"One of the biggest challenges on the film was how to deal with all of the
comments McAllister. "We had lengthy meetings with the Transit Authority, going
script and talking about what is possible and what isn't possible on their
property. We were able
to start some of the climbing up on the actual El structures at Wells and
Monroe, under very strict
parameters. Everything got dissected into, literally, what are the shots that we
need, and how
can we achieve them?"
Filmmakers built their own train car from the ground up at Cinespace.
"Because the train
car worked in multiple locations, it was easier to build the train car and make
it mobile, so that we
could take it with us around Chicago to set pieces that we have on the ground,"
The train ride from the just after the Choosing Ceremony to entering the
compound is a composite of work filmed at six different locations. "I wanted
people to really to be
jumping on the trains, to really be running and struggling to get on," says
Burger. "I wanted them
to be jumping off a real train, so we actually built our own train and laid out
hundreds of feet of
track. Shai and Theo are really running alongside and jumping on. It was really
hard and trains
are big and they're dangerous and they're going fast, but the whole idea was to
do it real and to
have it be messy."
"Neil also wanted to find places where we could do some of our set work in an
environment that's true," says McAllister. "We built a small section of the El
structure at Federal
Street and Printers Row for when they climb up on to the El platform to wait for
the train. We
were able to get a section of our track in a Skyscraper canyon and get some of
the real city
environment around the actors."
"When it came time to jump off across a wall onto the Dauntless rooftop, we
first set the
distance from the train to the wall at six feet with the train driving at eight
miles an hour. We hired
about twelve stunt people that could do it. However, on the day Neil asked to go
even bigger and
more scary. So we moved the train out to seven feet and two people weren't able
to make it.
Then we went even another foot further. A lot of the performers said they could
do eight feet, and
some of them are actually world champion Parkour people. So we moved it out to
eight feet, and
drove the train at twelve miles per hour. Only about eight of the twelve stunt
performers made it.
Those four people are factionless now," laughs Warren.
"We had all these different pieces of the train footage and the incredible
work putting the
sequences together begins with visual effects supervisor Jim Berney and his
team, and with the
editors Richard Francis-Bruce and Nancy Richardson. They make it make sense and
completely real, so you can't even put your finger on what's really there and
what isn't," says
In the film, stars Shailene Woodley and Theo James are clearly jumping on and
train. "I'm not surprised that she's able to do as much as she has. I'm
surprised with how fast
she recovers because to run and catch a train at twelve miles an hour is
exhausting, and to do
that all day long is twice as exhausting," comments Warren. "I guarantee your
body is sore the
next day. Shai comes back in and she's ready to go. She's tough as nails."
"Shailene is number one on our call sheet and she is in every scene. It's a
because you can't give her a break. Shai is wonderful, but the workload is a lot
of work for one
person. But, she's always happy. She's working with stunts. She's working with
trains. Shai is
in great shape physically, but when we're doing the train work, she ran back and
40 times. It's exhausting just watching her."
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