The Taking of Pelham 123 Makes the Subway a Star
05.07.09 by REELZ
The New York Times goes down into the tunnels with the makers of The Taking of Pelham 123 to get some face time with the movie's 400-ton star. Subways have been a hot spot for cinematic terror lately. Witness the truly harrowing train crash sequence in Knowing. Here the train is even more critical to the action and the atmosphere.
In Tony Scott's remake of the 1974 classic hostage thriller, every effort was made to keep it real by filming as much as possible inside the actual New York City subway. "I feel that's always been my m. o. -- it's something about touching the real world," says the director. Not an easy feat in this case, considering that the train system there never sleeps, and shows little deference to star power even for the likes of John Travolta, who plays an angry, neck-tattooed hijacker, or Denzel Washington, who plays a doughy, good-guy train dispatcher. And, of course, they always had to watch out for the third rail.
One scene in Grand Central proved so difficult to film that Scott vows never to shoot at that station again. It hasn't put him off trains, though. The director says he's already begun scouting locations for one of his next projects, which is "about a runaway train hurtling toward a defenseless city with a cargo of toxic chemicals."