THE GENERAL'S DAUGHTER
About The Production
Principal photography began in Savannah, Georgia on Wednesday, July 15, 1998
Principal photography began in Savannah, Georgia
on Wednesday, July 15, 1998.
The first lines of the script are expository description: palpable
heat. And where else to find such oppressive, hot, wet, thick
weather but the deep South. The filmmakers scouted Atlanta, Charleston
and even thought briefly of using the Presidio in San Francisco.
But when co-producer Stratton Leopold suggested his hometown of
Savannah, Neufeld and West were happy to oblige having admired
the city's beauty in a variety of films over the years.
"We wanted to film the exteriors in the southern states,"
says Leopold. "I immediately thought of my home town. As
coincidence would have it, there's a university there, Savannah
State, that has always impressed me as having a military look.
For as long as I can remember, everything about it -- the crenellated
roofs, the architecture -- spoke military to me. So I phoned friends
to ask them to send photos.
"The downtown area dates from the late 1700s and early 1800s.
Architectural structures like those in Savannah and the brick
streets would be extremely costly to build in Hollywood. The foliage,
the oak trees with the moss, the marshes, the rivers and the like
are virtually impossible to find in Los Angeles."
"The only reason I choose a location is the look," explains
West. "I decide whether the location is going to look good
on film and help me tell a story visually without having to explain
anything in dialogue. Savannah had the most varied and interesting
"This is an ominous, Southern gothic," he continues.
"The feeling is sinister and dark which includes the locations
and the weather. We're in an extremely strict, old fashioned world
of rules with a rigid code of conduct where all the characters
have something to hide. It's hot and steamy and sticky - all those
things together make for a brooding piece."
The crew began the shoot at the Myrtle Grove Plantation in Richmond
Hill which stood in for the General's house and then moved on
to shoot the formal entrance gates of the fictitious Fort MacCallum
at a historical site called Wormsloe. Other locations included
the Laurel Grove Cemetery; a popular local restaurant called the
Crab Shack and the Tybee Island Historical Society Lighthouse
on Tybee Island; the now-closed ocean side Sheraton Resort; East
Broad Elementary School; as well as several private homes and
one of the quaint downtown parks, Madison Square. The company
utilized the grounds of Savannah State University to represent
much of Fort MacCallum, repairing and repainting many of the building
facades, redesigning much of the landscape and essentially restoring
a portion of the beautiful campus. The Oatland Island Educational
Center was also used to represent Fort MacCallum.
Production designer Dennis Washington and director of photography
Peter Menzies, Jr. worked in concert with West to design the ominous
look of the film. Because the film takes place almost entirely
on an Army base, these craftsmen had to devise an interesting
presentation for the story.
"Most movies that take place on an Army base are so boring,
I can't stand it," says Washington. "I was so happy
that Simon wanted to give ours a historic sense and try to create
a kind of fort that had a rich, traditional quality -- one that
gives a sense of power. We had to create everything ourselves,
manufacture a historic base with modern facilities built around
it. We used every excuse we could to use the old southern archite
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