About The Locations
"Live each day," goes a traditional saying, "as if it were your last
"Live each day," goes a traditional saying, "as
if it were your last." How would you live today, tomorrow,
next week, if you knew the world might end in a year? That is
the question faced by a rising young television reporter; by a
pair of teenagers just embarking on life -- by every person in
the world -- in "Deep Impact," when scientists discover
that a comet is on a collision course with the Earth - a comet
so massive that its impact with earth will cause an "E.L.E,"
an Extinction Level Event" - and end life as we know it.
It is the question faced by a team of astronauts on a desperate
mission to deflect the comet, a mission in which they stake their
own futures against the future of the world.
"Deep Impact" began principal photography on June 16th,
1997. In the course of its three-month shooting schedule, the
production filmed on locations in Virginia, Washington DC, Maryland,
and New York City, before returning to Los Angeles to complete
The first location shoot was in Manassas, Virginia. A newly completed
freeway segment, not yet opened to traffic, provided the setting
for a vast, chaotic scene as desperate East Coast residents flee
the mile-high tidal wave the comet's impact will produce -- only
to get caught in a traffic jam at the end of the world.
To film this sequence, over 2,100 extras were enlisted, along
with more than 1,870 vehicles -- cars, trucks, boats, and campers
-- spread out eight abreast, on both sides of the freeway, for
over a mile and a half. The soaring July heat on the blacktop
added to the discomfort, but by the second day there was definitely
a good-natured, picnic spirit.
Hidden discreetly in the vast traffic jam were large trucks fitted
with porta-potties and refrigerated trucks crammed with breakfast,
lunch, cool drinks and fruit. Helicopter and personal safety information
was passed out and production assistants circulated with water
The production next moved to Washington, DC, shooting by the reflecting
pool in front of the Lincoln Memorial for a key scene with Téa
Leoni and Vanessa Redgrave as daughter and mother. Of her scenes
with Redgrave, Leoni likened them to the game of tennis. "If
you play with somebody who's really good, you play better. And
it's easier. You're not running all over the court and you're
not panicked. You just get to sort of relax in one place and she
hits the ball right back to you."
Other locations in the Washington area were the Capitol Building,
the roof of the HUD Building, and the office of Human Resources,
which was turned into the city morgue. A dramatic shot of the
mother-daughter confrontation was shot at the outdoor terrace
of the Sequoia Restaurant on the Potomac, with the Kennedy Center
in the background and -- posing a challenge to sound mixer Marc
Hopkins McNabb -- directly under the flight path to National Airport.
For the first time in the cities' history, Georgetown and Arlington,
Virginia, agreed to let the film company close down the Francis
Scott Key Bridge on a Sunday. The city's press corps came out
in force to witness the chaos that this bridge closing would create,
only to leave disappointed when all went smoothly. With assistance
from city officials and film commissions on both sides of the
Potomac, the public was advised of the closure well in advance.
The local media had underestimated the city's experience working
around the frequent re-routing that comes with the area's many
government and diplomatic motorcades.
The production then mov
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