Trivia

DUNE (1984):

  • Dune was totally filmed in Mexico locations and soundstages. The number of production crew came to a total of 1,700. Dune required 80 sets built upon 16 sound stages. More than 6 years in the making, it required David Lynch's work for three and a half years.

  • Dune was the first movie to feature a computer-generated human form, for the bodyshields.

  • In Dune two hundred workers spent two months hand-clearing three square miles of Mexican desert for location shooting.

  • Some special effects scenes of Dune were filmed with over a million watts of lighting, drawing 11,000 amps.

  • Some scenes of Dune were filmed in the same location and at the same time as scenes from Conan the Destroyer (1984).

MISSING (1982):

  • In Missing, several key locations in Mexico City were transformed to make them look like the city of Santiago, Chile, in the seventies.

  • Missing was shot in Mexico under great secrecy by Hollywood standards, as its subject matter was considered so controversial.

JARHEAD (2005):

  • Scenes filmed in the Imperial Valley for Jarhead had the mountains in the background digitally removed. Additional desert scenes were also filmed in Mexico.

RAMBO: FIRST BLOOD PART II (1985):

  • All of the shots on the military base in Rambo: First Blood Part II were done on a Mexican air force airstrip. The logos have been painted over or obscured, and the real crew always have their backs toward the camera or are far enough away from the camera so no one would notice.

THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE (1948):

  • The Treasure of the Sierra Madre was one of the first American films to be made almost entirely on location outside the USA.

THE WILD BUNCH (1969):

  • Supposedly, more blank rounds were discharged during the production of The Wild Bunch than live rounds were fired during the Mexican Revolution of 1914 around which the film is loosely based. In total 90,000 rounds were fired, all blanks.

  • In The Wild Bunch, the shootout/massacre in the end took 12 days to film. When completed, about 10,000 squibs (simulated bullet hits) had been used.

  • The last scene to be completed in The Wild Bunch was the exploding bridge over Rio Nazas (substituting for Rio Bravo). Five stuntmen, each paid $2,000, one take, six cameras. One camera was lost into the water.

  • Apart from American stunt men dressed as Mexican soldiers, who performed some of the more dangerous stunts, all of the "troops" involved in the final shootout at Mapache's headquarters were real Mexican soldiers from a cavalry regiment that had been hired by the film company.

  • General Mapache's headquarters, where the climatic shootout takes place between the Wild Bunch and Mapache's soldiers, was actually an abandoned winery outside the town of Parras in Coahuila, Mexico.

  • The shootout that opened the film, which was when the wild bunch was ambushed by bounty hunters while robbing the railroad office in the Texas town of Starbuck, was actually shot on the Main Street of downtown Parras.

TROY (2004):

  • The impending war in Iraq forced the production of Troy to move from Morocco to Baja California Sur, Mexico in February 2003.

  • Two biologists were employed to protect the eggs of turtles on the beaches of Mexico where filming took place.

  • 300 buff Bulgarian male extras were transported to the Mexican location - housed, shipped and trained for the close-up battle scenes so the Greeks and Trojans would be sufficiently "European looking". They supplemented Euro-looking Mexicans and were used in battle close-ups. Instructions to the "soldier extras" were given in Spanish, Bulgarian and English.

ROMEO + JULIET (1996):

  • The opening gas station encounter in Romeo + Juliet took 7 days to film with 2 days of pick-ups in Vera Cruz.

  • The majority of sets in Romeo + Juliet were built from scratch in order to achieve the film's unique look. The Sycamore Grove theatre and huts on Verona Beach were actually destroyed by a hurricane during filming. The beginning of the hurricane is evident during Mercutio's death scene, and many pick up shots had to be filmed elsewhere.

PREDATOR (1987):

  • Two waterfalls are used in the climax of Predator, both near Palenque in Mexico. The first is Misol Ha, just outside the village (beginning and end of the sequence), and the other is Agua Azul about an hour's drive away (the middle part of the sequence).

BUTCH CASSIDY & THE SUNDANCE KID (1969):

  • All the Bolivia scenes in Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid were filmed in the state of Morelos, Mexico, including the famous freeze-framed final scene.

THE LEGEND OF ZORRO (2005):

  • The locomotive used on the train at the end of The Legend of Zorro was not actually capable of moving under its own power. The illusion of it pulling the train was created by alternately using an out-of-vision diesel locomotive to pull or push, a blue screen set up next to the steam locomotive with passing scenery added later, or an about 1/8 scale operable model of the train.

APOCALYPTO (2006):

  • Many substantial speaking roles in Apocalypto were filled by Mayan people who had never acted before. For instance, the sick little girl who curses the hunting party as they and the captives pass right before entering the city was played by a seven year old who lived in a dirt-floored hut in a village not unlike Jaguar Paw's.

  • Due to the unpredictable climate in the rain forest of Mexico, special care was needed to protect the digital cameras during the shooting of Apocalypto. Under extreme heat, they were covered with space blankets to reflect the heat. Temperature was closely monitored via thermometers added to the cameras. While shooting at a waterfall, the cameras were protected in specially built Hydroflex splash bags designed by Pete Romano.

TITANIC (1997):

  • In Titanic, most of the decor on the ship - from the carpet to the chandeliers - was reconstructed by, or under the supervision of, the original companies which furnished the Titanic.

  • Shooting in in the largest aquatic stage in the world at Baja Fox Studios built specifically for Titanic, when the scene where a wall of water bursts through a doorway was first shot, James Cameron said that the 40,000 gallons of water dumped into the corridor set were not enough, and asked for triple that amount. The set had to be rebuilt to stand up under the additional weight of water.

  • The "full-size" ship exterior set was constructed in a tank on a beach south of Rosarito, Baja California, Mexico. Construction started on the 85th anniversary of the real Titanic's launch - May 31, 1996. To reduce costs, the number of instances of some repeated components (such as windows) was reduced, and other parts (such as the funnels and lifeboats) were built at 90% scale to produce the correct visual appearance. The set was oriented to face into the prevailing wind so that the smoke from the funnels would blow the right way.

  • 20th Century Fox acquired 40 acres of waterfront south of Playas de Rosarito in Mexico and started building a brand new studio in May 31 1996. A 17 million gallon tank was built for the exterior of the reconstructed ship, providing 270 degrees of ocean view. The ship was built to full scale but production design removed redundant sections on the superstructure and the forward well deck so that it would fit the tank. The remaining sections were filled in digitally. The lifeboats and funnels were shrunk by 10%. While the boat deck and the A-deck were full working sets, the rest of the ship was steel plating. Contained within that was a 50 foot lifting platform for the ship to tilt during the sinking sequences, whilst towering above that was a 162 feet tall tower crane on 600 feet of railtrack. This was used as a construction, lighting and camera platform.

  • In Titanic, all the scenes where there is an exterior sunset shot were filmed at the set in the Baja California, Mexico set.

  • In Titanic the scene where the water comes crashing into the Grand Staircase room, the film makers only had one shot at it because the entire set and furnishings were going to be destroyed in the shot.

  • The entire set at Fox Baja Studios was mounted on hydraulic jacks and could be tilted up to 6° intact within the depth of the tank.

  • The detached stern section of the full-size set was moved onto a separate tilting platform which would allow it to be rapidly turned vertical for the final phase of sinking. There were 10 takes, each requiring 100 stunt players to fall from or along the set while 1,000 extras were attached to the railings by safety harnesses.

ROMANCING THE STONE (1984):

  • Reports of kidnappings in Colombia forced the location shoots of Romancing the Stone to be done in Mexico.

DRAGONBALL: EVOLUTION (2009):

  • Dragonball: Evolution was mostly shot in an abandoned jeans factory in Durango, Mexico with blue and green screens.

007 JAMES BOND TOMORROW NEVER DIES (1997):

  • In 007 Tomorrow Never Dies a lot of the model work and underwater sequences were filmed in the Titanic tank at Fox's Baja Studios in Mexico, just days after Titanic had completed filming.

007 JAMES BOND LICENSE TO KILL (1989):

  • In 007 License to Kill, the Banco de Isthmus was filmed at Mexico's main post office, an old elaborate building of European styling.

  • 007 License to Kill was the first Bond film not made in Great Britain. With the abolition of the Eady levy in 1985 (a British tax subsidy for the film industry), film production in the UK was badly hit as it had become prohibitively expensive. It was estimated that if shooting had continued in the UK, the budget would have increased 10%. Thus, it was decided to film much of the movie in Mexico.

TOTAL RECALL (1990):

  • The subway scenes in Total Recall were filmed in the Mexico City subway system, specifically, the Insurgentes station of the Line 1: Constituyentes-Pantitlan.

  • Some of the large ads seen in Total Recall after Quaid gets off the subway were real signs featured above the Insurgentes subway station in Mexico City, most noticeable the Fuji Film and Coca Cola signs, the Coca Cola sign still stands today.

  • The escalator chase scene was filmed in Mexico City's "Chabacano" Subway Station (Intersection for Lines 2, 9 and 8, though 8 wasn't operating at the time). The only changes made are direction signs in English, and the station names replaced.

  • Total Recall was one of the last major Hollywood blockbusters to make large-scale use of miniature effects as opposed to CGI, and at the same time, it was also one of the first major Hollywood blockbusters to use CGI (mainly for the scenes involving the X-Ray scanner) and have it look "photo-real".

RESIDENT EVIL: EXTINCTION (2007):

  • Resident Evil: Extinction was originally intended to be filmed in the Australian Outback but was changed to Mexico.

PEARL HARBOR (2001):

  • The climactic attack scenes were shot at the same Mexican studios used in the filming of Titanic.

FAT MAN AND LITTLE BOY (1989):

  • The filming of Fat Man and Little Boy took place in the fall of 1988 mainly outside Durango, Mexico, where the Los Alamos research facility was re-created. The re-creation of the Los Alamos laboratory entailed 35 buildings and cost over US$2 million to construct in 1988. The Los Alamos sets really were incredible. Director Roland Joffe and producer Tony Garnett brought the production to the rugged mountains of Mexico and built one of the largest movie sets ever--up to that time. They virtually recreated the town of Los Alamos as it was in 1943. It took 150 carpenters and a huge number of laborers, working six days a week for six months, to build these sets. They then peopled the replica town with a cast of 60, hundreds of extras, a large production staff and more than 50 military and civilian cars and trucks of the period. The sets were built on a very remote site, about an hour's drive from the nearest town, which was Durango. Unlike normal movie sets, most of the buildings in this one were real, with four walls and a water tight roof. Even the interiors of many of the buildings were fully constructed and these interiors were heavily utilized during filming, not only as interior sets for the film, but as office and storage spaces, even living spaces for guards and other personnel.

MONSTERS (2010):

  • Monsters was shot entirely on location throughout Mexico and part of Guatemala following almost exactly the same route of the film's characters: any settings featured in the film were real locations often used without permission asked in advance, and all the films extras were just people who happened to be there at the time.

CHE, THE ARGENTINEAN (2008):

  • Che: The Argentinean was partially shot on location in Mexico. It was the first feature-length movie to be shot with the Red One Camera.

TRAFFIC (2000):

  • The film has 135 speaking parts and was shot in over 110 locations in eight different cities, including Mexican border city Tijuana, Baja California Norte.

  • In Traffic, every scene that takes place in Tijuana is shot with a hand-held camera.

  • To achieve a distinctive look for each different vignette in the story told in Traffic, Steven Soderbergh used three different film stocks (and post-production techniques), each with their own color treatment and grain for the print. The "Wakefield" story features a colder, bluer tone to match the sad, depressive emotion. The "Ayala" story is bright, shiny, and saturated in primary colors, especially red, to match the glitzy surface of Helena's life. The "Mexican" story appears grainy, rough, and hot to go with the rugged Mexican landscape and congested cities.

  • The scene in Traffic where Michael Douglas takes his trip to the California border crossing to discuss drug interdiction was actually shot at the Tijuana crossing. The video and sound quality is so low in part because it was never supposed to be part of the movie. Douglas started asking, out of character, Rudy M. Camacho about drug trafficking on the border. Camacho was, at the time, the actual Customs chief in charge of the California border crossings. Steven Soderbergh began filming it with a hand-held camera, praying that Camacho wouldn't address the actor as "Mr. Douglas".

  • In Traffic all of the scenes in the US have a blue tint and all of the scenes in Mexico have a yellow tint.