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FANTASTIC FOUR

About The Production
The challenge of infusing life and power into the characters was a formidable undertaking. Equally time-consuming and labor-intensive was the creation of the "world” in which the heroes live.

From the sleek, linear lines of Victor Von Doom's officer to the sumptuous curves of the space station to the hodgepodge of architectural detailing that is the famed Baxter Building, production designer Bill Boes tore a page from the 1961 comic for his inspiration.

"When Stan Lee and Jack Kirby started this comic back in 1961,” says Boes, "they pushed the envelope with their visual designs. Their Fantastic Four is a brilliant example of what was considered ‘pushing contemporary' back then. From that, I was inspired to push the technology as far as we could for an audience to accept it and believe it….to make New York a contemporary but ultimately timeless place where the characters live, work and save the day.”

The biggest set constructed for the film was the interior of the Baxter Building, Reed Richard's high-rise laboratory compound and family home to the Fantastic Four.

Boes says this set is representative of what he and the filmmakers were trying to achieve with the visual design elements.

"The Baxter Building is a circa 1928 Art Deco building in Manhattan,” says Boes. "Reed Richards had taken over the top portion and begun adding different modules to the space – a laboratory, his office, the living quarters – so when you see the interior or exterior of the building, there's a mix of the old and the new. We paid homage to Jack Kirby on that set because we know what an important place it is in the history of the Fantastic Four.”

"It was a really fun set to design and build,” continues Boes. "There is a lot of variance in color and texture that reflects the lighter tone of this movie. We call it a ‘daylight' movie as opposed to something like the darker ‘nighttime' feeling of the ‘X-Men' pictures. That's another reason that so much of the movie takes place during the day. It's just more suitable to tone of this particular comic and movie.”

Boes was responsible for keeping visual consistency at the practical locations in and around Vancouver, where the film was based for four months in fall 2004. Two of the biggest sequences in the movie take place on the Brooklyn Bridge and inside a cavernous stadium arena for the thrilling Motocross X-Games.

"As much as all of us would have wanted to do the Brooklyn Bridge action sequence on the real bridge in New York,” says Boes, "it was cost-prohibitive. We built a portion of it adjacent to Pier 94 on the north shore of Vancouver. We built a 200-foot by 34-foot wide section of the bridge, down to the detailing of the bolts, the paint color, and the period lampposts. The road that goes through the bridge extended another half-mile around like a race track which made resetting vehicles and equipment much, much easier. We then surrounded it with blue screens, some that were stationary, some that were movable and some that towered almost 50 feet high above the set.

"It was very important to get the bridge right,” says Boes, "because such a huge and critical scene takes place there. It is on the Brooklyn Bridge where the Fantastic Four finally discover their powers full on and end up saving the day for the first time.”

"With the combination of the practical piece of the bridge,” says producer Ralph Winter, "the aerial footage we shot in New York and Vancouver and the post-production visual effects, we were able to cobble things together that give you the sense that you are on top of the Brooklyn Bridge, 200 feet above the water.”

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