THE SUM OF ALL FEARS
About The Production
Because accuracy and realism were vital to the telling of
"The Sum of All Fears," the producers sought out military and
government officials to advise them on the film. Among those most helpful to the
production was Air Force Entertainment Liaison Chief Charles E. Davis, the
Department of Defense project officer assigned to the film.
"We were delighted when asked by the production company
to provide assistance," says Davis. "We worked closely with the
producers and director to identify their needs and then offer our
recommendations on how those needs could best be met. I can tell you this:
"The Sum of All Fears" is probably one of the most technically correct
movies released in a long time."
In addition to providing the production with a host of
technical advisors, the Department of Defense also made it possible to film
numerous aircraft including a wing of F- 16 and B-2 aircraft, as well as U.S.
Army Blackhawk helicopters. For the scene in which the U.S. President is rescued
by the Marines, the Department of Defense arranged for the production to film
with three CH-53 helicopters manned by a team of Marines from
the reserve unit in Willowgrove, Pennsylvania.
The look of the film also benefited from the art department's
extensive access to the Pentagon, the White House and the National Airborne
Command Center. To that end, the White House Situation Room, the White House
Mess, the Pentagon Control Center and the Hotline room are all based very
closely on the actual places of operation. In fact, the art crew, under
supervision, was permitted to take photographs, make sketches and take notes
that proved invaluable in recreating the physical details of the sets built and
dressed on stage. In addition, the Department of Defense allowed the production
to film the actual National Airborne Command Center plane taking off, flying and
"Having such support from the government and military
added verisimilitude that could not otherwise have been achieved onscreen, says
producer Neufeld. There is no substitute for the real thing."
To prepare for his role as a CIA analyst, Affleck spent time
at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia. There, under the tutelage of Chase
Brandon, a 25-year veteran of CIA field operations (who now serves as film
liaison to the agency's Office of Public Affairs), Affleck was given a tour of
the facility and the opportunity to spend time interviewing real Russian
"The initial request for assistance came from the senior
production team," explains Brandon. "They wanted the director, the
producers, some of the set decorators and costuming people to come and see CIA
headquarters, to basically have a chance to see the terrain and what we look
like, in order to make a realistic movie. We extended the offer to have some of
the talent come because, having worked with moviemakers in the past, we know
that the people who are portraying CIA officers invariably learn more about the
role when they get to see, talk to and be around actual agency officers.
"One of the things, I think, that benefited Ben as he
walked around the agency was to simply feel the atmosphere of the place,"
adds Brandon. "There's a very palpable sense of mission and importance to
what goes on there, and I think Ben picked up on that simply by being in the
building. But what, undoubtedly, helped him more than anything was to spend
several hours with actual Russian analysts talking about the issues they deal
with every day. He was able to engage in some analytical exercises, and I think
that clearly enhanced his role as Jack Ryan."
Affleck says that he found his time at the CIA invaluable in
preparing for his rol
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