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About The Production
Rife with suspense and rich with disquieting atmosphere, MIRRORS is fortified by an evocative production design that portends the horrific journey that awaits Ben Carson and his family.

MIRRORS was filmed almost entirely in Bucharest, Romania, with the exception of key exteriors, which were shot in New York. Bucharest was selected by the filmmakers because of its formidable Academy of Sciences building, a massive structure commissioned by oppressive Communist leader Nikolae Ceausescu, which was left unfinished following his death in 1989.

Writer-director Alexandre Aja envisioned the Academy as the setting for the ominous, fire-ravaged Mayflower department store. "This building is so phenomenal, it could not be recreated on a stage,” says Aja, who had visited the location several years ago while scouting for another film. "The atmosphere here is so filled with fear and tension, we knew we could capture something really unique.”

"Ceausescu frightened and traumatized more people than we'll probably scare with this movie,” notes producer Alexandra Milchan. "You can feel the tension in this building. It still has his imprints on it.”

While the site easily lent its imposing scale and sinister history to the creation of the Mayflower set, production designer Joseph Nemec III ("The Hills Have Eyes,” "T2: Judgment Day”) and his art department faced major challenges in transforming 20,000 square feet of raw institutional architecture into the ruined opulence of a world-class department store.

From the grand staircase to the display cases, every aspect of the sprawling floor plan had to be designed, sculpted, fabricated and dressed in a mere 12 weeks – on the 6th floor of the abandoned Academy, which has no elevators.

This process included fire-torching every inch of the store that the fictitious blaze would have devoured. Two teams of torchers burned everything from walls, floors, furniture and draperies to a full compliment of the store's "stock” – including clothing, watches, jewelry, housewares and cosmetics.

Particular attention was paid to the posing and decomposing of the mannequins, as a way of evoking the Mayflower's former vitality and stature, as well as representing the evil that lurks within the store. "The mannequins give you a sense that there is some life left in this burned-out place,” Nemec explains. "We dressed them and put them in very lifelike positions, and then tried to burn and distress them in a way that underscores the tragedy of the lives that have been trapped behind the mirrors. One we called our David, because he held a very regal pose despite all the fabric around him being burned away. Another was called Freckles, because we torched its coating until it bubbled up, which symbolizes the emotions inside completely burning out.”

The strategic burning of the set was followed by a thorough dousing, courtesy of the "water team.” Painters then added layers of water "staining” to achieve the authentic look of a scorched structure that has been left to ruin by rain and neglect for five years. Additionally, wood shavings were burned and then blanketed throughout the set, creating a thick carpet of soot. The results were disturbingly realistic, both visually and aurally.

"There is a company in New York that supplies scents, everything from dirty socks to fresh roses,” says Nemec, who typically infuses his sets with aromas appropriate to each locale. "But in this case, I didn't need to use them because we created a ‘burnt building smell' ourselves!”

The dank, heavy odor and highly detailed authenticity of Nemec's rotted-out set brought a unique texture and intensity to the production, according to Aja. "Shooting for weeks in the broken glass and dust, with the smell of smoke and fire hanging in the air, created an atmosphere for the<


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