Final Destination 3
In the third installment of this popular franchise, high school senior Wendy Christensen (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) has a chilling vision involving a fatal roller coaster accident while she and her friends celebrate their upcoming graduation at an amusement park. When Wendy's ghastly vision comes to pass, all those who evaded the Grim Reaper's call must now fight to change the course of their fate.
- Starring: Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Ryan Merriman
- Director(s): James Wong
- Producer(s): James Wong, Glen Morgan
- Screenwriter(s): James Wong, Glen Morgan
- Distributor: New Line Cinema
- Animal Coordinator: Animal Insight
- Release Date: Friday, February 10, 2006
Featured Animal Action
In the stockroom of a hardware mega store, Ian (Kris Lemche) sits on a raised forklift and uses a nail gun to shoot at pigeons roosting on a shelf. This scene involved a bit of movie magic, as the firing of the nail gun took place against a green screen without the birds. To set up the animal action, trainers sprinkled seeds on a shelf, and the pigeons settled down on their marks. One trainer blew a whistle to get them to look around while the other handlers used the lure of seeds in a box below frame to coax the birds off the shelf. The pigeon supposedly felled by Ian's nail gun was a taxidermy prop.
While driving, Wendy (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) swerves and misses a black wolf crossing the road. This sequence was filmed in various cuts, and our Safety Representative monitoring the set found the action well-planned and coordinated. To set up the shot of the wolf looking at Wendy, trainers established a hotwire perimeter from the bumper of the camera truck to two parallel points in the near distance that the wolf worked within. One trainer used treats and verbal commands to get the wolf to stay on mark between the wires.
Skillful choreography was in play when the wolf bolted out of Wendy's way moments later. First, trainers positioned the animal in the middle of the road. The stunt driver replacing the actress targeted a mark on the road well in front of the wolf; upon reaching the mark, she turned the car into the other lane. A trainer standing on the roadside then attracted the wolf to him by showing it a treat in his hand. Other cars in the background never came near the animal, and the set was closed to all public traffic.
Equine Gone Wild
Fireworks at the Tri-Centennial Celebration spook "Paul Revere's" horse. Seeing this, two teenage pranksters set off small firecrackers behind the horse, causing it to rear and pull its staked lead rope out of the grass. The horse then races through the crowd, dragging the rope and T-post stake. Several horses were used to perform this extended sequence, and each received significant rehearsal time prior to filming. Special effects (SPFX) lighting at the location was transformed into the fireworks displays seen on screen, and the young actors remained at a safe distance holding sparkler fireworks that were enhanced in post production. The SPFX crew checked with trainers before using any effects around the horses.
For safety, trainers tied the swaying lead rope to the horse's breast collar, not around the neck, and the breakaway T-post was made of foam and balsa wood. Two actors fell down on cue after the horse ran by, and stuntmen protected all of the extras, who were cautioned not to move their arms lest the horse think they were cuing it. Some shots were filmed with the camera on a dolly track moving in the opposite direction of the horse to make it look like the animal is moving faster than it really was.
As the rampage continues, Kevin (Ryan Merriman) gets knocked over when he tries to push Julie (Amanda Crew) out of the horse's path. The lead rope wraps around Julie's neck and the horse drags the strangling girl across the lawn at a gallop. A former roping horse adept at pulling performed the action, and the stunt girl wore a breakaway, quick-release harness for this 30-meter drag.
The sequence comes to an end after the horse leaps over a hay rake and Kevin manages to sever the rope. This visual effects (VFX) shot combined live animal action with computer generated imagery (CGI): on camera, the horse merely jumped over a green pole set up between two bales of hay. Trainers spread extra sand on the grass to improve the horse's footing, and the pole was loosely mounted so it could fall if the horse bumped into it. The dragging rope was CGI at this point.
Toward the end of the film, a rat in the subway appears to set off a spark in a fuse box that separates the subway trains. This shot was achieved through a combination of well-placed SPFX sparks, a clever camera angle, and a well-trained rat. Trainers placed food on a ledge approximately one foot behind the "fuse box," which kept the rat on its mark. The camera was set up inches away from the effect, with the rat at least two feet behind. The sparks were designed for maximum flash and minimum sound and fired in one direction only: toward the camera and away from the rat. This small, directional detonation filled the lens with light and artificially enlarged the fire effect, while the set piece acted as a partial barricade between the flash and the rat.