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THE UNBORN

Visualizing Terror
"The more we do to you, the less you seem to believe we are doing it.” —Dr. Josef Mengele,

Auschwitz-Birkenau's "Angel of Death” On March 2, 2008, principal photography began in Chicago, the city where David Goyer first conceived of the script, as well as the location where Platinum Dunes shot The Amityville Horror in 2004.

Though the suspense thriller was originally set in Portland, The Unborn was relocated to Chicago, with production shooting its first few weeks at Barat College in the suburb of Lake Forest. Fuller explains the decision: "We made The Amityville Horror in Chicago and had an amazing crew and a great experience. We needed a city that was cold enough to snow in March, and Illinois also has a good tax rebate program. Everything lined up nicely there, as we also needed to shoot predominately in practical locations.”

The actor in the majority of The Unborn's scenes, Odette Yustman, proved to be quite a trouper as she went through production—especially when filming the key scene where Casey visits an ophthalmologist (played by C.S. LEE) after one of her eyes begins to change color. This was just one of many physically demanding scenes that tested her mettle.

"The eye doctor sequence was the craziest thing I have ever done as an actor,” reveals Yustman. "I have very sensitive eyes and was worried about wearing blue contacts. Once I realized I was going to be able to wear them, I thought everything was going to be easy…until I heard David talk about sticking a speculum in my eye. I didn't know what the hell that thing was, but it just sounded painful. He brought it to set one day and said, ‘It'd be really great if you could put this in your eye.' I replied, ‘What? Are you kidding me?'”

Goyer recalls filming his lead while she rested in a chair with her eyelid propped open. "Once I saw that Odette was game to do a lot of her own stunts, I wanted to make the scene really uncomfortable and get the audience really squeamish,” he laughs. "I think we ended up doing five takes, and she was a little mad at me that day.”

Another sequence that tested Yustman's resolve involved her being covered with hundreds of potato bugs, one of the many creatures that the dybbuk possesses in its attempt to crawl up the evolutionary chain. "When I was writing this script, I found a Jerusalem Cricket [potato bug] in my backyard,” Goyer recalls. "It looked really disgusting, and I decided I wanted to have hundreds of them crawling on Casey.”

His interest in featuring the insects as co-stars proved to also be a big challenge for other teammates in the production. A "bug wrangler” (JULES SYLVESTER) informed Goyer that potato bugs, much like cicadas, burrow in the ground and only come up at certain times of the year. The filmmakers hired entomology students to comb the desert to gather a few hundred bugs.

Goyer proved to his performers he was open to spirited method acting. "David had the great idea to throw a bunch of them on me right before the scene,” remembers Yustman. "I reluctantly agreed, and all I could think about was those bugs crawling up inside my clothes. They're feisty and bite! It was horrible, and I think it shows on screen because I was genuinely terrified.”

Yustman wasn't the only performer writhing about on set. After the dybbuk begins to grow in strength, it possesses wheelchair-bound Eli Walker (played by MICHAEL SASSONE), who chases Sofi along the stairs at the nursing home. To pull off the chilling sequence, the production enlisted the help of a contortionist (MARK STEGER) and top-notch special and visual effects artists.

"Eli is one of the scarier characters in the entire movie and comes out of nowhere,” says Form. "Casey goes to visit S

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