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About The Locations

With the casting process underway, producer Alan Marshall brought long-time Verhoeven collaborator Allan Cameron to Los Angeles as "Hollow Man"s production designer. Work began on the pictures primary setting, the gigantic, secret underground laboratory featured in Andrew Marlowes screenplay. It is one of the largest single motion picture sets ever constructed.

The Sony Pictures studio in Culver City, California, had just the stage to house this enormous facility, which consisted of labs, an observation and recovery room, medical supply areas and labyrinthine tunnels. Sony's historic Stage 15, approximately 360 by 160 feet and over 40 feet high, was long famed as the largest sound stage in the world.

Cameron found the design project intriguing. "I wanted to create a closed atmosphere that in the beginning feels like a safe home for this family of scientists," says Cameron. "But as Sebastian deteriorates, the laboratory becomes more threatening and claustrophobic. It is a very interesting setting for the third act when everyone is trapped inside with this horrible, invisible force. It is an ideal setting as the film becomes a haunted house movie."

Marshall recalls, "In the story, we decided that the facility was originally a Cold War bunker that had been essentially abandoned 30 years ago. Within that graying shell, the U. S. government has now built a high-tech, hush-hush laboratory."

Adds Cameron, "You have this shell that contains old air-conditioning and air-filtration systems along with rusted machinery and aging electrical systems. We separated the old portion of the bunker from the new with stainless steel walls and large expanses of plate glass, creating a vivid juxtaposition of old and new. I designed a large, S-shaped corridor that curves through the complex so that you are never sure what is around the corner. We also installed masses of pipes and conduits in the ceilings where Sebastian could hide above his victims."

A particular challenge was a sequence in which the sprinkler system floods the main corridor and we see a partial "Hollow Man" materialize through the falling water. Cameron and special effects coordinator Stan Parks, calling on years of film experience, devised an enormous circulating system that could reuse the water and keep it heated for the actors comfort.

Another formidable challenge was the construction of a tall elevator shaft that serves as the only physical link between the laboratory and the real world. It is in this deep crevice that the film reaches its deadly climax as Linda and Matt desperately try to escape a hellish inferno and a friend gone mad and invisible.

"We decided to build this set abutting the large parking structure at the studio," explains Marshall.

"This allowed us to take advantage of the fact that it has floor levels every 10 feet, and we could shoot from countless angles."

In addition to filming on the Southern California soundstage, the unit hit the road for a location shoot in Washington, D.C. "The film needed to be opened up from time to time," producer Douglas Wick states, "to intensify the isolation of the lab. Going on location to Washington, D. C. accomplished that." Producer Alan Marshall elaborates, "Our goal was to find locations that were identifiable as the capital, but not typical of the District Of Colu

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