The Train Chase: Set Design Tricks

By September 26, 2012Art

Although Tom, played by Warren Christie, participates in an extensive train chase, there was only ever one train car built. When he exited one side of the train, we resumed filming back at the opposite end of that same car. The art department would change signs or posters to make the set appear to be a different location.

The first car had a WC sign

Train Chase Part One

The second had a blank wall

Scene from Mozart's Magic Flute Diaries

A later car had images on the wall

Scene from Mozart's Magic Flute Diaries

Of all the compartments, only two were real: the WC and the one in which Tom enters to struggle with the orphanage director. The other doors have nothing behind them.

Scene from Mozart's Magic Flute Diaries

Speaking of doors, the doors at the end of the train appear to automatically close after actors have passed through them. For a set, installing electronic doors that would actually do this would be cost prohibitive. Instead, crew members stood behind the walls and slowly pushed the doors closed after the actors had gone through them.

During filming, one of the pieces of glass on one of the end doors was dislodged and broke. I guess it was a dangerous chase sequence!

To learn more about how sets are put together, and industry tricks for setting up certain looks, check out Kevin Sullivan’s coffee table book: Beyond Green Gables.

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