every Which Way But Loose" and "Any Which Way You Can"; and the thriller "In the Line of Fire."
Over the course of his career, Eastwood has received many lifetime achievement honors, including the Motion Picture Academy's Irving Thalberg Memorial Award and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association's Cecil B. DeMille Award. He has also garnered tributes from the Directors Guild of America, the Producers Guild of America, the Screen Actors Guild, the American Film Institute, the Film Society of Lincoln Center, the French Film Society, the National Board of Review, the Henry Mancini Institute (Hank Award for distinguished service to American music), the Hamburg Film Festival (Douglas Sirk Award), and the Venice Film Festival (Career Golden Lion).
He is also the recipient of a Kennedy Center Honor; awards from the American Cinema Editors and the Publicists Guild; an honorary doctorate in Fine Arts from Wesleyan University, and five People's Choice Awards for Favorite Motion Picture Actor. In 1991, Eastwood was Harvard's Hasty Pudding Theatrical Society's Man of the Year and, in 1992, he received the California Governor's Award for the Arts. He recently received two more significant honors for his contributions to film: the Prix Lumiere at the inaugural Grand Lyon Film Festival; and the Commandeur de la Legion d'honneur, presented by French President Nicolas Sarkozy
PETER MORGAN (Screenwriter/Executive Producer) recently served as writer and executive producer on Ron Howard's critically acclaimed "Frost/Nixon," garnering Oscar, Golden Globe, BAFTA, and WGA Award nominations for Best Screenplay. In addition, he was nominated for numerous critics association nominations, winning the San Francisco Film Critics Circle Award for Best Adaptation of his own stage play.
In 2006, Morgan was nominated for Oscar and BAFTA Awards for Best Original Screenplay for Stephen Frears' "The Queen," starring Helen Mirren and Michael Sheen. In addition to winning Golden Globe, British Independent Film and Evening Standard British Film Awards, he was also honored with awards for Best Screenplay from the Venice Film Festival, The Writers Guild, Toronto Film Critics Association, New York Film Critics Circle, National Society of Film Critics, Los Angeles Film Critics Association, London Critics Circle, and Chicago Film Critics Association.
The same year, Kevin MacDonald's "The Last King of Scotland," starring Forest Whittaker and James McAvoy, won Morgan BAFTA, British Independent Film and Evening Standard British Film Awards for Best Screenplay.
Morgan is currently in pre-production on "360," a contemporized adaptation of Arthur Schnitzler's play "Reigen," with director Fernando Meirelles and producers Andrew Eaton, Danny Krausz and David Linde. Filming is scheduled to begin in January 2011.
He will also serve as executive producer on the film adaptation of John le Carré's novel, "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy," starring Ralph Fiennes, Gary Oldman, Michael Fassbender and Colin Firth. He has several other projects in development with studios as well as the BBC.
His other feature credits include the recent sport biography "The Damned United."
Among Morgan's recent writer/executive producer television credits are the HBO longforms "The Special Relationship," which garnered five Emmy nominations this year, including Best TV Movie and Writing and "Longford," which won the 2007 BAFTA Award and Humanitas Prize for Best Writing, The Royal Television Society Award for Best Drama, as well as Emmy and BAFTA nominations for Best TV Movie; and "Henry VIII," which won an International Emmy for Best TV Movie.
His other credits include "The Deal," the first part of his Blair Trilogy, which won a BAFTA Award for Best Drama and "Dear Rosie," which was nominated for a BAFTA and Oscar® in the Live Action Short Film category.