Such was Michael Cimino's obsession with getting the right shot, that 50 takes were not uncommon for each scene. Enough film was shot for 200 hours worth of viewing, the equivalent of nearly 9 days non-stop viewing.
Heavy snowfall made exteriors impossible to shoot when the production arrived at Kalispell, Montana in May 1979. Cover shoots of interiors had to be scheduled to overcome this problem but the sets had not yet been built so construction crews had to work around the clock to get them ready.
Another attempt to rehabilitate the film's "broken masterpiece" reputation arose at the Film Forum in New York City in March 2013 when a newly restored print of "Gate" played for a full week. This 2012 USA "Director's Cut" version is 216 minutes long.
The film's male lead was initially offered to John Wayne in the early 1970s, several years before the film was finally made. The film's female lead, played in the final film by Isabelle Huppert, was originally offered to Jane Fonda, Sally Field and Diane Keaton.
During one of the scenes Allen Keller was injured when the Sharps Buffalo Rifle he was issued to use exploded. He later sued the company that provided the firearm, Stemburgen Gun Rentals, but he waited until 1986 to do it. By that time, the statute of limitations in Montana had run out.
According to Isabelle Huppert, Michael Cimino decided to cast her after seeing a clip from Claude Chabrol's Violette (1978) while released in the US. The film was actually Huppert's second American picture, Rosebud (1975) had been the first. To prepare for her role as a prostitute, Huppert spent three days observance in a brothel in Wallace, Idaho. |