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Spy Report from the wooded set of WAR OF THE WORLDS!

Hey folks, Harry here with a little recon mission that Roger O Thornhill went out on with his celcamera. No glitzy star images here... though - given the artwork on the posters - it seems he might have captured the first martian life images I've seen. Of course, I'm sure Dennis Muren and his team of magicians will give them more menace than these photos inspire. Here's a little behind the scenes magic on WAR OF THE WORLDS...


I’ve been visiting your site for years, and was thrilled to have something to share, however small, about the War of the Worlds shoot.

Over the past couple of weeks, Steven Spielberg, Tom Cruise and Dakota Fanning have spent 3 days filming on Croton Point Park on the Hudson River here in Westchester County, New York. Croton Point is a land mass that sticks out into the Hudson River and provides spectacular scenery that attracted Spielberg. At the tip of the point, they built a stream bed and using a large water tank and recycling pumps, created a stream that would apparently run into the Hudson. I’ve attached pictures of the stream bed looking out towards the Hudson, the water tank and the basin where they caught the water and piped it back to the tank.

In addition, they brought their own trees, which had been cut down and attached by large plywood sheets with L-brackets, to create their own woods. There are a couple of pictures of one of those trees and the resulting woods in what is normally a bare patch.

I do not know much about the shots taken at the point but I do know they shot two additional sequences nearer the park’s main parking area (where Spielberg and Cruise arrived by Helicopter. While I personally only visited the sets after shooting had come and gone, a friend of mine provided some details of the other shots

One of the shots (done after Spielberg and Cruise had left) was of the clothes scattered into the woods and on the playground being lit with orange light at night, with wind and smoke. It looked liked all that remained of the victims of the alien weapon. My friend found it very disturbingly reminiscent of 9/11. (As you might guess, New Yorkers are particularly sensitive to that image).

Finally, last Friday, Spielberg, Cruise and Fanning returned for one last shot. My friend described it as Cruise and Fanning walking through the smoke filled woods where many of the vines hanging from the trees had been painted bright red. Fanning was wearing a long cloak, and it appeared that they were relieved after having survived some intense conflict. They did three takes, after which Spielberg called it a wrap and the crew all applauded (which led my friend to believe that this was the last shot of primary filming).

I’ve also attached some pics taken with my cellphone as I wandered the set on the following day (so I apologize for the lack of quality).

Call me Roger O Thornhill.

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