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
"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
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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