GHOSTS OF MARS
About The Production (Continued)
"Desolation Williams was the easiest to costume," declares Bush. "Red camouflage pants to blend in with the landscape and a black leather jacket he probably stole from someone.
All the costumes had to be made from scratch in six weeks. In addition to the main cast, Bush had to costume 150 extras and 35 stunt men. All the costumes had to be made new and then aged and distressed to look old. The task was made easier because of her relationship with director Carpenter. "My inspiration comes from my own wacky head," admits Bush, "but I always have a real good idea of what John wants. His scripts are so succinct."
The final aspect in creating the look of "Ghosts of Mars" fell to special effects make-up wizard Greg
Nicotero. Nicotero and his make-up effects crew spent hours each night transforming stunt actors and New Mexican extras into the fearsome Martian warriors. He also worked closely with costume designer Robin Bush in creating the warrior costumes.
Nicotero's special challenge, though, was reserved for the character of Big Daddy Mars, the warrior leader. Thanks to Nicotero's imagination and skill, Big Daddy, as played by actor Richard
Cetrone, promises to become one of John Carpenter's most memorable characters.
After five weeks of shooting in New Mexico, the company moved back to Los Angeles for an additional five weeks of interior filming. Once principle photography began in New Mexico, production designer Bill Elliott shifted his base of operations to Los Angeles, specifically Eagle Rock. There, in a five story building that was once one of Southern California Edison's main power generating plants, Elliott worked his design magic once again. During the five weeks of shooting in New Mexico, Elliott and his crew would build the interiors of the Shining Canyon buildings.
Sets included the interior of the jail, where the battle between the cops/criminals and the Martian warriors would begin; the recreation facility, where the Mars Police Force squad would
eventually discover the hanging bodies of twenty-five mutilated and be-headed corpses (courtesy of Greg Nicotero and crew); the Inquisition room, where Melanie is questioned about the goings- on at Shining Canyon; and a hospital clinic.
The interior sets carry on the theme of "machine age" design, again belying the futuristic time element of the film. The tight quarters of these sets presented immense difficulty for all department heads. Battles between as many as twenty warriors and our heroes, and the attendant gunfire and explosions, were filmed using as many as three cameras, creating interesting challenges for camera positions, lighting and, above all, safety.
Principle photography was completed in late October. Months of post production visual effects work followed under the supervision of visual effects supervisor Lance
As he does for all his films, John Carpenter is composing and performing the musical score for "Ghosts of Mars."
"John's like the captain of a ship," says Natasha Henstridge. "Calm, cool, collected but always totally in control. I've never worked with a director quite like him," she adds. That statement could have been made by any member of the cast or crew on "Ghost of Mars." The praise for the director's working style and way with cast and crew is universal.
"No one really does his or her best work under stress," says Carpenter. "The process of shooting a movie, meeting a production schedule, is arduous at best. I suppose I just want to have the best time possible during shooting.
Whatever the reasons, the director's philosophy seems to work. Spending time on a Carpenter set is to be a part of a mutual admiration society. Ask Ice Cube. "John and I talked a lot about Desolation, and he took a lot of my ideas," says Cube. "He appreciat
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