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About the Locations
From Newark and Bayonne to Brooklyn, up the Hudson to Naugatuck, Connecticut, and onto Athens, New York, the company was on a whirlwind tour of the Eastern Seaboard that ended in eastern Virginia.

Lexington is a small town, home to Washington and Lee University and Virginia Military Institute and to the production for the final days of shooting on the East Coast before the winter break. In a small valley between rolling farmlands the first part of the "Valley War” sequence was shot. "We looked all over to try to find a place that had this hillside that you could run up, and over the top know something was going on that you couldn't see,” says Carter. "Below that would be this farmhouse. It turns out we actually found a farmhouse in that proximity with the hill in Virginia.”

Hundreds of tattered and dirtied extras wheeling carts and wagons stuffed with a hodge podge of personal affects worked along side the Virginia National Guard as Spielberg orchestrated a devastating encounter with the alien attackers for the camera.

The Guard came on the heels of several military units that worked with the production company: New York's 10th Mountain Division; Marines from Camp Pendleton, California; and Army from Fort Irwin and Twenty-nine Palms, California, among others.

Moving to the West Coast, production resumed at Los Angeles-area locations including Piru, California (dressed as Athens, New York) for a continuation of a scene involving hundreds of extras; and the resonantly named Mystery Mesa, roughly 60 miles north of Los Angeles.

Another striking West Coast location was a massive, painstakingly-disassembled and dressed 747 jetliner sprawled out over a small hill on the Universal Studios backlot. "You walk outside, and it's almost your worst nightmare of what really could happen,” says Rick Carter. "A plane lands in your neighborhood, and just decimates everything.”

The plane crash site was "a monumental set to put together. We had to buy a 747, and then we had to cut it up into pieces and have it strewn on the back lot, and then build houses around it. It was quite an undertaking.”

Also at Universal, the company utilized the studio's huge, 25-foot diameter tank on Stage 27 to shoot the underwater portions of the ferry sequence.

On stage 16 on the Fox lot, production designer Rick Carter and his team created an otherworldly set which they called "The Meadow.” The farmhouse, which the company shot in the rolling hills of eastern Virginia and completed at Mystery Mesa, north of Los Angeles, was recreated on a low sloping hill with the barn, wooden fence, a carpet of sod and some trees. But this time everything was covered with red weed. "Steven's idea was that he wanted to go from basically black and white in the hallway, a long shot moving tip to the door, and when it opens up it's like in ‘The Wizard of Oz,”' explains Carter, "the whole movie turns to color. Only now, in this case, it's our world turning red. It's just expansive, and it's taking over our entire world.”

"They essentially turn our planet into theirs,” says producer Kennedy, "and we see this happening with this look of red weed that begins to take over the landscape. And it's a little gruesome when you find out why it's red.”

In addition to the meadow and their work on dozens of practical locations the company worked on six stages spread over three studio lots. [Production also utilized stage facilities for the interior of Ray's house in Bayonne, New Jersey]. Every stage was its own world. In addition to the meadow set, Fox was home to the claustrophobic cellar where Ray and Rachel encounter Ogilvy.

Actor Tim Robbins says, "Steven Spielberg is still making Hollywood movies, in the great sense of ‘here we are on a soundstage where they've done countless epic dramas.' You build sets and you make things h


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