Around Chicago Streets
Production shot extensively on city streets in and around "The Loop" in
advantage of the iconic vistas and world-class architecture, that would be
slightly altered in postproduction
with additions like wind turbines on the sides of skyscrapers. "The visual
Divergent are subtle. We're taking the real city of Chicago a little bit into
the future, but not so far
out that your brain can't really wrap around it, but enough to where it makes it
a little eerie," says
senior visual effects supervisor Jim Berney. "Right away you're drawn into this
you're not sure exactly what happened. Some buildings have some damage to them,
know some event happened, but we don't know what it is. There are subtleties,
something is just
a little weird, but you can't put your finger on it."
In many cases, the art department and construction would only have a few
overnight to transform the surface of the downtown blocks to future streets used
pedestrian walkways. Multiple truckloads of gravel, dirt and moss would be
brought in, and then
removed in quick manner before and after filming.
Ashley Judd was impressed, "They've done a wonderful job of using existing
recognizable Chicago cityscape but putting twists on it, adding coatings in
films and tints to
storefront windows or covering things with gravel. Just one little piece of
grass shooting through,
shabby-ing things up."
Location manager James R. McAllister comments, "Filming in the city can be
by the nature of Chicago being such a large city and you're dealing with traffic
and a lot of
elements. But on this film we were able to shoot some locations that never been
because of it being a Chicago author and an interesting project. We worked in
areas that are
very congested, but it's gone really smoothly because of enough planning."
"We're shutting down streets in Chicago. We're controlling traffic on some of
places in downtown and the most wonderfully built buildings in the Midwest.
We're giving people
larger-than-life scope. Making the best parts of the book become extraordinary
moments in the
movie," adds Kelly.
"Neil selected many places that you would still see 150 years from now, and
used them in
an interesting way," says McAllister. "We shot the exterior of the high school
at Pioneer Court
near the Michigan Avenue Bridge at Point du Sable, which is where Chicago really
started and it
has always been a center point of the city. You've got to believe that 150 years
from now it will
still be a center of the city, so it seemed like a logical place for the high
school. Outside of New
York or maybe San Francisco, this is probably the busiest spot in the country,
in terms of number
of people on a weekend. We shot on a Sunday and I would gather there were
between half a
million to three-quarters of a million people that passed through. When we
revealed the faction
insignias above the doors of the high school, you could see all the cell phones
coming out and
Other downtown filming locations included Lake and Milwaukee, West Marble
the LaSalle Bridge. "We were also on Wacker Drive for some of establishing
shots. We used
many parts of Clark Street a lot, because it was very much about looking for
cityscapes," says McAllister.
"We had to deal with many present-day elements like removing traffic signals,
there really is no traffic in this future version of the world. Also a lot of
what I call street furniture:
trashcans, bike racks, city street signs - the clutter had to be removed to give
it a cleaner look,"
says McAllister. "When the Dauntless climbed the El structure, we removed about
a dozen traffic
signals, which meant we had to close the road to do it. A city crew of about
twelve people at
night ready to go with trucks to pull all of that down, and then put it right
back up so that we could
open the road again after filming."
The landing of the iconic zipline scene was shot at Clark and Monroe near
a very big fan of this zipline sequence through the city,' states Warren. "Ziplining
is normally not
a big deal, we see it all the time in forests, but you don't see it through the
streets and the
buildings of downtown Chicago. That's beautiful. We actually had someone about
80 feet up in
the air flying through the buildings. There's an awful lot of effort that goes
towards shooting this
sequence to make it work."
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