In "Collateral Damage" Gordy Brewer's search for The Wolf takes him deep into the jungles of Colombia. For practical reasons shooting in Colombia was not an option for the filmmakers. Needing a location that could realistically represent this remote area, they settled on the state of Veracruz in Mexico. A geographically diverse area located on Mexico's Gulf Coast, this area is a topographical wonder with lush jungles, dramatic waterfalls, incredible coastal plains, white sandy beaches and an 18,000-ft. volcano. The cities of
Veracruz, Xalapa and surrounding towns and villages provided the perfect backdrop for Gordy's venture into the unknown.
The setting alone helps to sustain a certain level of suspense, Schwarzenegger explains. "Just being in the jungle is dangerous in and of itself because of the snakes, animals, poisonous insects, the rivers and the fear of losing direction and getting lost. It's easy to feel that Cordy would be scared just because of where he is, even without the added threat of armed enemies around. The setting adds intensity to the film."
"The area around Xalapa is wonderfully lush," recalls director Andrew Davis. "It provided us with the atmosphere we needed to create the reality of Colombia."
Davis' commitment to realism involved every aspect of production, on both a large and a small scale. "We had to create an environment," the director explains. "We had to create an entire war zone, including guerillas, Colombian army, paramilitary death squads and innocent people caught up in the middle of a civil war. It took a lot of research and attention to detail."
Principal photography commenced on September 26, 2000 in Veracruz, a bustling seaport located on the Gulf of Mexico. From Veracruz the company moved to the river town of Alvarado and the fishing village of Antigua before heading into the mountains.
Xalapa, nestled in the lush coffee-growing hills halfway between the mountains and the ocean, became home to the cast and crew for the remainder of the production in Mexico.
Shooting a film of this scope invariably presents built-in logistical problems, which were made all the more complex by the remoteness of the location. The size of the production was staggering, with a crew numbering close to 1,000 men and women in the U.S. and Mexico combined, hundreds of extras, and tons of equipment that had to be shipped by truck over almost impassable roads. Braving heat, humidity, rugged terrain, very large insects and the threat of Hurricane Keith was easy compared to mounting a huge production in an area of dense jungle where many of the roads were simple dirt paths that turned into mud when it rained and it did
"'Collateral Damage' was a real challenge for many reasons," explains executive producer Hawk Koch. "Language and cultural differences always present problems when you're combining crews — in this case one American and one Mexican -- but the most difficult aspect of our shoot in Mexico was the condition of the roads. We had to actually build our own roads into the jungle in order to transport the equipment. It was an extreme location."
For producer David Foster, who spent several months in Mexico as one of the producers of the Antonio Banderas and Catherine Zeta-Jones film "The Mask of Zorro," the unique challenges of filming on such a location were not surprising. "It's the price a committed production pays for authenticity," he says.
"It was not an easy shoot, "Foster says candidly. "The roads were rough where we wanted to go, and in some cases they were non-existent. Water had to be brought in and carried everywhere. But still, it's an undeniably beautiful country with so many unspoiled areas, and for the atmosphere we were trying to create it was made to order. I was on the initial location scout in Veracruz with Andy Davis<
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