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Into the Wild Blue Yonder
Since RV is a road film, it involved the use of five look-alike RVs and two identical vintage buses. The cast and crew spent a lot of time on the road. Though the story is set on the highways between Los Angeles and the Colorado Rockies, it was actually shot in and around Vancouver, British Columbia.

The first major set in the film was the desert-like Nevada Campground. The actual location was an area south of Vancouver called the Richmond Sand Dunes. While not the most appealing campground, for production designer Michael Bolton it typified the reality of life on the road and also served an important dramatic function in the story. "The campsites we depicted at the beginning of the movie were quite unappetizing," Bolton says, "We were in this big sandpit, basically, so that the family really didn't know why they were RVing. As the story progressed, the campsites became friendlier and prettier. When we were up in the Canadian Rockies, it was genuinely beautiful. There were parts of Alberta that were sensational."

The sand pit location proved to be problematic, since the months of May and June in Vancouver are extremely rainy - not at all the look Sonnefeld had in mind for his Nevada Campground. The production circumvented the problem during the night scenes, which were all filmed in a covered arena that was dressed by Bolton's crew to match the exterior location.

"We had this little book, a kind of 'Barry's Bible,' of things he wanted to see on the set," says Bolton, "things that you wouldn't expect to see in an RV camp, but are actually there. We had a large package of information and photographs taken from many different real RV camps."

Explains Sonnenfeld: "RV parks are surreal. They're like golf courses, which are also surreal. They're usually in flat spaces that are invaded with these tall, strangely painted RVs. I wanted the Munros to have the most garish RV that you've ever seen. I wanted it to stand out from the landscape, in a most unnatural way, as if to say 'here you are surrounded by natural beauty and you're driving this really unnatural-looking monstrosity.'"

The devil, for Bolton, was always in the details, as he worked diligently to give each campground its own character. "Each of them is unique and there are people for whom these campsites are their lives," Bolton says. "They have little pens for their animals that they carry around in their RVs. They have little gnomes and concrete deer. They have little lights strung around their vehicles. It's like their own little portable backyard. They also carry around big piece of Astroturf that they roll out like a lawn in the middle of the RV camp. When you walk through some of these camps, everyone's yard looks different from the next one. Each has its own personal touches."

To capture locations that resembled everything from the flatlands of Utah to the majesty of the Colorado Rockies, the production spent nearly a month traveling through in Southern Alberta, Canada. "We shot all over in places that look just like the U.S.," recalls Williams. "There was one location called Milk River where they have hoodoo (weathered, eccentrically shaped rocks) like they do in the Utah desert. There are places that look just like Idaho and Colorado, except when you see signs in English and in French, which they don't have in Idaho - or maybe only in Coeur d'Alene. But it's gorgeous, and you realize that you can go there in your own RV. It's like the next step above camping."

RV was indeed a step above camping. The production entailed a great deal of travel and multiple locations, wrapping on a soundstage south of Vancouver where the Munro and Gornicke families were dressed in their garish cowboy-best and sang "(Get your Kicks on) Route 66" for use over the closing credits.


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