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UNTRACEABLE

On The Set
For actor Billy Burke, who recently starred in director Gregory Hoblit's Fracture, Untraceable was a second chance to work with a filmmaker whose on-set approach he greatly respects. "In my estimation, Greg does exactly what the director of a film should do. He knows what he wants very specifically, so he hires the right people, lets them do their jobs and tweaks them just enough to get what he wants.” 

Even with decades of experience behind him, Hoblit's enthusiasm for his craft is evident. "It's fun to find a piece of material that lights you up, that you get an idea about, as you're reading it,” he says. "I was shooting this as I was reading it. I knew what it could look, taste, sound, feel, smell like.” 

Untraceable, according to Burke, is the definition of an adult thriller, which made it a perfect project for Hoblit. "What Greg does very well is make smart movies, and he doesn't condescend to the audience. He makes films for people who really pay attention and don't need their information spoon fed to them.” 

Actor Colin Hanks also sings Hoblit's praises. "With Greg you're dealing with someone who has been behind the camera for more than 20 years now and has a lot to show for it, both in film and television. He knows what he wants, and he knows when he's got it. In what to me would seem like a fleeting moment, or a take that wasn't that good, he can see the one bit that he needs.” 

To make sure he gets it, Hoblit tends to work with the same core group of production crew members on each of his movies. "It avoids the process of convincing people of your vision, the way you want it to look and sound and feel,” says the veteran director. "Bringing in people I know will support that vision makes my job easier. Part of the process for me is casting the whole movie, whether it's the actors or the crew, getting everybody going in the same direction, understanding the overall game plan and goal, and then getting out of the way.” 

Hanks concurs: "When you work with the same group of people on multiple occasions, you end up sort of being able to have your own language and to communicate thoughts without speaking. This crew is very much like that. It's a well-oiled machine. As an outsider coming in, at first it's a little intimidating. But, once you get in there, it helps tremendously.”

Production designer Paul Eads is one of those crew members who Hoblit has called on for numerous projects. "Greg is someone who is really very interested in telling the story in as visual a way as possible,” says Eads. "He really responds well to architecture and he likes to come up with interesting ways to move the camera through a space, as do I. So we look for locations that will resonate with the story and that will support it in terms of coloring and the tonality.” 

Although Untraceable was originally set in Baltimore, the filmmakers wanted to explore the possibility of using Portland, Oregon instead. Eads had never been to Portland before scouting for this film but the natural beauty of the city convinced him and Hoblit it was the right setting for the story. "We were beginning our scouting in the late fall and winter in Portland, and quickly realized how appropriate to the story the city was going to be,” says Eads. "It provided a very gray, very drizzly palette for the movie, which we liked.”

"Paul Eads showed me all these pictures of bridges that were wonderful” says Hoblit. "We went to Tom Rosenberg and said why don't we just shoot Portland for Portland? There is indeed a cyber crime unit up there, so why don't we make it easier on ourselves and do this?” 

Adds producer Hawk Koch: "It's worked out really well. They've been fantastic up here.”

With the setting changed to Portland, location manager Jennifer Dunne was tasked with incorporating some of the city's most recognizable locations t

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