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Trains, Helicopters and Jean-Claude Van Damme

October 12, 2002

With an extensive background as a director and producer of feature films, Bob Misiorwski is undeniably a successful filmmaker and has already earned respect from his peers. His latest film Derailed, however, is bringing the recognition beyond his expectations. Not surprisingly, he is most enthusiastic in dishing about the movie, which stars Jean-Claude Van Damme.

On filming in Bulgaria, Misiorwski says, "While a wonderful experience, everyone forgot about the fact that seasons change in Eastern Europe. We got a lot of background plates shot during the late summer and fall. By the time the unit started shooting, however, fall had ended and winter had begun. Most of the night work was done in below freezing temperatures. If you look closely, you will see snow falling during the square explosion sequences."

On filming aboard a train, Misiorwski says: "We had a choice of two trains. The first was commissioned by the last King of Bulgaria and was very posh, but dated. We chose what was called The Government Train. It was built in Germany for the old Communist government of Bulgaria during the height of Cold War. It was constructed in such a manner that it could be sealed into a mountain tunnel, in the event of an attack, and the government officials onboard could continue functioning. It had banks and banks of batteries for power, two full kitchens, very comfortable bunks for lower-level functionaries and spacious suites for higher-ranking officials. It also had gigantic walk-in freezers and refrigerators, a theatrical 35mm projection screen and viewing room. Everything was build to exacting standards and all of the wood was solid -- no veneer."

The director says of the CGI employed for the movie: "When it was decided to film in Bulgaria, several problems became apparent -- for one, the Bulgarian railway system only had one track that was available for our use. It did not have overhead wires that would have made filming impossible, yes, but it was a single track and only about four miles long. Because of this, we had to design the film to make extensive use of green-screen background replacement. Although the second unit shot on the real train at night in the real location, the first unit only spent two days on the train. The rest of the film was shot onstage making use of green screen. The CGI work was supervised by Scott Colter of Millennium Digital Studio in Sofia, Bulgaria. Because of the sheer volume of work, Scott also needed to subcontract hundreds of shots, so our group was sent to another digital studio in Bulgaria."

Continuing, Misiorwski says, "The motorcycle sequence and car-carrier sequence were sent to Digital Film Lab in Los Angeles. The fight between Van Damme and Tomas Arana was sent to Lava Pictures in Florida. The establishing shot of the two trains prior to the collision and the spangle of the motorcycle jumping from train to train was done by Titlehouse Digital. There were over 420 CGI and optical shots in the film. We took about six weeks to complete the CGI works. Two miniature trains -- each car over six feet long -- were shot on a gigantic soundstage for the train collision, for the helicopter smashing into the mountain and for the train going off the exploding bridge. The miniature footage was then married through CGI to actual location backgrounds and CGI animated helicopter footage. It was by far the most ambitious CGI that Millennium has ever produced."

On his star, Misiorwski says of Van Damme: "It is true, as has been reported, that Jean-Claude broke his hand during one of the fight sequences. He not only carried on the rest of that day but was back on the set -- with a gigantically swollen hand -- after only one day spent on x-rays and medical attention. We shot around his swollen hand for the rest of the filming. He totally prepared and focused on the show. He loved playing the father carrying a secret, a man who does not spend enough time with his family and who agonizes over the secret life he is living. He wants to come in from the cold, but can't. I enjoyed the opportunity to showcase his acting skills; it was such a demanding part which required him to be funny, warm, touching, serious, strong and sensitive."

In the tradition of such thrilling action movies as Arnold Schwarzenegger's True Lies and Steven Seagal's Under Siege 2, Derailed also stars Laura Elena Harring and Susan Gibney. It is being released locally by Solar Films.

Sourced from yehey.com

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