MONTREAL – It’s not everyday that you get to visit the White House…in Canada.
Some of the film’s other stars — including Maggie Gyllenhaal, Richard Jenkins and Jason Clarke — weren’t on set when we visited.
Emmerich, production designer Kurt Petruccelli and their ace crew of designers, builder and artists had help from the White House Historical Society, but much of the film’s design was based on primary sources, old photographs and some simple guess work. Furniture was shipped in from allover the world (“Ebay is our friend,” Petruccelli explained) and the myriad paintings on the grounds (in addition to those famous presidential portraits, the White House is home to works by Pollock, Rothko and others) were forged specifically for the film. Sadly, all the fakes were destroyed after production wrapped.
“A lot of the movie relies upon the geography [of the White House],” explained Vanderbilt, “and using it to its fullest extent and all the bells and whistles and nooks and crannies and the fact that there’s a greenhouse on the third floor.”
“We’re very careful about every little tiny detail because you have to believe the majesty and power of the White House,” Woods added. “It has to be a monumentally overwhelming place.”
Likewise, the film’s replica of “The Beast” — the president’s souped-up, fully armored limo — was based on estimations. For the film, they built three “Beasts” in just ten weeks, with plans to sink one in the pool, smash one up with the terrorists’ SUVs and suspend one in mid-air during a particularly intense battle scene.
Here’s a shot of ‘The Beast’ after it has crashed into the pool:
Go to page two to read about the film’s fast shooting schedule, Emmerich’s shooting style, the characters played by Woods and King, and more.
“We sold it Thursday, on Friday we got Roland, Sunday we sat down with Roland at her [Pascal’s] house and they green lit the movie,” Vanderbilt explained. “It was the fastest. That was four and a half months ago, and now it seems we’re on the south portico of the White House. My head is spinning.”
And, as expected, there will be plenty of action in the film. “It’s [got] everything from hand to hand stuff to a lot of gunfire to vehicular mayhem in many forms.” He calls it his “everything and the kitchen sink’ moment [in that genre].”
Speaking of kitchens, we were shown the set’s intricate replica of one of the White House’s many kitchens, and it was revealed that Tatum will throw down with some baddies in that setting.
However, the reason for the film’s terrorist attack will only be discovered when “WHD” hits theaters.
While Emily isn’t a main character, she does get in on the action in the film. “I do take a little bit of a part in the crazy action scenes,” King announced with notable eagerness. “I’m really excited. We haven’t shot them yet but I can’t wait to.”
Emmerich seems to be a popular guy among the film’s cast. Woods said he and the director will “be friends for life,” while Tatum admired his work ethic. “He uses that feeling of fun,” the actor said . “You see some directors who are stressed out [on the set], but he’s just having fun”
“We’re putting on a show,” he reasoned. We’re not curing cancer.”
Read more about Tatum’s role in the film, his aspirations as a filmmaker, and more here.
“White House Down” opens June 28.