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WILD HOGS

The Hogs Hit The Road
Once the actors were ready to ride, the entire cast, crew and hundreds of Harleys were shipped off to New Mexico, the famed Land of Enchantment, where WILD HOGS would be shot entirely on location. Albuquerque was used to double for the Hogs' hometown of Cincinnati, while New Mexico's scenic mountains and forests were able to stand in for areas throughout the entire United States.

But as "enchanted” as New Mexico might be, it wasn't all bliss, especially when it came to the state's notoriously mercurial weather. "Since this was essentially a road picture, we were out in the elements for three months,” notes Walt Becker. "Along the way, we dealt with dust storms, mini-cyclones and rains of biblical flood proportions. At times, it felt like we were shooting ‘Lawrence of Arabia,' with the temperature frequently over 100 degrees and the 40- mile-an-hour winds which came up each afternoon. I take my hat off to all the cast and our crew who suffered right along with me.”

While much of the film was shot on the open road, there were also a number of key interiors, starting with the Hogs' cozy homes in Cincinnati, and especially when the Hogs roll into the dusty Western town that has been overrun by the Del Fuegos. To help forge the story's visual atmosphere, Walt Becker tapped the creativity of production designer Michael Corenblith, a two-time Academy Award® nominee for "How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and "Apollo 13.”

Corenblith brought his imagination to the task by forging highly contrasting worlds for the suburbanite Hogs and the bad-to-the-bone Del Fuegos. "Michael created such a sense of realism on which to pin our comedic story,” sums up Becker. "His sets never ceased to amaze me.”

For Corenblith, the project promised to be too much fun to resist. "I loved the idea of mixing elements of a kind of ‘Easy Rider' motorcycle movie with a Western feeling. And I was also drawn to the challenge of visually depicting a journey of thousands of miles, while shooting entirely in one state,” he says.

Key to Corenblith's vision for the film's design was subtly revealing how the characters are being transformed as their cross-country trip ensues. "The palette goes from muted in the beginning to very vivid and alive,” he explains. "We begin with fairly bland, institutional colors in Doug's office and hospital room, and that develops into the cacophony of color in the Madrid Chili Festival at night.”

He continues: "The contrast between the two worlds was also expressed in the creation of two biker bars. The first, the Hogs' hang-out in Cincinnati called Byker's Island, was intended to be the typical suburban idea of a biker bar: cool choppers on display, a distinctive logo and the usual assortment of merchandise for sale. It was more about the T-shirts than the beer. The Del Fuegos' bar is the opposite of the Cincinnati experience and is a ‘real' biker bar. It's more like a clubhouse, most about celebrating their customers and the beverages to be found.”

The Del Fuegos' bar set was created on historic Bonanza Creek Ranch, which has been seen in dozens of Western-themed films, including "The Lone Ranger,” "Silverado,” "Young Guns,” "Wyatt Earp” and "Lonesome Dove,” among others. "I knew Walt was interested in iconic imagery, so I pitched a ‘Wild West saloon meets Route 66' kind of architectural hybrid, complete with double-swinging doors for the Hogs' entrance,” Corenblith explains.

The core of the shooting took place in Madrid (spelled like the capital of Spain, but pronounced Made-Rid)—once a booming mining village in the 1800s, then an abandoned ghost town, and today an artists' colony replete with charming shops and galleries—which stands in for the town where the Del Fuegos hold sway.

"We wanted the town to feel real, which meant neither too cute an

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