About The Production
Director John Woo and producer Terence Chang assembled some of their most
trusted collaborators in the making of "Paycheck," including
cinematographer Jeffrey Kimball, ASC, weapons coorindator Rock Galotti and stunt
brothers Gregg and Brian Smrz. Shot entirely in Vancouver, Canada, which doubled
for Seattle, the production team made their home base at Vancouver Film Studios
for the four-month shoot. While Woo had worked with Kimball, Galotti and the
Smrz brothers before, it was the first time that this team included production
designer William Sandell. Having collaborated with a number of distinguished
directors in his career, including Wolfgang Petersen on "The Perfect
Storm" and recently Peter Weir on "Master and Commander: The Far Side
of the World," Sandell says he was fascinated with how Woo juxtaposed such
a tremendous love story into a science fiction framework.
"John has a way of making the smallest things magical," recalls
Sandell, who brought a team of illustrators and model builders together to flesh
out the vision of the film months in advance of shooting. "We decided to
design the production as a stylish mystery, not your average high-concept
futuristic design that can have a tendency to look artificial. Instead, we went
with a slick, clean look, which we felt better served the sophisticated nature
of the story."
Jeffrey Kimball, ASC, the cinematographer Woo has worked with since
"Mission: Impossible 2," warned Sandell very early on about the
necessity for a lot of room in the sets, knowing that the director would want
the freedom to move within them.
"Jeffrey explained to me that things would be very active on the set, so
I got a little wild, making it possible for each set to break apart like a
puzzle box, remembers Sendell. "John wanted to be able to move in and out
at will, so the sets turned out to be huge."
Kimball affirms that when working with Woo, the camera is in constant motion,
and often while trying to execute the director's vision, it's not easy to keep
up with him. "The hard part for me is figuring out how to light when you're
looking around at all these different directions at once," says Kimball.
"It's always quite a challenge for me, but I definitely enjoy it."
Sandell built many sets on the sound stage, including Rachel's apartment, the
FBI offices, the interrogation rooms and Rethrick's office. He also used the
sound stage for what he calls his "crowning achievement," the massive
biolab set, which also housed Jennings' lab. A superb concrete and steel
monolith in perfect harmony with the themes of Philip K. Dick's story, the
biolab also delicately incorporated the earthy, human warmth of Jennings and
Rachel's developing love, as represented in the contrasting greenery and growing
plant life in Rachel's environmental biology lab.
In addition to the lab set, Sandell's personal favorite was the interior of
Rachel's apartment. "It's a beautiful little jewel, surrounded by a
translight reflecting a local location that had a very sophisticated design
feel," recalls Sandell. "We extrapolated from that exterior design and
built the inside of Rachel's apartment to reflect the sophistication of all that
Sandell also had the daunting challenge of building a subway system -- in
three weeks. Constructed under a huge circus tent, the production designer and
his team build 250 running feet of tunnel and track, making the chase scenes
both exciting and realistic.
Also in keeping with John Woo's scaled-down vision of futurism, costume
designer Eric Edell Phillips made stylized and sleek costumes rooted in
contemporary aesthetics. "John didn't want to make a statement with the
wardrobe," says Phillips. "Rather, he wanted the characters' sub
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