Monday, April 03, 2006

Is new movie a double of "Jaws"?

While filming a Hollywood movie with a multi-million budget requires meticulous planning, unknowns loom around every corner.

Filmmakers are at the mercy of many elements -- most notably the weather, according to Ernie Malik, unit publicist for "We Are Marshall."

"You just hope that Mother Nature is a movie fan and helps you out," he said.

Malik said spring's ever-changing appearance represents another challenge, especially considering that production of the Warner Bros. Pictures' film begins Monday in Huntington and continues into mid-April. A movie buff with nearly three decades in the film business, Malik points to the 1975 Steven Spielberg classic "Jaws" as an example.

He said to closely examine the scenes toward the end as the killer great white shark is being hunted by the three men in the fishing boat. The close-ups and long-range shots simultaneously reveal completely different atmospheric conditions.

Such are the challenges of filming a major motion picture, which also represents challenges for local residents, including closed streets.

John Hankins, who owns the Fredrick Building in the 900 block of 4th Avenue, said any temporary inconvenience is worth the overall benefit.

"This is going to be wonderful publicity for the city of Huntington," Hankins said of "We Are Marshall."

Malik predicts that the movie's director, McG, who perhaps is best known for directing the film version of the cult TV series "Charlie's Angels," will be an anchor during the uncertainties of production.

"We have a great leader in this movie with McG," Malik said. "This guy's boundless enthusiasm is refreshing and something you don't see a lot.

"The tempo of the movie is directed by the director."

And if you think you have a long-distance work commute, consider this: Matthew Fox, star of the ABC hit TV series "Lost" will be splitting his time between Huntington and Hawaii as he wraps up production on the current season of the show.

"The sheer distance won't allow him to be here (for a Saturday news conference at the Keith-Albee)," Malik said, adding that Fox is scheduled to arrive in Huntington sometime this weekend. "Then he goes back later for more filming on 'Lost.' "

Malik said additional challenges include finding period cars, replicating period hairstyles and closely scrutinizing how Huntington physically has changed in more than three and a half decades.
"One thing we have to take into consideration is, 'How has the skyline changed? How has the look of Huntington changed in the last 36 years? How does the production deal with that?' " Malik said. "(McG) wants you to be enmeshed in 1970."


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