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PROOF OF LIFE

About The Locations

When the movie opens, the audience is introduced to 'Terry Thorne' as played by Russell Crowe, as he makes a hostage exchange for cash in Chechnya. "To film Chechnya, I chose Poland because there's a very strong movie industry there. We also had a lot of cooperation with the military," Taylor Hackford recounts.

With the production based in Poznan, a city located on the Paris-Berlin-Moscow rail line, the scenes that are to take place in Chechnya were shot in a secured military area about 30 minutes by car, northeast of the town. The Polish Army gave their full cooperation, including furnishing Russian tanks and military personnel to play Russian soldiers. In addition, Poland has had a long and special relationship with Chechnya, and therefore, Hackford was able to find Chechens to play the rebels.

The filming of this key scene took nine days, and upon completion, the cast and crew continued their journey to Ecuador.

"I was in the Peace Corps in Bolivia and it was a very unique and molding experience for me. So as a filmmaker, I have always wanted to return to South America to show the beauty, grandeur and sheer awe-inspiring power of the Andes," discloses Taylor Hackford.

Charles Mulvehill offers. "The logic from the studio was to go to Venezuela because they had the infrastructure for filmmaking, but Taylor insisted on Ecuador because it had the locations that he wanted for his movie. Over the objections of the studio executives and after scouting locations all over South America, we settled on Ecuador."

"I decided on Ecuador because it embodies South America to me it's right on the Equator, in the heart of the Andes. Ecuador is also one of the safest countries in South America," Hackford continues.

With the production based in Quito, the capital of Ecuador, at 2850 meters (9,348 feet) above sea level, all exterior locations of the fictitious country, 'Tecala,' were within a one-hour drive from the hotels. Climbing up to 14,000 feet, 'Camp Insanity' was near Papallacta Pass, which overlooks the extinct volcano of Antisana (5704 meters/l 8,709 feet). Traveling in the opposite direction was Las Palmas, an area in the cloud forests a mere 6,000 feet above sea level which was dubbed 'Hollywood del Sur' (Spanish for 'Hollywood of the South') by the crew.

This is the place where Production Designer Bruno Rubeo and his team created 'Canon Verde,' another guerilla camp where 'Peter Bowman' is held. In addition, scenes were shot around San Francisco Plaza, the center of historic Quito where the oldest church (1534) in Ecuador is located. The final shot in the movie will present Cotopaxi. the world's tallest active volcano at 5897 meters (19,342 feet).

Meg Ryan comments, "I knew nothing of South America, so everything surprised me. Flying in the jungle, the smells, the volcanoes, everything. The people of Ecuador are really beautiful."

"You bring actors to these places and they don't need to fantasize. They look around, and there it is. When Meg Ryan is walking through a marketplace in Tecala City, she's actually in La Ofilia market in Quito surrounded by real Andean Indians. It has the visceral smell, look and feel of reality because it is," offers Hackford.

He continues, "When Russell Crowe crawls through a dense cloud forest, there's rain and mud all over him.. .this is real... it's not called a rain forest for nothing."

To depict on film how a major portion of today's global economy is centered in London, key scenes with 'Terry Thorne' were shot in the historical capital of Great Britain. Explains Hackford, "We were able to use one of the most beautiful and modern buildings in all of Europe- - Lloyd's Of London-- which is a spectacular, ultra modern, ultra commercial building. It reeks of capitalism."

The production was also abl

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