"The Postman," portraying as it does a transformed world
in a throwback state, needed an environment in which huge panoramas
could be seen that didn't reveal any indications of contemporary
America's presence. Production designer Ida Random worked closely
with the filmmakers and location crew to determine the overall
post-apocalyptic look of the movie.
The ultimate choice was to film outdoors in a series of unusual
and remote locations in the Southwest and Pacific Northwest. These
extended from within 50 miles of the Mexican border to only 12
miles south of Canada, and included an open mining pit, which
was one of the largest movie sets ever dressed, as well as deserts,
forests and a working dam.
One of the most spectacular of the film's sets was the Boundary
Dam, a working powerhouse in Metaline Falls, Washington. Even
though the dam supplies half of Seattle's power, production designer
Random was able to build a town called Bridge City on the massive
face of the dam.
Random recalls the difficulties in working at this location. "We
had to do drawings for the Tower (which was another set, located
at the top of the dam) and the buildings we wanted to construct.
They went to engineers who could tell us if and how we could do
it structurally. After we got their approval, the dam's staff
warned us about the open spill gates, which pour off torrents
of overflow from the dam and can sweep you away in a second. The
whole time we were building we had rubber suits on and water spilled
every day because the river was flooded."
Random and her crew also dressed a massive open pit mine in Tucson,
Arizona. According to Random, "It was huge -- maybe two miles
wide and 1200 feet deep. And we built an enormous camp there --
Bethlehem's camp. We also constructed a huge building there for
A rope bridge, swaying hundreds of feet above a roaring river,
was built in Bend, Oregon. Costner and his fellow actors were
required to perform several action scenes on the rickety-looking
structure, with the natural abyss yawning below -- a test of nerves
for even the strongest-minded.
Like the Academy Award-winning director's other films, "The
Postman" runs the gamut of emotions, including humor, action
and pathos. But no matter what the canvas is, Costner always believes
in the character-driven story.
Says Costner, "I think that films have to have a heartbeat.
If you're going to fight in a movie, you have to have something
to fight for. If you're going to kill somebody, there has to be
a reason why. If someone's going to have to die, it must hurt.
"I think movies, if they are going to be of a dramatic nature,
cannot be casual."
Warner Bros. Presents A Kevin Costner Film, A Tig Production:
Kevin Costner in "The Postman," starring Will Patton,
Larenz Tate, Olivia Williams, James Russo and Tom Petty. The music
is by James Newton Howard; the film is edited by Peter Boyle;
and the production designer is Ida Random. The director of photography
is Stephen Windon, A.C.S. The screenplay is by Eric Roth and Brian
Helgeland, based on the book by David Brin. "The Postman"
is produced by Jim Wilson, Steve Tisch and Kevin Costner, and
is directed by Kevin Costner. Distributed by Warner Bros., A Time
Warner Entertainment Company.
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