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DARK CITY

About The Production
Directed by Alex Proyas, Dark City is produced by Andrew Mason and Proyas and based on a story by Proyas

Directed by Alex Proyas, Dark City is produced by Andrew Mason and Proyas and based on a story by Proyas. The screenplay is by Alex Proyas and Lem Dobbs (Kafka) and David S. Goyer (The Substitute). The film's production designers are leading Australian designer George Liddle and Patrick Tatopoulos (Independence Day). Other key production personnel include longtime Proyas collaborator costume designer Liz Keogh and two of Proyas' key collaborators on The Crow, director of photography Dariusz Wolski and editor Dov Hoenig.

Writer/director Alex Proyas set about imagining the Kafka­esque world of Dark City before making The Crow, the acclaimed and highly successful action­thriller starring the late Brandon Lee. A lover of science fiction in his youth, Proyas had long been intrigued by one of the genre's wilder branches, in which the very nature of reality is called into question. "I always thought that was a very powerful idea that hadn't been explored in films," Proyas recalls.

"The paranoid aspect of the story came out of dreams I had as a child ­ that while I was asleep, dark figures would come into my bedroom and rearrange things. Maybe the way I envisioned it was a bit bizarre, but I think being afraid of the dark is a very basic childhood fear. Whenever I'd come across that concept in a book as a kid, it would haunt me and make me re­examine the way I looked at things.

Proyas believes that fantasy and science fiction films should allow filmmakers and audiences to think. "In literature, science fiction has always been a genre for ideas that can alter your perspective on things; in film it's almost never used for that ­­ it's used to have big spaceships blow up cities. I think we're a little tired of that," Proyas says.

A thought­provoking, existential screenplay, the story evolved as Proyas worked on Dark City successively with Lem Dobbs (Steven Soderbergh's Kafka) and David Goyer (New Line's upcoming Blade). Recalls Proyas' long­time producing partner, Andrew Mason, "tom comes from a very artistic and literary background, so he was able to introduce a vast depth of humanity into what was a very complicated plot. David Goyer sharpened the material and made it more accessible."

In the process, the project's focus shifted significantly. "The idea I initially had was a story about a film noir detective who's on a case that doesn't quite jell," says Proyas. "As he unearths more clues, he begins to discover the existence of a mystery that challenges his very sanity."

During the months Proyas worked with Dobbs and Goyer, the emphasis switched from the investigator to the harrowing mystery surrounding John Murdoch. "I thought Murdoch was a more emotional viewpoint for the story, whereas centering it on the detective made it more cerebral and less visceral. The detective ended up being the character played by William Hurt, who is still my favorite character in the movie," says Proyas.

According to Proyas, Dark City is an ensemble piece, where all the characters are strong. "You can examine the story from anyone's perspective ­ from Murdoch's perspective, or Bumstead's, Schreber's or Emma's ­ and it would be just as interesting. We played with all those points of view, and I knew how the film would be told from each one, but I finally chose Murdoch because having him in the center gave the other characters the most room t

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