About The Location
The filmmakers' attention to the details of story, characters
and casting were also reflected by their vision of its style and
With tanks, choppers, buses exploding, thousands of extras and
over 40 different locations - it was one of the biggest films
ever shot in the Big Apple. "The scale of the movie is very
big," says Obst. "It has to be if you're going to bring
the Army to the streets of New York."
"We wanted to give the sense that if this were to happen,
this is how it would feel," Zwick explains. "And there's
only one way to really accomplish that in New York, and that's
real time and real scale. It's not about CGI or miniatures or
computers. It's about getting that plausible texture."
"It feels very real, yet completely unfamiliar," adds
Obst. "And the images of tanks on the streets of New York
are powerful, haunting and cautionary."
"It was chilling to see," Zwick agrees. "The notion
of an American troop presence on an American street is one of
the gravest and ultimate nightmares."
THE SIEGE was filmed on locations throughout four of the five
boroughs. Principal locations were Times Square and 42nd, each
of which was shut down for a night of filming with Hub, Elise
and Frank rushing to the aftermath of a bombing; Downing Stadium
on Randall's Island, home to a thousand extras dressed as soldiers
and detainees in a makeshift internment camp; and the Brooklyn
Bridge which was shut down for a morning to film the troops and
army vehicles entering Brooklyn.
THE SIEGE is about imagining the present in its worst case scenario,
so the feeling of immediacy, of being there, was critical to the
look and style of the movie. Cinematographer Roger Deakins, production
designer Lilly Kilvert and costume designer Ann Roth all used
that as their guiding aesthetic. "Their work wasn't about
prettifying the picture," says Zwick. "It was looking
at the picture square in the face and capturing the energy, fear
and resourcefulness of all of us under siege."
To give the film a fresh look and to reflect its characters' viewpoints,
locations were carefully chosen for their unfamiliarity to moviegoers.
"We filmed in places that many New Yorkers never visit,"
remarks Obst, herself a native New Yorker. "There's a quality
of seeing New York through the eyes of the FBI and the police,
through the aperture of a crisis."
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