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AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS

Production Information
Principal photography began on "Around the World in 80 Days” in the sweltering heat of Thailand. On the first day of shooting, the unit had swelled to over 700 crew members. "Part of the learning process for the studio and for those of us in production was to find out what it took to get the job done all over the world,” says UPM Billy Badalato. "It was very different everywhere we went.” Luckily, he adds, the 700 crew members that showed up the first day whittled down to around 500 most days.

Despite the 125 degree heat and the vast scope of the production, Coraci kept the mood on the set as light as possible. "I have rarely worked for a director who is so respected by the actors,” comments producer Bill Badalato. "We worked hard. We worked long hours. But we enjoyed coming to work every day because Frank is a hoot.”

Thailand served mainly as the location for Lanzhou, Passepartout's home in China, where the loyal valet returns the jade Buddha so prized by his village. Production designer Perry Andelin Blake, who worked with Coraci previously on "The Waterboy” and "The Wedding Singer,” built a Chinese village in the foothills of the mountains in Thailand that amazed the cast and crew. "It looked spectacular, even from a distance,” says Steve Coogan. "It's a beautiful old village, beautifully made, beautifully constructed.”

It was in this village that Blake and Coraci had a run-in with one of the Brahma bulls that were being used to pull carts in a scene. "One day Frank and I were walking to the Chinese village, and we saw this big bull running down the main street,” recounts Blake. "We thought, ‘Wow, that looks very authentic.' All of a sudden, we see people running and scattering. The bull was getting wild and crazy. He's running and people are diving out of the way. And we realized that the bull was actually loose. We ducked into a building and the bull went running past. It took about 25 minutes to finally get him restrained!”

The production spent four and a half weeks in Thailand, making stops in the capital of Bangkok; and the southern cities of Phuket (known as "the Pearl of the Andaman sea” for its pristine beaches) and Krabi. "It really worked out well. Thailand is a magical place,” says Coraci, "and I believe that magic will come through in the film.”

The production then moved to Europe. One of the key sequences shot in Berlin was the climactic scene where Fogg, Passepartout, and Monique crash-land their flying machine at the steps of the London Royal Academy of Science in front of hundreds of onlookers.

Says production designer Perry Blake, "We did a little crash test. It wasn't full speed, but still…. We had a gigantic construction crane which was over 100 feet high. It was on a long track so that we could not only bring the flying machine in but we could drop it down and fairly well control it.”

The scene took place in a large plaza in Berlin. The square was "Trafalgar Square-esque,” according to Blake. "It turned out to be a fantastic place because not only was it spectacular and grand, but it was surrounded by an opera house designed by famed architect Karl Frederick Schinkel that stood in as the Royal Academy of Science.” One side of the plaza didn't work as well, so the unit built its own 35 foot tall, 200 foot long building in the same style. "We tried to match the color and the style and the tone of the other buildings, and then we used trees to tie it together and anchor it into the plaza. We were able to shoot in almost any direction,” says Blake.

A trick the production used to conceal modern buildings during this important scene was a huge lion. "We built an oversized base unit, and I sculpted a giant lion on it. It was on wheels so that we could move it around,” says Blake.

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