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Raccoon City Live
RESIDENT EVIL: Apocalypse was filmed on soundstages and location in Toronto and nearby Hamilton, Canada. The use and character of the city was a crucial element to the production. "To make this movie, we basically had to take over a major North American city, which we've done with Toronto,” says producer Don Carmody, who has mounted a number of major productions in the city, including the Academy Award® winner Chicago. "We took over major thoroughfares for days and City Hall for two weeks, flying helicopters in and out, setting off shells and shooting up windows. There were blocks that were shut down for the running gun battles and fights with the Undead. I don't know of any other city where we could have accomplished it with the facility and cooperation that we have here.”

Production designer Paul Denham Austerberry worked with the architecture of Toronto to create Raccoon City on its eve of destruction. Toronto's unique city hall, a modernist classic by Finnish architect Vijo Revell, became a major setpiece of the movie. The production took over the full upper level of the building, filming around the circular ‘pod' that houses the city council chambers. Adapting the building to the production, Austerberry created a glass hallway that circles around the central pod. City business continued to take place during the day but for two weeks in October – Evil took up residence at night. 

For Alice's descent on City Hall, director Alexander Witt re-imagined art of rappelling to create a stunningly original piece of visual disorientation. "I wanted to take advantage of the unique quality of the building with its cove-shaped towers mirroring each other,” he describes. "I envisioned this shot to look as if she's running along a narrow horizontal surface. Then, when the camera does a swift ninety-degree turn, you suddenly realize that she is running straight down the edge of the building. My hope is to create a totally arresting vision of this almost alien fighter.”

The production rigged a camera to track Jovovich down the building with the camera rotation occurring roughly halfway. "The only hitch to this plan of course is that it required Alice to run face-first down a 260-foot building anchored by only a single wire to her harness,” Witt explains.

Jeremy Bolt adds, "It will probably look like a really expensive and brilliant visual effect, but we shot it in real-time and on camera. The stunt will be much more impressive for that.”

Although she was eager to perform the stunt herself, the production's insurance company vetoed the idea of the star in such a precarious situation – no matter how secure the rig. One of the few sequences in the movie performed by Jovovich's stunt double, Joanne Leach made the incredible run twelve times.

Watching from the ground, Jovovich marveled, "It's insane. This girl literally ran down the building, two hundred and sixty feet, hooked up to one wire, full speed. I did the last sixty feet down the building, which was scary to say the least. There was no screaming; I was in character – tough like Alice. Of course inside I was going ‘Oh my God! How am I going to do this?'”

The insanity continued at the City Hall location. An unseasonable cold snap hit the city, sending temperatures plunging to the freezing mark. The remaining month of the shoot consisted mostly of nighttime exteriors. Jovovich recalls a wardrobe discussion from months earlier, "I had this crazy idea in my head – I want to be sexy in the film. So, I suggested that Raccoon City is going through a heat wave. And not just for me – Jill Valentine in her mini skirt and tube top? Heat wave in Raccoon City. Of course it's October and we are outside at night. We can't change now. This is Resident Evil. We can't be dressed in parkas!”

Another rooftop stunt was staged downtown atop a sleek, black, forty-story office tower. Producer Bolt explains, "We

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