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POSEIDON

Bodies, Bodies Everywhere
In addition to the cast, stunt performers and hundreds of extras on board, the production engaged VFX scanning company Itronics to create approximately 150 visual clones to step in for flesh-and-blood actors at crucial moments where even the most rigorous safety precautions might fail, like the ballroom implosion.

Poseidon's passengers also included 65 state-of-the-art dummies crafted by industry mainstay KNB Efx Group, fresh from their work on The Chronicles of Narnia. Made up and costumed, their close-up-quality fiberglass bodies could be weighted for underwater scenes or fitted with floats to bob near the surface. Others, loosely jointed, could be tossed around the tilting sets like flotsam or charred by flash fires. Internal wire armature allowed their limbs to bend into credible simulations of broken bones while extra pairs of artificial arms and legs alone were used to supplement images of people trapped under wreckage or fallen atop one another. Throughout, Petersen sought restraint, using images of the dead and injured to help set the tone for his story rather than to shock.

So realistic as to be indistinguishable from the real thing, the KNB players drew a fair amount of respect from the actors. "It was funny how we would walk around the dummies,” recalls Kurt Russell with a laugh. "We wouldn't step on their legs or arms, just as if they were real people – and in some cases it was so hard to tell it was better to be on the safe side.” Adds Mike Vogel, "One day I saw what I assumed was a dummy lying on the set and a few minutes later I noticed it was breathing. I literally bolted from the spot.”

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