THIS MEANS WAR
About The Production
It will come as no surprise that Pine and Hardy handled the high-octane spy
action and stunts with skill and daring. But THIS MEANS WAR audiences will see a
movie "first": Reese Witherspoon mixing it up with the boys in full throttle
action mode. Not only does she get to drive at excessive speeds on a military
racetrack in a drophead coupe, she flew on a swinging trapeze, and donned a mask
and firearm for an intense, ruthless game of paintball. "By the end of the
movie, Reese is at the center of the action," says McG.
Making FDR and Tuck believable as CIA agents was tasked to Paul Maurice, a
military advisor with extensive wartime experience, who serves as the film's CIA
technical advisor. Maurice worked closely with Pine and Hardy to give them a
high proficiency in weapons-handling and hand-to-hand combat.
Production designer Martin Laing and his team upped the spy-against-spy action
by devising gadgets utilized by FDR and Tuck as they wage war against one
another. Laing's team researched CIA weapons and surveillance techniques and
made them even more high tech and fantastic.
FDR's bachelor pad had to reflect his expensive and exotic tastes, so the
production found a converted penthouse apartment in Vancouver's Chinatown with a
swimming pool in the ceiling. The pool had a glass bottom, making the pool
visible from the downstairs dining room. When Laing showed the apartment to McG,
the director looked up and was astonished to see the pool - and a beautiful girl
in a bikini doing laps (which Laing had prearranged).
After principal photography had wrapped, McG and his teams went to work editing,
scoring, mixing and putting the finishing touches on the visual effects. Later
during this post-production period, they would show the picture to select
audiences to gauge reactions and fine-tune the picture. The screenings yielded
outstanding scores, which revealed that THIS MEANS WAR plays to men, women,
singles, and couples. This, and the ensuing positive word of mouth, led the
studio to pick an unexpected release date: Valentine's Day, which falls on
February 14 - a Tuesday. (Most films go out on a Friday, in time for the
weekend.) But for McG, the holiday release seemed perfect. "After all," he
points out, "everyone needs a little action on Valentine's Day!"
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