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"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 Bethlehem's headquarters."

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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