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BREACH

Production Design And Locations
Filming of Breach took place in Toronto from mid-November 2005 through the end of January 2006. In the provincial Ontario capital, many of the film's interior locations were constructed at the Toronto Film Studio's soundstages. At the end of January, production moved to Washington, D.C., where the crew spent almost three weeks shooting exteriors and interior scenes that could only be lensed in our nation's capital.

"The reason you shoot on location in Washington, D.C.,” says Ray, "is because it is loaded with icons that simply can't be duplicated anywhere else—like the FBI Building, the Department of Justice, the Potomac and the Lincoln Memorial.” While weather in February can be precarious, Ray also insisted on setting the film in the same time of the year in which the real events took place.

"In a film about a very real time and very real people, the producers were committed to honoring the integrity of the story and the reality of the world,” offers production designer Wynn Thomas.

The FBI was extremely cooperative in assisting the team in telling Hanssen and O'Neill's story in an accurate manner. While access to the FBI buildings was limited, the filmmakers were given the honor of shooting key interiors—including the FBI Plaza (the central inner courtyard in the FBI Hoover Building) and the Hoover lobby, which has never before been allowed.

For example, one interior scene depicted O'Neill's first day at FBI Headquarters, his first day working with Hanssen and his first day reporting to Room 9930. "You can't duplicate the FBI Building,” says Ray. "It's so unique in terms of architecture. It goes up seven floors on one side and eleven floors on the other. It's built by design to get people lost. And Eric did get lost on his first day, which we are documenting in the film.”

From the beginning of production, the FBI proved to be quite an asset. Susan McKee and Debra Weierman of the FBI's Public Relations team took the filmmakers on a tour through the FBI building and the Washington field office. As so much of the story takes place in these two worlds, accessing those buildings was essential for Thomas and his creative team; it allowed them to design and duplicate locations for the film. Thomas' group was actually allowed to document and duplicate all the signage, name plates and various other items, right down to the old FBI movie posters in the cafeteria.

"The sets are dead on,” Ray proudly states of the design team's work. "Wynn Thomas can do it down and dirty, and he can do it big and beautiful; he has a sensibility that was dead on for this movie. It was exciting to see it all through Eric O'Neill's eyes. When Eric came to visit, when he walked the halls of the FBI and went into his office, he was amazed at how authentically it had been created.”

Thomas also worked very closely with cinematographer Tak Fujimoto and costume designer Luis Sequeria to make sure that the choices of color palette in lighting and clothing were in sync. "Billy was looking for someone who could nail the look of American studio movies from the '70s, and you can't do much better than Tak,” says Thomas, who likewise credits a team including set decorator Gordon Sim, construction coordinator Jim Halpenny and scenic artist Ian Delms.

To recreate Hanssen's 2001 arrest on Fairway Drive in Vienna, Virginia, close to the agent's home on Talisman Drive, Ray insisted the scene be filmed at the location of the actual arrest. "That was something I fought hard for,” the director notes. "It took a bit of arm twisting, because it's expensive to shoot anywhere around D.C., but I wasn't going to shoot that scene anywhere else.”

To assist the filmmakers in accurate recreation of the arrest, the FBI gave them an edited tape of the event so they could match it down to the last detail. Then,

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