A press release from the area where it was filmed:
Field of Dreams' Meets 'Bullitt' In Fraser Valley
'05 Mustang and 'Steve McQueen' in Chilliwack ad shoot
September 14th 2004 02:01am | Posted by: Robert Falconer HNR Senior Editor
(By Jessica Murdy, The Chilliwack Progress) -- For corn and dairy farmer David VanderKooi it's business as usual around his East Chilliwack acreage this week.
Show business, anyway.
From afar, there is little sign of the massive production that descended on the Riverdale Dairy a few weeks ago. But meander through the corn stalks and a three-quarter mile race track becomes visible. Generator-powered light poles, a false house front, a barn built with one-by plywood, and the 100-or-so crew members make this corn field an anomaly in the Fraser Valley.
Sure the crops will be harvested, but it will have to wait until Streetlight Films and Believe Media have wrapped the filming of a 60-second, international commercial touting the new 2005 Ford Mustang.
For Mr. VanderKooi, it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
"It's Ford," he laughs. "How can you say no, especially with the Mustang. The inconvenience is minimal, but it's worth it."
He mentions the monumental task of removing a black-top race track from the middle of his corn field. But the crew, both from Los Angeles and Vancouver, will be staying in Chilliwack to properly remove every trace of the production from his site. They will also be filling in the site with top soil to complete the project.
"Down to the last stone," says Stan Goetz, assistant to location manager Jon Summerland.
"The farm has been exceptional," he says. "They have been on the set everyday, having a great time."
And sure enough, every able body in the Jesperson Road area has been put to work on the $1-million production.
"Any time I wanted to come by I was welcome," says Mr. VanderKooi. "They've involved everyone. All of the neighbourhood kids have been helping. Even the 15 chickens are from the neighbour across the street."
All the stops have been pulled out for this commercial, which director Paul Street describes as Field of Dreams meets Bullitt.
Audiences can expect to see the ad in theatres and eventually on television within a month, as post-production on commercials is fairly quick, explains Mr. Goetz. In it, a farmer is depicted hearing the rumble of engines while in his field. He is shown step-by-step building something, and a Mustang, along with Steve McQueen (Abbotsford-based look-a-like Mark Myers) rolls out of his barn. Cut to the gratuitous, flashy car scenes whizzing around the newly built track and you have the idea.
The car scenes entail a great deal of accuracy, as well as camera-mounted vehicles, including a high performance motorcycle operated by L.A. stuntman Lou Franco.
"He came within 12 inches of the car at some points," says Mr. VanderKooi, adding that the car hit 180 km p/h at one point in filming.
Another lunar-looking, off-road buggy housed another camera, to be driven through the middle of the track to catch a different angle. And look for overhead views of the car in the upcoming commercials as well. Those shots were taken by a low-flying helicopter.
"It was touching the tops of the corn, and that's 13 feet," says Mr. Goetz. Corn had to be staked into place to stand up to the high winds caused by the aircraft. But that was little concern to what was otherwise a smooth production, he adds.
When the scouts originally contacted Mr. VanderKooi, he thought is was some sort of joke. But once the producers and directors were flying over in helicopter to confirm the location, he knew it was becoming a reality.
Mr. VanderKooi's property is not listed with the Chilliwack Film Commission, he says. The location scouts found the property by asking other local farmers.
He and his family bought the farm almost 25 years ago, and by far this will be one of the most memorable moments there, he says.
"This is really cool, and exciting," he says His first impression of the track was awe, he recalls.
"It's not for real," he thought. "But now, to experience what they go through, it's phenomenal."
Crew members had the same thought when witnessing the farming operations, Mr. VanderKooi explains.
"They've been down to the farm, and for them to see a calf being born," he says, "well then they all had their digital cameras out. "It's a pretty different world for both of us."
Crews were busy wrapping up production and dismantling the set this Wednesday, after seven days of filming.
Below are some images from the shoot, including Abbotsford actor, Mark Myers dressed as Lt. Frank Bullitt from the 1968 motion picture, Bullitt. Many fans will remember that the film's signature car chase between a 1967 Mustang GT-390 and a Dodge Charger was choreographed by Steve McQueen, and that McQueen actually did his own stunt driving in the Mustang.
The new 2005 Mustang has been completely redesigned to reflect the style of the 1967-69 models, hence the retro theme of the commercial.
I think it made perfect sense to not have a bullitt environment and colored car. The theme was "if you build it he (Steve) will come" so corny as it sounds, they want you to think "hey it could be you!"
It could happen to anybody, you know, that kind of imaginary coolness. I think they should do another commercial lsomewhere else and have the same effect. Like a guy that builds a track in Hawaii with pineapples everywhere. Then he waits and 'ol Steve shows up and beats on his car. That would be awesome.
Yes he was awesome--great racer, awesome actor, all-around cool guy. Although it must be said that drinking and driving isn't cool... isn't that what he was busted for in these mugshots?? (don't quote me on that)