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ANACONDAS

About The Production
Producer Verna Harrah says that she always wanted expand on the first Anaconda, on which she also served as producer. The deciding factor was the ability to tell a new story. "Originally we developed an idea about anacondas coming into the waterways of New Orleans off a boat from the Amazon. It was fun but the idea became too complicated. So we stayed with the jungle environment, but now it's a story of pharmacologists who have discovered that there might be an orchid in Borneo that could prolong life.”

To kick off this new adventure, a group of driven New York scientists get funding from their company to travel to Borneo in search of a rare flower that blooms only two weeks every seven years. "Of course they end up running into a lot of trouble because not only is it monsoon season when they arrive, it's also mating season for the anacondas,” says Harrah.

Director Dwight Little was attracted to the project because he's a big fan of adventure stories, especially when the exotic and the thrilling elements intertwine. "You really can't beat a good adventure movie and that's what this is,” says Little. "Even without the monster or snake element, it's still a really good story about an expedition that travels up a treacherous river in a very dangerous area. Then you add the snakes and it becomes something else again!”

Harrah was thrilled to get Little on board. "He had a real vision for this film,” she says. "Here is a man who is calm, talented and collaborative, and how wonderful is that?” 

Crucial to a horror story, in which more than ninety percent of the movie takes place outdoors, is picking the perfect shooting location. The filmmakers were thrilled to find their jungle in the picturesque nation of Fiji, and the benefits were both creative and financial. "Fiji offers various fabulous, incredible locations that haven't been seen on film before. They look spectacular,” explains Harrah. "But we also received some great tax incentives and that was certainly very important.” In addition, the government was extremely accommodating to a group of foreign workers. Says Harrah, "It's also very safe in Fiji. This is one of the few places where you can work in a jungle environment and not have to worry about terrorism or local warfare.”

Director Dwight Little knew early on that the key to the success of ANACONDAS would lie in careful casting. "I really do believe that with any thriller or horror movie, first and foremost the audience needs to invest in the characters and identify with them,” explains Little. "Then you can begin to build the suspense. If the audience doesn't invest in the characters, then there's no suspense, no scares.”

Each cast member was selected for his or her talent and for what could be brought to the role. Eventually, a roster of fresh and energetic actors was assembled, with everyone prepared for the challenges of expressing character in a physically demanding film. Says Harrah, "They are all very talented and look wonderful on film. There's a real personality that shines through individually and as an ensemble. We were incredibly fortunate to find such an amazing cast.”

Johnny Messner plays Bill Johnson, a rugged loner who lives in the jungle on his boat. For a hefty fee, he agrees to take the scientists down river even though the situation is fraught with peril. "Bill's a mess,” admits Messner. "He's ended up in Borneo to begin a new life but can't escape his demons. He's kind of a drunk, he's a gambler and he's in debt. All he owns in life is his beaten-up old boat. He's an interesting character though, because he's not all bad. Underneath he's got a pretty good heart – he's just made some bad decisions in life.” Little credits Messner with making a tough role – an American exiled from his own country – not a cliché. "He's so grounded as an actor that he kept the movie in a real place and not in a ‘movie movie' p

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