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SLEEPWALKING

About The Location
Sleepwalking's story is divided roughly into three sections, each of which takes place in a different environment. The first part of the film is set in James' hometown in Northern California; the second is the road trip James and Tara take as they flee the authorities and the third takes place on the Utah farm where James spent his childhood. The multiple locations combined with the production's shoestring budget and tight 29-day shooting schedule presented the filmmakers with some unique challenges.

To get the highest production values for their money, the filmmakers traveled to Regina in the Western Canadian province of Saskatchewan, north of Montana, to shoot the film. Once shooting began in October 2006, cast and crew braved sub-zero temperatures and more than one blizzard. "It was brutal,” says Maher of the shoot, adding that the filmmakers endured their share of ribbing from the hardy local crew for having come from sunny California.

Producer Rob Merilees recalls that the first day of shooting was the coldest, at minus 35 degrees with wind chill to boot. "Everybody was turning to me and going, ‘What a jerk! You brought us here. It's your fault,'” he laughs.

Making matters more difficult was the speed with which everyone had to work, given the tight schedule and the fact that some actors had very limited availability. Hopper had to cram two weeks' work into six day periods in order to meet another obligation; Harrelson did all his scenes in just two days.

Getting actors to fly to such a remote place to work for scale for such short periods was a further testament to their commitment to the project, Theron says. "When you have absolutely no money and you're dragging people all the way out into Regina, which is a place that nobody's ever heard of, it's asking a lot of somebody,” she says. "I think we realized how lucky we were to get the cast that we did.”

Challenges aside, both filmmakers and actors agree Saskatchewan's landscape helped establish the right mood and tone for the piece. "When we came here and started location scouting, it was unbelievable what we found,” says Theron. "So many of the locations felt like they were especially built for our story. We didn't have to compromise at all, especially when it came to the Reedy farm. We had seen so many farms, and when Bill and I saw it, we just lost it and were like two little kids jumping up and down.”

"I think Regina brings a very special quality to the film,” says AnnaSophia Robb. "When I first got to the farm, it was exactly how I had envisioned it when I read the story. It was cold and desolate, but it's also beautiful at the same time. You can look at it in two different ways, which relates to the characters as well.”

"The location's just great,” Hopper says. "I was born in Dodge City, Kansas, and I was raised on a wheat farm, so this is very much like the kind of country that I was raised in.”

Cinematographer Juan Ruiz Anchía says he got lucky with the weather, which ranged from extremes of cloudy, sunny, rainy and mostly snowy. That worked perfectly with the filmmakers' plan to have the movie progress from a more cheerful, colorful look in the beginning to a colder, greyer look in the final act to reflect the rising drama. "Somehow we started shooting the ending first and it was snowing, it was overcast and bad weather,” Anchía recalls. "And when we shot the beginning of the story at the end of the shoot, it was sunnier.”

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