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On The Cruise
In the film, the Sadelsteins go on a family vacation during the holidays every year; this year, they've booked a cruise on Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas, the largest cruise ship in the world. "We were lucky enough to have the timing of our movie coincide with the launching of the ship,” says Dugan. "They were building the ship in Norway while we were prepping the movie. We contacted them and they were very happy to do business with us. We sent a couple of electricians over to Norway to lay the cables and figure out all of our electrical hookups, so when the ship got here we'd be ready to go. We met them in Florida, and during their trial runs, when they were still getting ready for the paying passengers, we were able to shoot on the ship for 10 days.”

"It is truly a five-star hotel floating on the water,” says production designer Perry Andelin Blake. "We had the opportunity to film in the coolest parts of the ship. At the bow of the ship, we made a restaurant. The biggest challenge was to decorate the ship for Christmas – the ship is 1,000 feet long, and in some shots, you can see 500 feet and two pools and three or four levels. Of course, we had to have holiday decorations on the whole thing. We bought truckloads of decorations at a store in Fort Lauderdale – 1500 feet of garland with sparkly lights, seven Christmas trees from 8 to 16 feet tall, 15 toy soldiers, 10 toy kings… it was just incredible.”

"We knew ahead of time that working on a cruise ship can be confining; the spaces are smaller,” says the director of photography, Dean Cundey. "When you think about it that way, you realize why cruise ship scenes in movies are classically shot on sound stages.” Cundey explains that there were two reasons that the production was able to use the real thing: "First, The Allure of the Seas is the largest cruise ship in the world, so the space issue isn't such an issue, and second, since this was not a public cruise, we'd essentially have the ship to ourselves.”

But while there were certain challenges to shooting on a cruise ship, there were also advantages. Dugan says, "I would say it wasn't any more difficult than any other location. In fact, it was interesting – as we were filming on the bow of the ship, as the day would go by the sun would move. Well, because they ship didn't have any paying customers and no real destination, we were able just to have them turn the ship, so the sun would stay the same all day for us. There's no location in the world where you can get that kind of accommodation with the sun.”

"The captain did one very long, slow turn – one degree every six minutes,” explains Cundey, "So the sun stayed in exactly the same spot with reference to the ship. Another day, we had a bit of overcast weather off the coast of Florida. But that was no problem – the captain just moved the ship.”

Such careful planning was necessary to make the illusion that Jack and Jill are actually separate people work, explains Dan DeLeeuw, the visual effects supervisor. "Jack and Jill jump rope, Double Dutch, with a crowd surrounding them,” he says. "You have the ocean behind them and the sun going down – and, obviously, we had to shoot it twice to get both sides. That was a challenge – to shoot a twin movie on the back of a ship while the sun was going down.”

That said, DeLeeuw was up to the challenge. After all, filming it all on a green screen just wouldn't have been the same. "The boat has an orange deck, so you've got a nice orange bounce that reflects off the actors. You've got the open sky blue skies – you just don't get that same kind of lighting in a green screen.”

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