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About The Production
Seeking to avoid cliches in presenting the city of San Francisco, Kaufman, a longtime resident, liked the idea of creating a creepy atmosphere in the midst of all the beauty. To aid him in this pursuit, he chose production designer Dennis Washington, who had previously worked with producer Arnold Kopelson on "The Fugitive,” as well as "Life as a House,” "The Net,” "The General's Daughter” and "No Way Out.”

"Philip creates worlds that are always intriguing. With each of his films, he takes a piece and keeps evolving it into something that becomes more and more interesting,” observes Washington. "He has a film noir background and he uses his knowledge of older movies of that style and gives them a contemporary twist. To complement Philip's vision, I've tried to render the spirit of the noir into something current and believable.”

Washington saw his biggest design challenge in creating a backdrop that would set the tone for the film and, at the same time, enhance the mysterious twists and turns of the plot. To do this, he found locations within San Francisco and established set designs that would lend themselves to modern-day detective work.

"This is not a stylized picture,” Washington points out. "It has to be believable throughout. We had to find the real world of these investigators and, out of that reality, find something that's dramatic but at the same time logical.”

As the scouting went from San Francisco's Mission District to the Bay, it became apparent that the landscape by the water was where a lot of the story would play out best.

"The water gave a theme to the picture that wasn't in anybody's mind at first,” says director Philip Kaufman, who had originally looked to the Mission District as the centerpiece of the film. "But down at the wharf, a crime scene can take on a whole new feel and become even eerier and colder than at a lot of other areas of San Francisco often seen in films.”

Locations manager Rory Enke was more than happy that the San Francisco Bay was chosen for the film's backdrop. "The bay offers one of the biggest untapped resources of San Francisco because, essentially, the wilderness is right next to a city,” says Enke, who served as the Northern California location manager for Stephen King's "The Green Mile” and who has spent a lot of time sailing in the bay. "As we continued our research, we found a lot of creepy little places to set the crime scenes.

One such scene takes place behind Pacific Bell Park, home of the San Francisco Giants baseball team, and the site where, in reality, the body of a young girl had been discovered almost a year before. In the film, homicide inspectors Shepard and Delmarco are investigating a murder on the rocks at the edge of the water. As the two examine the victim's body, a night game is in progress in the stadium and 40,000 fans, who are standing up and shouting every time the Giants get a hit, become unwitting extras.

The Fisherman's Wharf area was the site of another important scene in the film, this one using a herd of sea lions that, in actuality, took up residence on the docks behind Pier 39 after the 1989 earthquake. Protected by the National Marine Fisheries, under whose jurisdiction the wild animals fall, there are no provisions for film permits, and it took San Francisco's former mayor Willie Brown to step in and clear the way with Pier 39's Marine Mammal Center so that the scene could be filmed. In fact, according to Enke, it was the first time that the sea lions have been used in a movie.

When the second unit arrived to set up the blue screen against which the sea lions would be filmed, most of them jumped into the water and swam off anyway.

"It's tricky.” says Enke. "It's a unique situation. You're asking wild animals to hang around and perform in an urban setting. One day, they all got upset by a seagull with fishing line wrapped around its


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