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THE PERFECT STORM

About The Locations

Filming began in Los Angeles in the summer and moved in the fall to Gloucester, Massachusetts, where the events described in Junger's book actually took place.

It was in Gloucester that the greatest potential pitfall presented itself. There was the grim possibility that life would imitate art in the most destructive way.

Cast and crew arrived in the historical New England seaport while Hurricane Floyd was still gathering force in the Caribbean. During the film's first week of location shooting, the news services carried stories that the state of Florida was preparing for the biggest emergency evacuation in history. By the time Floyd had moved up the East Coast, mercifully bypassing Florida and Georgia, 2.6 million people had been relocated. At one point, the hurricane was the size of the state of Texas, with winds up to 155 miles per hour (249 kph). It hit the Carolinas with a vengeance and was due to continue up the coast, possibly as far as New England, that night.

"We were watching it closely and, obviously, were very nervous that it might hit Gloucester," said producer Katz. "Of course, we were aware of the irony of a huge hurricane wreaking havoc on a movie about a huge hurricane. But we stood to lose our boats, our sets and two docks that we'd restored for filming. The people in town were making preparations to secure buildings, close streets and provide emergency shelters. "

The path of a storm is completely unpredictable. Floyd lost steam as it moved north along the inland Carolinas and by the time it hit New York that same night, it had been downgraded to a tropical storm. The danger had passed and, in its place, was an opportunity the filmmakers hadn't counted on.

"The day after the heaviest part of the storm, the waves were still 10- to 15- feet high and we decided to take out the Andrea Gail and shoot some second-unit footage," says Katz. "We had real fishermen out there manning the boat and even they were having a rough time of it. Needless to say, some of our crew on the camera boat got a little sick as well. But the next day, we took the Hannah Boden out, with Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio in the wheelhouse to shoot some of her scenes. It was still rough, although not as bad as the previous day, and we got some terrific footage. So, in about 48 hours, Hurricane Floyd went from being our greatest fear to becoming one of our greatest assets. You can't buy those kinds of special effects."

The enormous support and hospitality shown by the town of Gloucester proved a great asset to the production. The local harbor patrol controlled boat traffic and the city provided police to manage vehicular and pedestrian traffic. Still, the sight of the film's stars was a phenomenon that drew crowds, caused congestion and set the town buzzing. Sightings of George Clooney in particular were grist for breakfast conversation in every seaside coffee shop.

"It got to the point where every time you looked up, there was another seagull flying by, calling ‘George, George,'" jokes Wahlberg. "They were all doing it."

"The people in Gloucester were really great," Clooney notes. "I grew up in a small town and when a movie came to my hometown, it was really exciting. It was just a completely different world than we'd ever seen. So, I totally understood the reaction of the people in Gloucester when our film came, with its trucks and trailers, and sort of took over the town for<

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