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The Fugitive: Lighting and crashing the train

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The Fugitive: Harrison Ford and Andrew Davis
Michael Chapman Film-maker
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I had done another movie with Harrison before. I'd done... The Fugitive. Fugitive, yes. So I knew him and we were, kind of buddies, and got along. He's a very good guy, very good guy. And of that class of person, you know – that sort of huge movie star – he's far and away the class of the outfit, far and away. A really okay guy. Yeah, I'd done The Fugitive with him. Another example of a big studio movie and all, but one where I had been called in. They'd been shooting for a week – maybe two weeks – and they fired the cameraman and called me up and said, didn't I want to go to Chicago in the middle of the winter and freeze my ass off? And I didn't want to insult Warner Brothers because I'd been... they were, kind of, my meal ticket. So I couldn't say no. So I quoted a figure that I would do it for, which I knew they wouldn't accept, and, of course, they accepted, and sent me off to... God, to Chicago and the mountains of North Carolina and things, to do the movie. But it turned out... you know, it's one of those things you never know.

I was very unhappy all the way through it. I didn't get along with the director. I don't want to... you know, I don't want to go into the details of why, but it just was a very bad mix. It just didn't work. And I used to say to them, 'Look I haven't cashed the cheques yet. I'll give you the money back; just let me out of here, please. I'm begging you. Just let me... I'll give you the money back.' They wouldn't, and they made me do it. And, you know, when it came out it was a big, huge hit. Who knew? Yes, it was a massive hit. Oh, yes, and you can't figure that stuff out. You can't figure it out. Some of it, you know, as I... as it recedes into the past and I'm not as angry, I've got to give him some credit. There's a Chicago-ness to it that Andy Davis, who was the director whom I didn't get along with, did bring. I mean, he was a native of Chicago, and there really is a feeling of Chicago in it that; I mean, I hope I captured, but it was his, you know – he knew where to look. And there's some scenes in it that I'm really quite proud of. There... there's one where they break into a house in a slum area of Chicago on a cold winter's day with snow on the ground, and they... you know, they think that Harrison's there but he isn't – it's the other guy – and it's sort of... and it's very nicely done and it really feels like that part of Chicago. A lot of it really feels like Chicago, because it is and it just has that... has a native's eye to it; and that's Andy's, not mine. And it's... you know, it was a big hit and everything. I guess it's a good movie; I don't know. I... yeah, it is, you know, for what it is. And Harrison does a good job. Boy, not much fun to do, though. Wow, it was cold!

Michael Chapman, an American cinematographer, has had a huge influence on contemporary film-making, working on an impressive array of classic films including 'Taxi Driver', 'Raging Bull', 'The Lost Boys' and 'The Fugitive'.

Listeners: Glen Ade Brown

British Director of Photography and Camera Operator Glen Ade Brown settled in Los Angeles 10 years ago.

He has been working on features, commercials and reality TV. He played an instrumental role in the award-winning ABC Family series "Switched" and is also a recipient of the Telly and the Cine Golden Eagle awards for Best Cinematography. He was recently signed by the Judy Marks Agency and is now listed in her commercial roster.

Tags: The Fugitive, Chicago, Harrison Ford, Andrew Davis

Duration: 2 minutes, 46 seconds

Date story recorded: May 2004

Date story went live: 29 September 2010