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DEJA VU

Location And Special Effects
Production of DÉJÀ VU was set to begin in the fall of 2005, amidst the watery beauty and inimitably soulful atmosphere of New Orleans. But in August of 2005, the unprecedented power of Hurricane Katrina struck, devastating the city and rocking the nation. While recovery efforts began, the film was put on indefinite hold. At first Jerry Bruckheimer and Tony Scott considered looking elsewhere in the United States for an appropriate location. But they both agreed: from the unique architecture of the French Quarter to the funky swamps of the bayou, there was simply no other place on earth like New Orleans. And it seemed that now New Orleans needed people to stand by it more than ever.

"I was already in love with New Orleans, having made several films here,” says Bruckheimer. "Tony had never been there before, but he, too, fell in love with the all the French and Spanish influences. The city has a distinct culture that is unforgettable, and Tony and I both knew this was right for the story of DÉJÀ VU. New Orleans deservedly became a character in the film."

Unable to give up the dream of shooting in the city, the filmmakers stayed in close contact with the New Orleans Film Commission as recovery efforts progressed, hoping a time would soon come when they could safely return. By early 2006, the city had begun to rebuild its infrastructure, and the production of DÉJÀ VU didn't waste a second, becoming the very first film to start shooting in New Orleans post-Katrina—and setting an example for other productions that New Orleans was open again for filming.

Continues director Tony Scott, "We had adapted the DÉJÀ VU script to take place in some of the most interesting New Orleans locations and show the incredible landscape through the story's car chases and ferry sequences. DÉJÀ VU is set against a city in a time warp, a beautiful time warp, much like New Orleans.”

The New Orleans locals were especially supportive of DÉJÀ VU bringing the excitement of the movies back to their city. "While filming on the streets of New Orleans, everyday locals would come up to me and thank us for bringing this film here, for helping us revitalize their city in need,,” recalls Bruckheimer. "Tony and I, and the cast and crew, felt extremely proud to be part of the rebirth of the city and the return of the film industry there.”

When the production held an open casting call for extras at a mall in Metarie, the community demonstrated overwhelming interest as over 5,000 people showed up ready to take part. The production also garnered the support of many local government organizations, including the Coast Guard, National Guard, New Orleans Police Department, New Orleans Fire Department, EMS, Department of Transportation, Port of New Orleans, the U.S. Army, and others that lent assistance when needed, whether it be closing down a bridge for a car chase or securing an area for a large pyrotechnic explosion.

Just being in New Orleans during those early days of its recovery was extremely moving for cast and crew. Says Denzel Washington, "I was truly inspired by the people that I met in New Orleans who were fighting to get back their lives. Katrina was a tragedy beyond imagination. I got in my truck every day and just took rides around the city by myself to see mile after mile of devastation. I'll just never forget what I witnessed.”

Besides providing job opportunities and priming the local economy, DÉJÀ VU also left its mark behind in subtler ways. When shooting at night on the ferry at Algiers, the art department had to put up additional lighting on the Mississippi Bridge to be able to see the New Orleans skyline in its glory. Many locals commented that the bridge never looked so good since Katrina.

Key to the mystery and action in DÉJÀ VU is the shattering ferry blast t

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