Shooting goes smoothly for 'Hereafter'

Shooting a major feature around the world is something like mounting a military campaign, with location managers coordinating the action on several fronts.

Clint Eastwood’s “Hereafter” centers on three individuals, each of whom is uniquely touched by death. It follows their separate lives in Maui, Paris, Switzerland, San Francisco and London — until they finally intersect at the end.

Rob Lorenz, Eastwood’s longtime producer, started anticipating the need to pull together all the shooting locations even as he was working on the helmer’s earlier “Invictus” in South Africa. In April 2009, on the way back from that production, he and Eastwood stopped in London to scout for the next project.

“I was lucky to get him there early and pick out spots over a year before we started shooting,” said Lorenz.

London-based location manager Martin Joy took them on a tour of the city’s rough public housing projects. They picked a semi-abandoned complex just south of the Thames for scenes in which a working class English boy from a troubled family confronts mortality.

In France, Lorenz worked with location manager Antonin Depardieu. They traveled to the French Alps to find a location to double for the Swiss hospice where near-death experiences are studied, and got lucky when the owner of the hotel where they stayed suggested they take look at a nearby apartment complex for skiers.

Maui locations were harder to find because they required a place replicating a storyboarded tsunami sequence where waters rush up a street from the ocean. Eventually, with help from local location manager Mark Moquin, Lorenz settled on the town of Lahaina. (The tsunami effects were added later in CGI.)

At first some local merchants opposed the shoot, but Maui film commissioner Benita Brazier persuaded them that it would be minimally disruptive.

“(Production manager) Tim Moore told us ‘I’m not going to come in like some big Hollywood guy, shut everything down and then walk away,” said Moquin. “He gave us his word, and kept it.”

Rounding out the locations team was Patrick Mignano, who managed location work in San Francisco, home of film’s linchpin character, the reluctant psychic played by Matt Damon.

Accident prone?

Location shooting doesn’t always go as smoothly as it did on “Hereafter.”

In September, during the filming of Michael Bay’s “Transformers 3,” extra Gabriella Cedillo was severely injured in Hammond, Ind., during a stunt-driving scene — struck in the head by a tow cable that somehow snapped and smashed through her car’s windshield. Filming was postponed after the incident.

Then, on Wednesday, in a life-follows-art incident, as “T3″ was shooting on location in Washington, D.C., a police car — sirens blaring and responding to a bomb scare — accidently broke through the production’s perimeter and collided with the film’s “Bumblebee” character, a yellow Chevy Camaro, during the filming of a car-chase scene.

According to local news reports the officer driving the police vehicle was unaware the shoot was taking place. Production was suspended, but resumed the following day, said Washington, D.C., film office communications director Josh Friedman. “We took the incident seriously, but it didn’t have any long-term implications.”

It remains to be seen whether the real-life crash, caught on camera, will be incorporated into the film.

Bookings & Signings

Paradigm has signed d.p.’s Christian Sprenger (“Eagleheart”), John Lindley (“Legion”) and Crescenzo Notarile (The Ghost Whisperer”).

Montana Artists signings: d.p.’s Pietro Züercher (“Sinestesia”) and Joe Collins (“Ugly Betty”), costume designer Trayce Field (“Kaboom”) and editor Jon Schwartz (“Modern Family”). Agency’s bookings include line producers Tom Luse on Marcus Dunstan’s “The Collector” and Bill Johnson on Baltasar Kormakur’s “Contraband”; UPM’s Paul Cajero on FX’s “Justified” and Darren Demetre on Craig Gillespie’s “Fright Night”; stunt coordinator Charlie Croughwell on Ang Lee’s “Life of Pi”; and 1st AD’s Jesse Nye on Michael Burke’s “Right Angle” and Chad Rosen on Hany Abu-Assad’s “The Courier.”

Innovative Artists bookings: production designers Craig Stearns on an untitled Josh Berman drama for Lifetime and Ed Verreaux on Rian Johnson’s “Looper”; editors Paul Hirsch on Brad Bird’s “Mission Impossible 4,” Toby Yates on Carl Franklin’s “Bless Me, Ultima” and Annette Davey on Ryan O’Nan’s “Brooklyn Brothers Beat the Best”; costume designers Kate Healey on AMC’s “The Killing,” Molly Maginnis on Lawrence Kasdan’s “Darlin’ Companion” and Rachel Sage Kunin on Fox’s “The Good Guys”; and stunt coordinator: Markos Rounthwaite on Brian Taylor & Mark Neveldine’s “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance.”

IA d.p.’s booked: Ji Yong Kim on Ji-Woon Kim’s “Last Stand,” Doug Emmett on Whit Stillman’s “Damsels in Distress,” John Newby and Michael Negrin on NBC’s “The Cape,” Paula Huidobro on Carl Franklin’s “Bless Me, Ultima,” Doug Chamberlain on Kat Coiro’s “BFF&Baby,” Nicola Marsh on Jesse Wolf’s “Eye of the Hurricane” and Tobias Datum on Michael Burke’s “Right Angle.”

peter.caranicas@variety.com

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