6th Day, The : Production Notes

6th Day, The (2000) - Movie Poster"The 6th Day," which lensed in and around Vancouver, British Columbia, is a sci-fi thriller with an emotional thread. "This is a cautionary tale not of evil science but of the evil uses of science," says producer Jon Davison. "It's about what could happen if technology is allowed to fall into the wrong hands."

Eric Paquette, head of development at Phoenix Pictures, first brought "The 6th Day" script to the attention of Phoenix Chairman Mike Medavoy. "I was intrigued by the story of someone who is in the wrong place at the wrong time and gets caught up in a web," says Medavoy. "The script had humor, action, interesting characters... just the kind of film we had been looking for."

Medavoy immediately called on director Roger Spottiswoode, with whom he had worked on the critically acclaimed political thriller Under Fire (1983), to direct the picture. Spottiswoode had just completed the James Bond actioner Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) and was well versed in complicated films.

"We needed someone with the sensitivity to work with the actors and their performances, while at the same time being a field general," says Medavoy. "Roger certainly fit the bill."

Medavoy's next step was to put together a solid production team that could deal with a film that included huge sets, car crashes and over 600 visual effects, among other challenges. He called on his friend, producer Jon Davison, whose long list of producing credits include director Paul Verhoeven's Starship Troopers (1997) and Robocop (1987).

"I knew this was going to be a difficult shoot in terms of production," explains Medavoy. "I brought Jon in for that reason. Jon knows special effects, and I trust his judgment about what's working. It was pretty much like clockwork-the whole thing worked really well."

Written by the husband and wife team of Cormac Wibberley and Marianne Wibberley, "The 6th Day" was originally set approximately 20 to 30 years in the future. Perspective of the film began to change, however, during pre-production as more and more cloning-related stories made headlines in newspapers, magazines and on the Internet. The University of Oregon's successful experiment to clone a monkey, Genetic Savings and Clone's $2.3 million dog-cloning project known as "Missyplicity" and the British Telecom project "The Soul Catcher" (in which a computer chip capable of recording an entire lifetime is implanted into a newborn's head upon birth) eerily mirrored the cloning theme of the script. In "The 6th Day," DNA infusion and Syncording (which is the process of transferring thoughts and memories of a human or animal into a clone) parallel "The Soul Catcher" project while the cloning of the Gibson family dog at RePet™, a retail facility for cloning animals, is strikingly similar to the "Missyplicity" project. The world of technology was not just catching up with the "futuristic" premise of the film, but surpassing it.

"We found ourselves in a bit of a dilemma," admits Spottiswoode, "when we realized the story was taking place more like five years in the future than 20." Spottiswoode's ultimate goal was to plausibly present the scenario that cloning is possible in what he describes as "a very near and recognizable future."

Even after the lead role of "everyman" Adam Gibson went to action superstar Arnold Schwarzenegger, Spottiswoode envisioned "The 6th Day" as a small character piece. "At its core," he explains, "'The 6th Day' is a character piece about an ordinary guy who finds himself in the middle of a terrible dilemma. Adam Gibson has the perfect life: a beautiful and loving wife and daughter, an exciting and rewarding job and values that ground him. He is not some kind of superhero. When faced with the possible destruction of his family, however, he does things of heroic proportions to save himself and his loved ones."

"Arnold is larger than life," says Mike Medavoy. "Some may argue that it would be hard for him to play an 'everyman,' but he pulls it off in what I feel is his best performance ever. He gave the character real heart but still made him tough enough to deal with a very dangerous situation. He also gave the character a sense of humor."

Schwarzenegger was attracted to the character of Adam Gibson because "he is not the typical action hero who everyone knows right from the start will kick butt and win," he explains. "This is really about the struggle of an ordinary man who, in order to save himself and his family, learns to fight back and, in turn, risks becoming as vicious as those pursuing him."

"Imagine coming home from work one night to what you think is your surprise birthday party," continues Schwarzenegger, "only to find that someone who looks and acts exactly like you is in your house, kissing your wife and eating your birthday cake... Then to be confronted by two people you don't know who tell you that you have been cloned by mistake and if anyone finds out you and your family will be destroyed."

Schwarzenegger prepared for the dual role by doing extensive research on genetic engineering. He also met with some of the top scientists in the field of cloning as well as with businessmen who have some inventive ideas on how to capitalize on the new technology. Acknowledging that most people cast a weary eye toward cloning, Schwarzenegger sees the concerns over the procedure as more about the genetic manipulation than the cloning itself.

"It's just like the Internet," says Schwarzenegger. "While most cloning experiments are done with the intention of creating something to better mankind, there's always the possibility of misuse and corruption."

Schwarzenegger was amazed at how closely the storyline of the film reflected the headlines in newspapers and magazines worldwide. When he and the other filmmakers first began discussing "The 6th Day," Schwarzenegger recalls, Dolly the sheep had just been cloned. "As we moved into production," says Schwarzenegger, "suddenly, we saw several instances of cloning. It was amazing to see how fast things were moving and how close we were coming to reality with our film."

"The 6th Day" also appealed to the actor because-while it has all the elements of a typical Schwarzenegger film, including car chases, stunts and exciting visual effects-it also had an element of humor.

When you have a film as intense as 'The 6th Day,'" stresses Schwarzenegger, "it's important that you have some comic relief-moments that are relaxing and entertaining at the same time." For Schwarzenegger, it was the scenes with the Virtual Girlfriend and the Sim-Pal doll that provide these moments in the film.

Hank, played by Michael Rapaport, is the character who indulges in the Virtual Girlfriend, a holographic beauty who caters to his every need and whim. The hologram effect of the Virtual Girl was created via a complicated and time-consuming computer-based program that used the process called motion control. Using a motion control camera, the scene is shot and each camera move is recorded and encoded. The footage is then played back on a green screen stage with Jennifer Gareis, who played the Virtual Girl. The shots are then composited and digitally enhanced, giving the hologram effect.

The Sim-Pal doll was the inspiration of director/writer John Sayles. "John saw a magazine advertisement where you could order a doll that looks exactly like your own child, and the idea of the Sim-Pal doll was born," says producer Jon Davison. Built by Amalgamated Dynamics, the Sim-Pal is a human-looking doll that does everything a child can do, from talking to crying.

Schwarzenegger, for his part, didn't have a clone or a Virtual Hero to do the dirty work involved in his role. Known for doing many of his own stunts, the actor dangled from the side of a mountain and drove a car down a steep set of stairs, among other hair-raising acts, in "The 6th Day." A scene in the tank inside the lab at Replacement Technologies, however, almost did him in.

The scene called for Adam to hide from Talia (Sarah Wynter), the assassin, underwater in the tank, where he could use the membrane-shrouded blanks to protect himself from view. Working with stunt coordinator Steve Davidson and an underwater camera crew, Schwarzenegger, an excellent swimmer and SCUBA diver, rehearsed the scene several times with goggles and an airtank. During rehearsal, Schwarzenegger had good visibility and was able to mentally record points of reference so that he could hit his mark when the cameras were rolling. When he felt confident and comfortable, he rehearsed the scene one more time, without the SCUBA gear.

The scene called for Adam to hide from Talia (Sarah Wynter), the assassin, underwater in the tank, where he could use the membrane-shrouded blanks to protect himself from view. Working with stunt coordinator Steve Davidson and an underwater camera crew, Schwarzenegger, an excellent swimmer and SCUBA diver, rehearsed the scene several times with goggles and an airtank. During rehearsal, Schwarzenegger had good visibility and was able to mentally record points of reference so that he could hit his mark when the cameras were rolling. When he felt confident and comfortable, he rehearsed the scene one more time, without the SCUBA gear.

The scene called for Adam to hide from Talia (Sarah Wynter), the assassin, underwater in the tank, where he could use the membrane-shrouded blanks to protect himself from view. Working with stunt coordinator Steve Davidson and an underwater camera crew, Schwarzenegger, an excellent swimmer and SCUBA diver, rehearsed the scene several times with goggles and an airtank. During rehearsal, Schwarzenegger had good visibility and was able to mentally record points of reference so that he could hit his mark when the cameras were rolling. When he felt confident and comfortable, he rehearsed the scene one more time, without the SCUBA gear.

Schwarzenegger, with his indefatigable spirit and work ethic, earned the respect and praise of his fellow cast and crew members. "Arnold is one of a kind," says Wendy Crewson, who plays his wife, Natalie. "He is hardworking, generous, funny and smart, not only as a fellow actor, but also as a producer." Indeed, Schwarzenegger not only plays two roles in the film, but also served as a producer.

Director - 6th Day, The (2000)He is totally unselfish," adds Spottiswoode. "His main focus is on the total picture and if it is working as a whole, rather than how big his part is or how many close-ups he has. He cares more about the other characters and if their roles are clearly defined and working."

In fact, it was Schwarzenegger who insisted that Tony Goldwyn's character, Drucker, be punched up. Arnold's insistence on expanding and further defining Drucker's role elevated the movie by raising the stakes in the scenes between Adam and Drucker. Hiring an actor as talented as Tony Goldwyn for the role also infused these scenes with more suspense, plausibility and reality

"Tony Goldwyn was a real find," says Mike Medavoy. "He reflected the kind of youthfulness and intelligence we were looking for when we were casting Drucker."

Drucker is the multi-billionaire powerhouse behind Replacement Technologies, the operation single-handedly responsible for replenishing the world's food supply through cloning and genetic engineering. Drucker is also a shrewd, egomaniacal businessman who understands that cloning human beings and saving mankind from insidious diseases would not only make him wealthy beyond imagination, but also give him the one thing he desires most-immortality. Cloning humans is illegal, however, and the forces behind the anti-cloning laws are not afraid to use the same tactics that Drucker employs. Since Drucker is willing to do whatever it takes to get what he wants, including deceit and murder, the stakes are high.

"The power Drucker wields creates a sort of God-like sense in him," says Goldwyn. "He's conquered death, and that exhilarates him. It's fascinating to play a character like Drucker. He has the power to do tremendous good in the world, yet he takes it to an extreme where it becomes evil."

Schwarzenegger also played a hand in the pivotal casting of Academy Award winner Robert Duvall as Griffin Weir, the conflicted scientist who holds the key to Adam's dilemma. According to executive producer Daniel Petrie Jr., Schwarzenegger actively pursued Duvall to play the role of Weir, knowing that playing opposite an actor of Duvall's caliber would give him a challenge as well as elevate the movie. "It's not every day that you get to engage in intellectual debate with one of the greatest actors around," observes Petrie.

Although they only worked together for a few days, Duvall and Schwarzenegger formed a bond during their scenes together. "It was fun," says Duvall. "Arnold has quite a sense of humor and is very engaging on the set."

For Schwarzenegger, working with Duvall was an honor. "People all over the world will love Duvall's performance because he is so real. Everything comes from his heart," says Schwarzenegger.

Duvall and Roger Spottiswoode worked together in 1981 on Pursuit of D.B. Cooper, The (1981). Re-teaming for "The 6th Day" "was a delight," says Spottiswoode with a smile. "It was fun to watch him and Arnold working together." Mike Medavoy, who has known Duvall for many years and worked with him on several films, including Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now (1979) has great respect for the actor. "He has the innate ability to bring a true sense of reality to every character he plays," he says.

Michael Rapaport joined the cast as Hank, Adam's best friend and partner in the Double X Charter Company. Hank, quite the opposite of the old-fashioned Adam, is a bachelor who lives in a high-tech apartment with his cloned cat Sadie and his virtual girlfriend.

"Hank has a great life," says Rapaport, "but he is a little lonely. Instead of the hassle of a real girlfriend, he just hits a button and-bingo!-his girlfriend appears. When he doesn't want her around anymore, he just pushes the button again and she disappears." As for working with Schwarzenegger, Rapaport calls it one of the best experiences of his career. "Arnold is the greatest. He was very funny and cool to work with."

Spottiswoode tapped Canadian-born actress Wendy Crewson for the role of Natalie Gibson, Adam's loving and beautiful wife who is kidnapped by Drucker's henchmen. "Natalie is the perfect wife," explains Crewson. "She's funny, sexy, vulnerable, nurturing and capable. Natalie is fabulous in every way, but she is a little clueless. She has no idea that her husband has been mistakenly and illegally cloned."

For the villains, Spottiswoode put together an ensemble made up of veteran actor Michael Rooker as Marshall, Drucker's right hand man and leader of the motley crew; Sarah Wynter as Talia, the no-nonsense assassin with an attitude, whose hair color changes every time she is cloned; and newcomers Rodney Rowland as Wiley, the hypochondriac with a penchant for shooting the wrong people; and Terry Crews as the ominous-looking Vincent, who has a run-in with the Sim-Pal doll.

"The casting of the bad guys was an ensemble that worked," explains producer Jon Davison. "The villains are basically comedic, but they had to be real enough to be threatening. We needed the kind of actor that could be menacing but also provide comedy relief. We found that with Michael, Sarah, Rod and Terry."

The task of creating "The 6th Day"'s 'recognizable future' fell on the shoulders of the production designers, James Bissell and John Willett. "Our aim was to provide a world that was believable without being too far out there," comments Willett, "and to stay away from the 'Buck Rogers'-type images."

To accomplish that goal, a true collaboration of all the departments, from the art department to wardrobe, was required. In addition to creating a world with a futuristic flair and familiarity, crew members had to make it functional. They also had to pay special attention to creating the proper environment for each character.

Adam Gibson, for example, is an old-fashioned family man who is not quite comfortable in a world where your pet can be cloned overnight and bananas come in different flavors. Adam, however, doesn't dismiss the new technology; his home is filled with modern conveniences, and the Whispercraft™ he pilots for a living is an extremely high-tech helicopter capable of transforming into a jet aircraft. But he doesn't embrace all facets of the new technology- his car is a Cadillac built in the 1950s rather than the battery-powered, computer-driven cars of the day, and he chooses to live in an old farmhouse in a rural neighborhood.

"The choice of location for the Gibson house was made to separate the Gibsons from the rank-and-file of humanity," explains Willett. To further illustrate the contrast in lifestyles, streets lined with endless replications of the same house were chosen as neighborhoods for the rank-and-file.

For billionaire Drucker, a man with tremendous power and authority, the production team created a sleek, quite large and austere office filled with huge, expensive pieces of artwork, high-tech security equipment and plasma screen monitors. The set reveals a lot about a man who obviously embraces everything this technological world has to offer and is not afraid to capitalize on it.

The RePet™ store, on the other hand, has a whimsical Disneyland feel to it and was purposely designed that way. "Everything is very shiny, cheerful and cartoony," explains Willett, "to make it accessible to kids."

The most intricate and complicated set was the fantastic interior of the Replacement Technologies Lab where the actual cloning process takes place. A high-tech mix of glass, stainless steel, industrial grids and state-of-the-art medical equipment and computer screens, the set's focal points are the two giant water tanks that house the blanks - human forms without any physical characteristics. Silently floating in embryonic sacs inside the tanks, the faceless blanks look out over the laboratory where they will eventually be infused with DNA, thereby making them living, breathing clones.

The tanks were filled with over 100,000 gallons of water that had to be kept at a constant temperature of 86 degrees Fahrenheit. The water inside the tanks was not chlorinated, making it easier on the actors and divers who had to work in the water for long periods of time.

For the dazzling atrium and offices of Replacement Technologies, the Vancouver Public Library building with its huge glass enclosure and interesting architecture was used.

The set for the rooftop helipad, where Adam and his clone join forces to thwart Drucker and his goons, was built atop the Canada Post Office building in downtown Vancouver. Made of reinforced steel grids and set four stories above the street, the 22-foot high helipad location "gave the scene the scope that it needed," says James Bissell. "It allowed us to forego the usual venue of matte shots and blue screen. What we got was a beautiful and panoramic view of the city that had depth and height."

Getting Adam's 7,000 pound Whispercraft™ - a blend of high-tech materials covered with a poly-composted fiberglass finish and fitted with a computerized dashboard and working rotoblades-up to the rooftop was quite a challenge. A giant crane, a crew of 40 and lots of patience were required to lift the craft into place. Created by Ron Cobb, the designer of the human space ship in Alien (1979) the Whispercraft™ is modeled after a military prototype being worked on today. Although the mock-up did not actually fly, it was designed to function as both a rotor-driven craft and a canard fixed-wing craft. In helicopter mode, the aircraft can take off and land in dense urban environments. Once it reaches a certain altitude and speed, the rotor blades form a locked v-shaped position, turning it into a fixed-wing aircraft with incredible speed, maneuverability and distance. It can be flown by a remote control assembly that the pilot straps to his forearm.

In addition to the Whispercraft and the usual on-set pyrotechnics, stunts and rigging that go into creating action sequences, the special effects department had to come up with new and never before seen weaponry and other gadgetry. With the help of the art department and input from Roger Spottiswoode , special effects supervisor Michael Lantieri and his team designed the Foosh Gun, named for the sound it makes when fired. A silent chemical laser weapon that leaves a clean, cauterized exit wound, the Foosh gun was a practical prop with a working trigger and a barrel filled with calcium carbide and water. When the gun was fired, gas formed that was then released through a valve and ignited by glow plugs placed in the front of the gun. This process created an interactive light that then created a flame effect. Cast out of metal and aluminum and powder-coated to give it a high tech look, the Foosh gun weighed approximately two pounds.

Director - 6th Day, The (2000)General Motors also supplied seven concept cars to give the film a more futuristic look. The cars, with a replacement value of over $15 million, traveled in heated trailers and had "handlers" assigned to them to make sure they were not damaged. The cars, which included a hybrid HX-3 with a gas and battery-powered engine, were housed in heated trailers and kept in a climate-controlled environment at all times.

Other vehicles used in the film included three EVIs (battery-powered), a modified Yukon Denali, a modified Chevy Silverado and Adam's 1957 four-door hardtop Cadillac. The Denali, Silverado and others were outfitted with auto-navigation systems, different grills and different wheels to give them a new and distinctive look.

From sophisticated effects to humor, "The 6th Day" is the kind of movie that filmmakers are confident has a little something for everyone. Arnold Schwarzenegger agrees, assuring us that one signature ingredient won't be missing from the film.

"In 'The 6th Day,'" people will see a great suspense story," says the star. "It also has great gimmicks... the helicopters, the cloning, the automated cars, the dogs with a remote control that you use to make them more vicious or less vicious. It has a wonderful story, about an ordinary man...

"And there is great action. Because what would an Arnold movie be without action?"