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THE OMEN

About The Production
Through his early commercial work and two previous motion pictures, "Behind Enemy Lines” and "Flight of the Phoenix,” John Moore is known for his distinct visual style, which is fully realized in THE OMEN. Moore, together with his collaborators, turns even the most innocent event, like a sunny child's birthday party complete with clowns, carousel and puppets, into a nightmarish ordeal. A Sunday morning visit to church leads to an inexplicable burst of hysteria. And a child's ride on a scooter puts his parents on a very dark path.

To help create the mounting thrills, Moore and director of photography Jonathan Sela conduct a careful balance of light and shadow. "THE OMEN, photographically, is about light and dark,” Moore explains. "And within every frame there's a struggle for light to win out over darkness.”

Moore employed the latest in film technology to convey certain themes and actions. For a key scene where Katherine is pushed over a balcony, Moore and Sela used a camera mounted with a Libra head, which can sustain and "absorb” movements. The special equipment gave an almost otherworldly "smoothness” to Katherine's descent. Glenn Williamson explains: "The rig was created so the camera was mounted just over Julia, with the apparatus rappelling as she's falling. It's almost like a demon chasing her down.”

Through his filmmaking magic, Moore gives a poetic feel to the horrifying proceedings: The alabaster and blonde Katherine, swathed in a creamy wrap, falls to the ground surrounded by a fluttering of blood red petals. "I was inspired by the imagery of Gabriel and the fallen angel,” Moore explains. "[Costume designer] George Little and I gave Katherine a shawl, which as she falls, makes it look like she has wings.”

With the camera positioned so close to its subject, a stunt double could not be used. So Stiles had to take the plunge…literally. Faced with the formidable stunt, Stiles said, boldly, "Okay, bring it on.”

Stiles's initial bravura was soon replaced by reasonable trepidation. "I woke up in a panic in the middle of the shooting, thinking, ‘Oh, my God, they scheduled the stunt for my last day of shooting; what are they trying to pull?'” the actress laughs. "Then I panicked.” When the stunt coordinators showed her the rigging – and the scene was rescheduled to an earlier date, Stiles's fears were assuaged.

For the stunt, Stiles spent three days in a harness. Toward the end, the actress admits, a little paranoia crept back in. "They had me hanging above the floor for quite a while. There was a safety lock on the rig, and two stunt guys were holding me up for three days. I could feel the tension of the rope, and them straining a little bit. I looked down and thought, ‘What if the stunt people get really tired? Or they have a muscle spasm?” As expected, the stunt went off without a hitch.

Schreiber also performed several of his own stunts, fighting off crazed dogs, spinning cars in the rain, and battling with Mia Farrow while carrying in his arms a kicking and screaming Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick, emoting as Damien.

Audiences will see real fear in Schreiber's face during a scene set at a cemetery, where Thorn and Jennings are attacked by ferocious dogs. Months before the scene was shot, Schreiber was introduced to a sweet female Rottweiler, which he thought was going to be his sparring partner for the scene. Much to his consternation, Schreiber arrived at the set to find a different dog. "He was male, much larger – and he hated me,” Schreiber recalls.

"The idea was to have the dog bite my arm, which would be padded, and see how it looked on camera,” Schreiber continues. Unfortunately, the dog continued to pull at the actor's appendage longer than anticipated. The force of the dog's body against Schreiber, who was backed up against iron fencing, not only knocked the wind out of the actor, but also cracked a rib.

Mia Fa

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