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Designing The World Of Jumper
For Doug Liman, establishing the complexity of JUMPER’s characters and the veracity of Jumping motion itself was just the start. Next, he would focus on creating a completely enveloping, trans-national world for JUMPER that would be at once based in reality yet filled with the fantastic possibilities of humans who can manipulate the space-time fabric to go anywhere, any time.

From the start, the filmmakers knew the production would be a major logistical challenge – since it literally jumps around the world. But Liman had done so before, with the globe-hopping espionage thriller The Bourne Identity, and knew that part of the key to making the story feel dynamically alive would be using authentic locations. Thus it was that the production itself leapt from Toronto to Rome, from Tokyo to New York, Mexico and Ann Arbor, with a second unit filming in London, Paris and Egypt.

“We went all over the world in order to make this movie feel and be real,” says Simon Kinberg. “What’s so great about the idea of being a teleporter is that you can go anywhere in the blink of an eye and we decided early on that it was important to have our characters interact in cities and places in the world that people recognize. We certainly created a lot of visual effects and computer-generated images to enhance the action, but the real magic of the film comes from the true locations.”

Kinberg also notes that these authentic locations will be seen in ways they haven’t been seen before. “We’re not doing the National Geographic or guidebook version of a world tour,” he points out. “This is a power version of the world tour – it’s about total wish fulfillment, about being 25 years-old and what you would do if you believed you had no limits or consequences.”

To create this real but dream-laden world, Liman surrounded himself with a crack team of technical artists to bring his fluid and ever-changing vision to life. He brought in cinematographer Barry Peterson, who’d brought a joyful kinetic quality to the action-comedy of Starsky & Hutch. Also, very early on, he began working closely with production designer Oliver Scholl, whose work has often been about bringing original worlds to life on screen. He recently served as the production designer on The Time Machine, was a conceptual designer on Stargate and did illustrations for Batman Forever.

Scholl couldn’t have been more excited than to tackle a project like JUMPER. “I’m a total science fiction fan, so being asked to do a movie about teleportation was a gift, because the possibilities are endless,” says Scholl. “I thought to myself, I’m going to have a lot of fun.”

Although Scholl would be working in many amazing historical locations, he also would have to replicate those same locations on soundstage sets, in order to play with their physics to accommodate the Jumpers. “For example, we needed to use a lot of foam walls to rig the stunts, but obviously you can’t do that in a place like the Colloseum!” he notes. “So a lot of the initial work was determining what locations we would go to and what we would have to build.”

The scenes in the Colosseum were originally written to take place in the Pantheon and it was Scholl’s idea to move them into the 2,000 year-old, iconic amphitheatre in the center of Rome that once housed the gory spectacle of gladiator battles with hungry lions. The notion of this building where the memory of sweat, blood and fear is still embedded in the very walls appealed to everyone’s vision for the film – but it seemed like a pipe dream. Everyone knew the Italian government hadn’t opened the doors of the precious monument to any motion picture crews, l


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