AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN PARIS
About The Production
"An American Werewolf in Paris"
was filmed on location in France, Luxembourg and Holland. Having
only a couple of weeks to shoot in Paris, the filmmakers were
forced to duplicate much of the City of Light at Studio Luxembourg,
including building their own "Eiffel Tower" on an interior
sound stage. Several important exteriors-such as the famous PereLachaise
Cemetery where rock music legend Jim Morrison is buried, and the
site of one of the film's key "transformation" scenes-had
to be replicated as well. According to production designer Matthias
Kammermeier, "Because we had only a few shooting days in
Paris, we had to use the days as much as possible to show the
city at its best. The rest we had to do in Luxembourg. It was
The production ended up building
a lot more than they had planned, but in some ways it gave them
more control over the look of the film. One problem was finding
a real church in which to shoot. When the director and producers
spoke to priests in both Paris and Luxembourg about using their
sanctuaries, the clergy took it all very seriously. They believed
that the devil exists in werewolves and were genuinely frightened
that the devil would slip into the story's fictitious werewolf.
It turned out that production designer
Kammermeier built sets on 70 locations with 21 studio sets. The
Eiffel Tower nearly became one of them. Producer Richard Claus
explains, "Two weeks before shooting began we still did not
have permission to shoot on the Eiffel Tower. Just in case, we
had video taped a radio tower in Berlin and a model at a theme
park and visual effects supervisor John Grower had come up with
a digital version by the time we had lunch with our French coproducer
and the lady from the French Government. Luckily by the end of
the meeting she could see no reason for us not to shoot there.
"The difficulty all along had
been that the Eiffel Tower used to be the meeting place for anyone
who wanted to commit suicide. In our script we had a suicide attempt,
kids climbing up the sides, a bungee jump and we wanted permission
to shoot all over the Tower."
Waller's team shot in Paris over a period of two weeks. Not only
had they been allowed to shoot anywhere they wanted on the Eiffel
Tower, but the lights were also left on all night for the shooting.
Usually the three giant switches that control the lights are turned
off at midnight.
The move to Luxembourg meant production
designer Kammermeier's sets had to be ready. "As the studio
stages were very low I had to find a factory or warehouse that
had ceilings high enough to accommodate the 40foot green
screens," he explains. "lt also had to be wide enough
to build large sets. We found an abandoned factory at Wecker that
had apparently been used to build part of Saddam Hussein's supercannon.
I built the church there, Jim Morrison's grave and the platform
of the Eiffel Tower, which was one of the most time consuming
Thirty feet off the ground, Julie
Delpy was asked to jump from the platform. "I'm terrified
of everything, especially heights!" the actress says. "This
has been the most physical movie I have ever done," she explains,
"and doing it helped me conquer a lot of fears."
There were three different underground
locations to represent the catacombs connected to the church.
A part of them was shot at Trois Glands, a historic site near
the European parliament and various sections were built by Kammermeier
on the stages at
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