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On Location In Chicago
Principal photography for "The Negotiator" took place on location in Chicago, then continued on soundstages and some locations in Los Angeles

Principal photography for "The Negotiator" took place on location in Chicago, then continued on soundstages and some locations in Los Angeles.

"From early on we always liked the idea of setting the film in Chicago," says producer David Hoberman, "because it's a great city to shoot in. It's a really masculine city and it has north and south so we could establish Danny and Chris as coming from these different worlds. And we wanted a city with some size and color to it."

"It was incredible -- 400 or so extras every night; 25 to 30 police officers cordoning off the shooting area, re-directing traffic; the city transportation authority rerouting buses and clearing traffic to allow helicopters to fly over the top of city streets; the marine unit of the police department arranging for cessation of traffic on the river; and the police department's cooperation, with their mounted police and K-9 units that worked in the film for crowd control in our riot scenes.

The primary Chicago location was a building at 77 West Wacker Drive, representing the Police Department's Internal Affairs Division offices, where Danny Roman takes Inspector Niebaum and his staff hostage. A nine block perimeter around the building was also used for exterior shooting.

The building, which is the focal point of the story's action, was chosen by the filmmakers because it has the most dramatic architecture of any office structure facing the river on the downtown side.

"At first we were looking for these small, old architectural federal buildings," says Hoberman, "but while scouting the city, Gary and our production designer, Holger Gross, found 77 West Wacker, this extraordinary 50-story structure. It sits right on the Chicago River, which is a wonderful visual element, and on the river happened to be some old construction barges used for maintenance of the bridges. So they came up with the idea of a beat-up old construction barge as the HBT command post across the river. The barge worked well in the story because it allowed a good perspective on the 20th floor, which is where the hostage drama takes place, and it could also keep the police separate from the press, who wouldn't have any access to the barge."

Says Holger Gross, "Before I went to Chicago, David Hoberman told me that Gary wanted to play up the river. I joked 'What are we going to do, put some kind of barge on it?' Then, when I got to Chicago, the first thing I noticed was the construction barges on the river and I couldn't believe it! The concept was the contrast in texture between a very modern-looking lAD building and a messy, dirty construction barge."

Other locations used in the area include the Clark Street Bridge; the intersections of Clark Street & Wacker Drive and Dearborn Street & Wacker Drive; and the Quaker Oats building across the river, which offered dynamic vantage points of the 77 West Wacker building -- its rooftop was used as a landing site for SWAT team snipers rappelling down from a police helicopter, as well as its 39th floor which was used for sniper positions and point-of-view shots.

Adds David Nicksay, "For the aerial unit, coordinated by Cliff Fleming, we had to file flight plans with the FAA and city officials and, since we were flying part of our pattern over the river, we also had to have the Coast Guard involved. So there was an amazing amount of coordination between multiple jurisdictions.

"I think all of<


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