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Equilibrium Commentary
Kurt Wimmer &
Lucas Foster

14. Incineration

Transcription by JenGe

Kurt - This ah...that was the second shot of the day... (Lucas laughs)...on the first day.   Also a very difficult, relatively difficult...not incredibly difficult but it's a boom down with a focus pull and maybe a bit of a zoom on it too...a zoom out.  And ah...so that was the second thing that Dion had to perform. 
Yeah, I did a good job on that scene in the first scene with Christian in not showing that window too much but you know...I was too tired to try (Lucas laughs) after that. (Kurt laughs)
Lucas - Yeah.
Truth be told it drove Sue more crazy than it drove me but it was just one of those things were I went, "Oh, boy.  I gotta have a secret bank account for that...those shots."
Kurt - Sue was the co-producer and she also line produced the film and she was sort of in charge of the money in stretching the dollars. And she was very good at it.
Lucas - This ah...the background...the lighting in this scene actually is one of the few things that I sort of regret in the film.  It's ah...it's kind of one of those things that is sort of like stylistic but it's not based on...
Kurt - Right, it's not motivated by anything.
Lucas - ...it's not motivated.
Kurt - ...and you know this is where...one of those things where Dion & I both let it slip.  You know, we said to each other let's differentiate this scene somehow and so you know we came up with this concept but it's unmotivated by anything.  Now it's okay at the end of the day because no one notices it but obviously we noticed it and we continue to notice it.  It's just not perfect and that's the problem with it.  But live & learn.
Lucas - This set by the way which is all angles is a very tall set with lots of kind of trapezoids in it...
Kurt - ...chimney-like...
Lucas - ...was based on the Jewish Museum in Berlin that we went and saw, Kurt & I want to, and we were like "Wow! This is an amazing space."
Kurt - They had an incredible room which was a memorial to the victims of the Holocaust and it was an incredible room.  I mean because it wasn't a statue, and it wasn't a painting, or a mural.  It was just a room and you went into this room and the walls were very thick concrete.  It was extremely cold because the walls, they sucked up all the heat and it was extremely quiet.  I mean, it was like the grave, literally.  And it was a very, very, very tall room and that the top there was this little chunk of light and it was like a chimney, symbolic in that way.  But it was very effecting and very moving and we thought that we would base, not disrespectfully in any way of course, but we would base the design of this room on something akin to that. 
Lucas - They had a kind of symmetry to it, these interrogations going on in that room.
Kurt. - Yeah.
 These sort of extras of the day that have been immortalized forever.

Lucas - ...hum...
Kurt - I want to say again.  I said it before.  I'll say again, William Fichtner can act.
Lucas - He really was a gift.  We were so happy with him.  He's a lovely guy but I mean boy, when he just turned it on, he just dialed it right in and he was...he had so much gravitas.
Kurt - Yeah, he just wanted to do a great job and he was going to stop at nothing to do it.  And that was...
Lucas - He has humanity.
Kurt - He does.  Much like all the characters interestingly in this film, well particularly Christian, Emily, Sean Bean, and William, and they are the ones that are suppose to have the humanity obviously.
This is something we shot in the first day and did digitally. (Preston watching Mary on video)
Lucas - And this set, the exterior set that Christian is in is the bicycling arena again.
Kurt - That's right.  Just on the other side of that wall is the track...
 ... and Wolf said, "This can be this.  We'll just put this there."  And sure enough he was right.  The set ... and unfortunately it's not featured in there.  That arena, that dome had the most fabulous ceiling...
Lucas - ...the ceiling was amazing...
Kurt - ...and I have it in another small scene that I took out and I almost what to keep that scene in just to keep the ceiling in.  It was truly spectacular.  I mean it was...it was...
Lucas - It was like a metal latticework of like unbelievable intricacy.
Kurt - Right and it was a quarter millions dollars worth of production value just in that shot.
And this is Alexis Summer. (Video of Preston's Wife)
Lucas - That red costume that she has on, that also Emily wears at a certain point coming up here was so sumptuous.  This costume was unbelievable that Joe made.  It was like...I don't even know how to describe it.  It was like dragon skin.
Kurt - Yeah, it was.  It was an amazing  fabric.  Joe is a fabric junkie.  He loves this stuff.  I wonder where that costume is...
Lucas - So this is one of the money shots in this big room, this subway.
Kurt - You can see the train tracks are back where the back wall, the horizon where the back wall disappears.  Go ahead...
Lucas - And you can just see like the scale of it.  These tunnels which are down the hall from where we just were, that set that we just were in.  Which are basically unfinished train tunnels uh...you know, for the death walk.  We thought they were amazing and we put those lighting sconces in there, up above but basically it's...you know, the set came pre-built for us.
Kurt - Yeah, It's just a tunnel.
Lucas - How did those Germans know we were coming?
Kurt - I know.  It was very considerate of them.
Lucas - This long run, we made Christian...I think we were mad at Christian.  We made him run this tunnel about ten times.  (laughs) He was exhausted.
Kurt - Not to make this sound like it's a love fest for Christian but he's a great runner.  He's very athletic.  Which is surprising once you've seen Metroland.  He doesn't look very... or Metro...he didn't look very athletic in that at all.
Um, you know, what's funny...  I don't even know where it went.  I had a shot of the fire going out from over her shoulder and it's not in the film any more but we had this huge inferno going on in there and we had a stunt girl who had to stand in front of it.  And she could only stand in front of it for about a second and a half before she had to get the hell out of there.  And it was the same in the beginning when I burned the Mona Lisa.  Christian could only stand there in those flames for about as long as you see the shot and the next frame is him beating it the hell out of there.
Lucas - (Laughs)  By the way, you know, part of the movie magic here ...some of this stuff...this metal and concrete and what ever is augmented by some very fine pieces of plywood.  Like that door that she's behind would be way too heavy if it was made of metal.
Kurt - ...and sum (? Not sure)...
Lucas - ...and it's actually made of wood.
Kurt - Now, I'm sure Dimension won't mind me saying this but in the shooting script Emily is supposed to live.  She is suppose to sort of deus ex machina come back at the end and Lucas and I agreed that that was not true to the script.  Certainly true to a commercial ending but not true to the story and so I ... we were in Berlin and they were in New York, the studio.   And so I made a sort of command field decision and I didn't shoot her coming back in the end.
Lucas - The point was that she was...
Kurt - ...they made me get you for that.
Lucas - ...she was the catalist...
Kurt - ...to activate...
Lucas - ...to activate him.  It was not meant that they were going to have a romance that would go on into the future.  It was meant that she was the switch.  She threw the switch on  Preston along with Partridge, Sean Bean.
Kurt - Right. 
Now the question is how well did she know DuPont?
Just let them think about that one for awhile.
Lucas - (Laughs)