I could write a book about this job. I left NYC in October to scout around the world for a series of spots to be shot after the new year. I scouted Petra in Jordan, Shanghai, Hanoi, Saigon, and New Zealand. (As I landed in Australia I learned the planned Outback spot was cancelled.)
This shoot was the most challenging, and most amazing. It’s a 90 second film for Credit Suisse, intended for European movie theaters. After it was decided that we wanted to shoot in Saigon, I had to fly to Hanoi to convince the guys at the Ministry of Culture to give us a permit. (We were to be the first American crew to shoot in Vietnam since the war.) I brought in lots of Johnnie Walker Black from Hong Kong, and after an all night session with the very kind gentleman in Hanoi, we were good to go. In the film a Western businessman comes to Vietnam to make a ‘joint venture’ to take a bombed out building and turn it into a five star hotel. The building I found was the former home of the vice-president of South Vietnam. It was now a school. We had to get permission to convert it into a five star hotel – (with the American flag flying above it, for the first time since the end of the war) – and then turn it into an abandoned ruin. (We shot the sequences out of order.)
I scouted the locations, did the local casting, and also found the picture cars, like the ancient Citroen taxi that picks up the businessman at the airport. The director is Michael Givens, and the producer is Richard Coll of Directors Film Company.