Seeking to avoid cliches in presenting the city of San Francisco, Kaufman, a longtime resident, liked the idea of creating a creepy atmosphere in the midst of all the beauty. To aid him in this pursuit, he chose production designer Dennis Washington, who had previously worked with producer Arnold Kopelson on “The Fugitive,” as well as “Life as a House,” “The Net,” “The General’s Daughter” and “No Way Out.”
“ Philip creates worlds that are always intriguing. With each of his films, he takes a piece and keeps evolving it into something that becomes more and more interesting,” observes Washington. “He has
|a film noir background and he uses his knowledge of older movies of that style and gives them a contemporary twist. To complement Philip’s vision, I’ve tried to render the spirit of the noir into something current and believable.” |
Washington saw his biggest design challenge in creating a backdrop that wouldset the tone for the film and, at the same time, enhance the mysterious twistsand turns of the plot. To do this, he found locations within San Francisco andestablished set designs that would lend themselves to modern-day detective work.
“ This is not a stylized picture,” Washington points out. “Ithas to be believable throughout. We had to find the real world of these investigatorsand, out of that reality, find something that’s dramatic but at the sametime logical.”
As the scouting went from San Francisco’s Mission District to the Bay,it became apparent that the landscape by the water was where a lot of the storywould play out best.
“ The water gave a theme to the picture that wasn’t in anybody’smind at first,” says director Philip Kaufman, who had originally lookedto the Mission District as the centerpiece of the film. “But down at thewharf, a crime scene can take on a whole new feel and become even eerier andcolder than at a lot of other areas of San Francisco often seen in films.”
Locations manager Rory Enke was more than happy that the San Francisco Bay waschosen for the film’s backdrop. “The bay offers one of the biggestuntapped resources of San Francisco because, essentially, the wilderness is rightnext to a city,” says Enke, who served as the Northern California locationmanager for Stephen King’s “The Green Mile” and who has spenta lot of time sailing in the bay. “As we continued our research, we founda lot of creepy little places to set the crime scenes.”
One such scene takes place behind Pacific Bell Park, home of the San FranciscoGiants baseball team, and the site where, in reality, the body of a young girlhad been discovered almost a year before. In the film, homicide inspectors Shepardand Delmarco are investigating a murder on the rocks at the edge of the water.As the two examine the victim’s body, a night game is in progress in thestadium and 40,000 fans, who are standing up and shouting every time the Giantsget a hit, become unwitting extras.
The Fisherman’s Wharf area was the site of another important scene in thefilm, this one using a herd of sea lions that, in actuality, took up residenceon the docks behind Pier 39 after the 1989 earthquake. Protected by the NationalMarine Fisheries, under whose jurisdiction the wild animals fall, there are noprovisions for film permits, and it took San Francisco’s former mayor WillieBrown to step in and clear the way with Pier 39’s Marine Mammal Centerso that the scene could be filmed. In fact, according to Enke, it was the firsttime that the sea lions have been used in a movie.
When the second unit arrived to set up the blue screen against which the sealions would be filmed, most of them jumped into the water and swam off anyway.
“ It’s tricky,” says Enke. “It’s a unique situation.You’re asking wild animals to hang around and perform in an urban setting.One day, they all got upset by a seagull with fishing line wrapped around itsleg. Another day, just as the sun went down and the second unit was set to roll,a huge sea lion chased all the others off, turned toward the camera and beganto perform, just as if he knew it was time for his close up!”
Once the sea lions were properly wrangled, the unique final sequence played itselfout, and “Twisted,” set against the backdrop of foggy San Francisco’sstrangely haunting waterfront, was one step closer to becoming a chilling taleof murder and redemption that audiences will not soon forget.
Producer Arnold Kopelson sums up the feelings about the film shared by the castand crew. “‘Twisted’ is one of those Hitchcock-like murdermysteries that will surprise audiences and keep them guessing until the veryend. That’s what a good movie is all about.”