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THE THOMAS CROWN AFFAIR

Creating The World of Thomas Crown
"In the original, Thomas Crown was supposed to be from a Boston Brahmin, old money background," notes McTiernan

"In the original, Thomas Crown was supposed to be from a Boston Brahmin, old money background," notes McTiernan. "We changed the character to a man who'd made money himself. He came from nowhere, got himself to Oxford on a boxing scholarship and took that pugnacity to just pushing further. Now, it's 20 years later, he's in his mid-forties, he's got a fortune and he's kicked the hell out of just about everybody he's come up against. Basically, he's out of challenges."

McTiernan found Crown's ideal territory amid the steel and concrete canyons of New York City. The corporate headquarters of Lucent Technologies, with panoramic views of the south harbor, Governor's Island, Staten Island and Brooklyn, stood in for Crown's suite of offices in Crown Towers. The entrance to Crown Towers was shot in an unoccupied office building near the Stock Exchange. Additional exterior filming was done throughout Manhattan's financial district.

Crown's Fifth Avenue mansion was not located on the Upper East Side but rather in a warehouse in Yonkers. McTiernan worked with production designer Bruno Rubeo to create just the right balance of nouveau aristocratic elegance and idiosyncratic art connoisseur that form the essence of the private man.

"It is not just a rich man's house," says Rubeo, an Oscar nominee for his work on Driving Miss Daisy. "He's a very eccentric guy with particular tastes and a particular lifestyle. You try to come up with the right mood of colors to create that idea. He also has a place in the Caribbean which had to be the opposite of his place in Manhattan because that represents a different side of his character. It's a creative process you go through with the director and John McTiernan is a very interesting director. He's at times mysterious but he comes up with very surprising, brilliant ideas like nothing I have ever experienced before."

The India Club at Hanover Square served for the outside of the National Arts Club where Crown arranges his first date with Catherine. The interior of the National Arts Club was filmed outside the city, in Purchase, New York, at Manhattanville College, a private liberal arts school.

Another important interior was the Pierre Ballroom where Catherine Banning's pursuit of Crown turns to seduction. These scenes were shot in a marble-walled building that housed the old library at Bronx College. The torrid dance sequence was choreographed by John Carrafa (At First Sight, The Last Days of Disco). The couples danced to the Latin rhythms of Chico O'Farrill's Afro-Cuban Orchestra. The tune for the big dance sequence may sound vaguely familiar to anyone who remembers the original The Thomas Crown Affair, as McTiernan selected it in affectionate tribute to the 1968 film's Oscar-winning theme song, "The Windmills of Your Mind."

Crown's athletic pursuits - golf, gliding and catamaran racing - were filmed in Westchester County and Connecticut. The catamaran race required Brosnan to take a few lessons in handling that kind of specialized rig.

The cast and crew then flew to the Caribbean Island of Martinique just before a Christmas hiatus to film the sequences in Crown's secret paradise. The French-speaking resort island presented its own unique set of challenges, including difficult-to-access locations and vacillating weather patterns.

The greatest challenge, however, lay in the creation of the scene of the crime. "You probably can't get permission to film

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