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DEEP RISING

About The Production
"Deep Rising" was shot in and around Vancouver, Canada, on an 85-day schedule

"Deep Rising" was shot in and around Vancouver, Canada, on an 85­day schedule. Much of the production was filmed at Versatile Shipyards, a historic ship assembly plant on the city's North Shore.

On site, crews worked to build several major sets, which included the engine room, the exterior of the Argonautica, the deck and below, plus two sets of hallways to be filled with water.

The mammoth undertaking was supervised by construction coordinator Craig Henderson. As he recalls, "I think the greatest challenge was the sheer size and weight of things. we couldn't just pick something up and move it ten feet. We had to bring in a piece of equipment to move it "

A crew of nearly 80 (metal fabricators, scenic carpenters, painters, riggers) worked full time at the shipyard, while another crew-equal to that size-worked at the Bridge Studios creating other sets.

Equipment on­site included a huge crane to lid the Saipan out of the ocean and into a massive water tank measuring 200 ft. x 200 ft. x 15 ft. The second­largest water tank ever built for a feature film, it took four giant Caterpillar excavators to generate the pounding waves required for the storm sequences.

"The film required a lot of steel," says Henderson. "At one point in time, we had about one million dollars worth of scaffolding on­site. We used truckloads of plywood and 855 cement lock blocks. We had so much concrete, we could have built our own interchanged

And, adds Sommers, "We basically built, piece­by­piece, an entire cruise ship. Real cruise ships, though, are solid metal. They're too cramped for our purposes, and it's impossible to film inside them. I wanted to make sure we could move the camera a lot-360 degrees up, down, sideways-and so we built our sets to meet the demands of our camera shots."

Writer/director Stephen Sommers remembers much of the production with "everyone up to their waists in water, mud, smoke and muck." After enduring weeks of seafaring scenes, Sommers and company were delighted to get on dry land to shoot inside the atrium lobby of the cruise ship designed by Holger Gross, who relished the opportunity to create a '90s version of a luxury liner.

His design resulted in an Asian­themed atrium, built on three levels, featuring a pagoda and a miniature Great Wall of China. His work provided a spectacular backdrop to the opening party sequences, which featured hundreds of extras and a circus of performers, including fire­breathers, jugglers, magicians, acrobats and Kendo sword fighters.

In addition to the ship's design, Gross was responsible for the design of seven other major sets which involved massive construction. To ensure accuracy, Gross toured large ships, paying particular attention to the layout of their engine rooms.

"It is not one room with an engine," he explains. "It's more like half the ship's length and up to seven stories high." The challenge facing him was to provide spaces for the tentacled sea monsters to invade-and also to create "buckling" walls which would achieve the effect of having the creatures appear to be inside the walls, undulating up and down, preparing to seize their helpless human targets.

Some of the exterior sequences were shot by a second unit on rough seas outside the city of Tofino on the rugged coast of Vancouver Island. The crew was headed by Dean Cundey who, as a director of photography, numbers among his credits "Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

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