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16 BLOCKS

About The Production
Principal photography began on 16 Blocks on April 2005 in Toronto, where production shot for nine weeks, followed by two weeks of filming in Manhattan. 

Temperatures soaring into the mid-90s in New York brought another level of authenticity to the film, which is set during a sweltering Manhattan summer morning. "Remember, it's hot, sweaty and miserable,” director Richard Donner was often heard reminding the cast. 

Donner directed the film largely in sequence, using very few cutaways or time lapses, as the story depicts the real-time evolution of the unlikely alliance between burned-out detective Jack Mosley and Eddie Bunker, the charismatic young convict marked for death.

Director of photography Glenn MacPherson (Exit Wounds, Romeo Must Die) strived to establish a gritty, almost documentary look to the film, creating a sense of realism that underscores Donner's taut storytelling. "Dick wanted it to feel like you're actually there, like it's happening now,” MacPherson says. "The biggest challenge on this movie was to figure out how to make it look like it all took place in a two hour period, when we actually shot over 55 days in two cities – in sun, rain and even hail.”

The most elaborate sequence staged by the production was the climactic bus chase, in which Jack commandeers a New York City transit bus loaded with passengers in a desperate attempt to make it the final few blocks to the courthouse. A SWAT team surrounds the bus and shoots out the tires, sending the 30-ton vehicle plowing into a construction site. After obliterating a barricade, the bus careens down an alley, shearing off numerous air conditioner units in its path, and crashes amid a haze of smoke, a shower of sparks and shattered glass.

Stunt coordinator Branko Racki (Dawn of the Dead, The Day After Tomorrow) choreographed the intricate sequence, filmed principally in Toronto over the course of 12 days. Racki utilized 46 stunt people and 25 vehicles, including five MTA buses purchased and shipped from New York to Toronto: two pristine buses, one for exterior and the other for interior scenes; an effects bus used to facilitate shots of the windows being blown out; a stunt bus, which was reinforced so it wouldn't collapse during the crash; and the fifth bus was cut in half and utilized to negotiate a hairpin turn into the alley. (To lighten the load, the special effects team removed the vehicle's underside, cut out the axle and mounted the half-bus on a truck.)

The special effects team rigged the stunt bus with shape charges that fired explosives through the sidewalls of the tires, causing the rear tires to deflate in a spectacular manner. When the 65,000 pound bus appeared to drop onto its rims, it was manuevered on custom-made smaller tires hidden behind the larger flat ones.

Donner and MacPherson used 12 cameras to cover the culmination of the crash. "It took three weeks to rig and 40 minutes to demolish,” jokes special effects supervisor Laird McMurray, whose team added spark machines around the bus' wheels and breakaway glass to the windows.

For scenes taking place in the interior of the bus, computerized air bags were placed underneath the vehicle to simulate the wild, lurching ride and the effect of the tires being shot out by the SWAT team.  While the filmmakers and crew prepared to capture the action, Bruce Willis devoted equal precision to the creation of his character's physical appearance. Key makeup artist Jordan Samuel helped Willis exhibit the signs of chronic alcoholism and premature aging, applying broken blood vessels, spider veins and a flushed look to his face. A menthol tear blower was used to induce a bloodshot and watery look in Willis' eyes for close-ups, and the actor requested a wig styled specifically after screenwriter Richard Wenk's graying and receding hairline.

To bring further realism to Jack's diminished

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