THE BOURNE LEGACY – Production Notes - I Watch Mike
Marta and Aaron get closer than either imagined. That scene in the frigid river was also of special concern to costume designer Shay Cunliffe, who returns to the Bourne series after having designed The Bourne Ultimatum. “Shooting in this kind of extremely cold climate becomes a double job for the costume department,” she says. “The costumers who took care of the actors on the set were responsible for their wellbeing, quite apart from the costume being maintained.” In freezing temperatures throughout the entire Alberta shoot, Cunliffe’s team had its work cut out. “They were carrying huge dive coats along with them, and because of the snowy locations, the costumers were actually dragging them in on sleds—extra blankets, extra coats,” she shares. In the film’s opening sequence, Cross is dressed like a speed climber, posing as one of the few brave souls who might be found alone in the Alaskan wilderness. “He’s in a brilliant red-orange jacket because climbers going solo know that they may not make it and they’ve got to be visible in case a helicopter needs to find them,” explains Cunliffe. “It’s the opposite of being undercover.” However, after Cross arrives at the appointed spot, a log cabin where another agent known as #3 is based, his Alaskan mission is brought to a violent end, one which he barely survives. The tables suddenly turned, Cross – 32 – is now the target of the most sophisticated technology and weaponry on Earth. He returns to the mainland U.S. to find Marta, one of his few contacts in the program who may not be out to kill him. Their journey of survival ultimately brings them to Southeast Asia, where the production would travel next. Unleashed in Southeast Asia: Racing Across the Philippines During preproduction, Gilroy and Crowley toured Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) in Vietnam, Jakarta in Indonesia, and Manila in the Philippines. Ultimately, Manila’s history as a shooting location won over the team. Major Hollywood features, such as Apocalypse Now, Platoon, Born on the Fourth of July and Brokedown Palace, were shot in the Philippines in the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s. “They had a 25-, 30-year run of making movies there,” says Gilroy, “and they have this huge infrastructure that was built up from all the films made about Vietnam.” The filmmakers called upon LOPE V. JUBAN, JR., president of Philippine Film Studios, who has worked on most of the films that have come to the Philippines over the past few decades, to give them a tour of Manila. Not only could Juban—who came on as a line producer— offer locations that Gilroy was looking for, but his contacts with government entities would also be vital for a shoot that involved major stunts on city streets. “Juban said, ‘We can talk to the president about that,’ or ‘We can talk to the minister of transportation and the police department about that.’ They’re all people that he knew,” Crowley explains. “I couldn’t have gotten that in Jakarta or in Ho Chi Minh City.” In fact, The Bourne Legacy would be the first Hollywood film in which Manila plays Manila. “The
Philippines has played almost any country—Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Panama,” says Juban. “It is only now that we are filming Manila as Manila, which is great for us.” It was important to the locals to show off the progress the country had made and their big new areas of development. The Philippines also offered the advantage of a mainly English-speaking local crew. English, the legacy of the American presence for 50 years before World War II, is widely spoken in the country. Filming in Manila began in the San Andres neighborhood, its ramshackle houses and dark alleyways typical of the city’s lower- and middle-class areas. The San Andres neighborhood has grown organically over the years as locals have kept constructing additions to existing buildings. The casual visitor will find many a residential area that resembles a rabbit-warren maze of alleyways that have been cobbled together. With its tangled web of utility lines and drying laundry overhead, and pleasant cooking smells merging with other odors of the city, the labyrinthine San Andres neighborhood is where Aaron and Marta find a place to hide from their pursuers: this time, the Philippine authorities. San Andres was also the setting for a stunt in which Aaron, to save Marta from capture after she is cornered by the police, makes a daring slide three stories down a narrow opening between two buildings. Because of very specific requirements, this set, a narrow three-story structure that the filmmakers called “the chasm,” had to be built by Thompson and his team. Explains the production designer: “We needed a stretch that was about 100 feet long, only 20 to 24 inches wide and three and – 33 – one-half stories high for the drop. ‘The chasm’ was the highlight for the art department because it incorporated so many things. It had to aesthetically work for Tony. It had to work for stunts to drop down. It had to work for the camera department to have the jib on, and the technocrane arm had to be able to fit inside. We had to manage all the dressing and the platforming around it. It was a complicated, multifaceted set to build.” Using the wall of an existing building, Thompson’s team built another wall next to it. Rather than employing scenic artists to “weather” the wall, the crew bought old siding from locals’ homes and installed new walls on their houses in return. The designer recalls: “We would often say, ‘We’ll redo the siding on your house or corrugated rooftop if we can have your old materials.’ Some San Andres locals also received new roofs when the team prepared for the filming of a major chase sequence. Much to many neighbors’ delight, approximately 50 roofs that were found to have holes or were otherwise deemed unsafe were replaced by the The Bourne Legacy crew. The production’s metro Manila locales also included the Ninoy Aquino International Airport; the historic Intramuros district, known for its Spanish Aaron and Marta refuse to go quietly.