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ANGELS & DEMONS

Filming In Rome
Production began in Rome, where, for a month, Angels & Demons filmed in such famous sites as Piazza del Popolo, Piazza Navona, Castel St. Angelo, outside the beautiful, Baroque Santa Susanna church and the city streets of Rome themselves. Everywhere the production filmed, they were always encouraged by hundreds of enthusiastic, curious tourists and locals.

From the works of Raphael, Michelangelo and Bernini to the obelisks piercing the sky in the many piazzas to the statues pointing the way towards hidden secrets, clues from Dan Brown's books were everywhere. They were impossible to ignore – as were the throngs of tourists, who, of course, had traveled to Rome to enjoy the city's renowned art and sites but soon added the Angels & Demons film production to their vacation tour schedule. Just as The Da Vinci Code created a cottage industry of tours relating to the book's setting in France, Angels & Demons has done the same for Rome, with flocks of tourists taking guided tours covering the Path of Illumination. A "simple” shot of Hanks and Zurer walking across the Piazza Della Rotonda in front of the Pantheon attracted hundreds of onlookers who often had their backs to the ancient Roman temple, standing shoulder to shoulder on its portico, just to watch and photograph the filming. The atmosphere was often festive and hurried, and at one point a wedding party appeared in the square as the crew was setting up for another shot. It turned out the bride and groom had an appointment to be wed near the Pantheon location where Angels & Demons was to film. Chivalrously, Tom Hanks helped the bride and her father navigate their way to the Pantheon, through the equipment, lights and cameras. 

As it turned out, this rather frenetic, crowded ambiance suited cinematographer Salvatore Totino. "All the tourists in Rome provided a bit of fun pandemonium and in a way that worked well with our approach. Ron and I talked about giving the film a sense of urgency – there's a bomb that is going to go off in the Vatican if they don't stop it, so the goal was to convey that high-stakes deadline cinematically by capturing the consequences of the human and historical toll. We wanted to keep the camera moving so we used longer lenses, with emphasis on the Steadicam, the slider and dolly work,” Totino says.

One of Totino and gaffer Rafael E. Sanchez's biggest challenges in Rome happened at Castel Sant'Angelo. Built by Emperor Hadrian in 128 AD as his own tomb, Castel Sant'Angelo has been a prison, fortress and papal residence. The bridge leading to the Castel boasts a phalanx of angel statues, as is typical in Rome, but the for the night work on Angels & Demons, each one received its own special lighting set up. Sanchez and crew treated the Castel to its own spectacular up-lighting. 

Totino says that Sanchez's suggestion to uplight the Castel greatly helped the production, which had a lot to get done in only two nights.

"Castel Sant'Angelo took a lot of effort and was kind of pieced together because of the extreme limitations in terms of what we were allowed to do and the limited rigging time that we had there. When we first scouted, Rafi suggested architectural lighting, which was a great approach for it and helped us. In other words, we made lighting a little bit more conscious there, as opposed to lighting it piece by piece. By doing that, it helped us remain more contained there. The nights were short and we had one night at the bridge and the entrance and one night in the interior. We had to get in and out, so that kind of lighting absolutely helped,” Totino says.

The exterior night work at the Castel Sant'Angelo included buzzing helicopters with searchlights and a cadre of police in an array of vehicles, their lights blazing, sirens blaring. While this may have been entertaining for the inevitable hordes of<

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