At one point during filming, Michael Cimino decided that the spacing of the buildings on one of the sets didn't look right, despite it having been built to his exact specifications. He ordered both sides of the street razed and rebuilt, at a cost of $1.2 million over the objections of his crew, who reasoned that it would be easier and cheaper to knock down one side of the street and rebuild it twice as far away.
The actors all had to participate in what they derisively called "Camp Cimino" (after director Michael Cimino) every morning during filming to prepare for the film. It included a series of riding lessons, shooting lessons, wagon driving, dance instruction, rollerskating lessons and dialect coaching. In addition, Kris Kristofferson also had to take whip lessons, and Isabelle Huppert had to take English lessons, as she barely spoke the language at the time.
Many of the scenes in the film were shot at "Magic Time" which is the brief period of time, around five minutes, between sunset and nightfall, where unique blue tints in the camera image can be achieved. The brevity of "Magic Time" shooting on the film usually allowed only a maximum of three takes before the production would lose the light.
The work-print, the first edit of the film that includes all the footage shot, was 5 hours and 25 minutes long. This has created a rumor that a long-lost 5 and a half hour director's cut exists somewhere. It doesn't; every movie begins the editing process with a work-print, then gets edited down to the intended film. The 216 minute version is Cimino's definite director's cut of the film. |