Scene 16: ‘Sanchez’ Last Stand’ production info
Location: River Ebbw; Bassaleg
At last, the end of the film… I thought we’d never get here. This scene took over a year to shoot, yes, that’s right, a year. Stanley Kubrick would have been proud.
The reason for the overly long shoot was simple, we started shooting in January of 1997, before we had cast the role of the police captain. Mike Goddard, in his divine woodeness, didn’t come on board until around May, by which time the scenery around the river bank had changed dramatically. The river had gone down and the trees had turned green, bummer!
We shot the scene anyway intending to re-shoot it later that year, and indeed this original ending still exists on some of the earlier pre-sound post-production versions of the film. The final re-shoot of this ending was delayed somewhat as the river had now risen several feet and eliminated the area that the shootout was filmed upon. Even a call to the river authorities by Producer Eddie Keaton couldn’t get a definite answer as to when the river would subside sufficiently for us to finish our film. Luckily the rains held off and we were able to push Mikey Goddard down to the river bank once more for our startling ending, and indeed, with Goddard acting his little heart out, you quite literally couldn’t see the wood for the trees.
This was the last footage shot for the film, except for one ‘Tibet’ establishing shot, giving us a true sense of closure to this enormous project that was only supposed to be a 9 day shoot, 5 day edit, and turned out to be 18 months all in. But would we do it again? Don’t know really, not sure …perhaps.
For some reason Ed seemed to think that it was cold in the river, I’ve no idea what he was talking about as it was a beautifully warm January morning. You could just see those ice crystals floating down the river. When he dived in he kept complaining about his chest, and not being able to breath as the muscles around his heart constricted, the woos. Actually he did go in the river on two separate days, because of the light failing and the resultant shots being crap. After going the fist time and complaining so much, it was a shock to hear him volunteer to go in again. As the initial part of this scene was one of the first to be shot, the size and scope of the film were not known, so a slightly spoofy Sergio Leonne western style stand off was shot. Much coverage from numerous angles, you know the sort of thing. Once the true nature of the film surfaced, this was dropped in favour of a straight genre action finale’. Again, you know the sort of thing!
Sanchez’ death defying leap into the river was filmed using a three camera set up with Sanchez wearing co-star Paulie Burgess’ suit (we did ask permission first, and it added £7 to the budget for dry cleaning). On a final note, the original ending mentioned previously was exactly the same as the one seen in the film, except for the disproportionate amounts of ham shown by Jake Cop, indeed there was so much ham that some European governments wouldn’t have allowed it into the country under quarantine laws. Needless to say that Jake toned down the ham considerably for the re-shoot, under pain of farting by Eddie Keaton.