Deja Vu: Tony Scott’s Actioner, Sixth Collaboration with Bruckheimer

In the new action-thriller from producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Tony Scott, written Terry Rossio and Bill Marsilli, it is Dj vu that unexpectedly guides ATF (Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms) agent Doug Carlin, played by Denzel Washington, through an investigation into a shattering crime.

Dj vu is the sixth film collaboration between Bruckheimer and Scott, following “Top Gun,” “Beverly Hills Cop II,” “Days of Thunder,” “Crimson Tide” (also starring Denzel Washington), and “Enemy of the State.”

The story is rather intriguing. Called in to recover evidence after a bomb sets off a cataclysmic explosion on a New Orleans Ferry, Carlin is about to discover what most people believe is only in their heads is actually something far more powerful, which will lead him on a mind-bending race to save hundreds of innocent people.

As Carlin’s investigation deepens, it not only probes through the very fabric of space and time, but also becomes a love story, told in reverse, when Carlin discovers his puzzling connection to a woman whose past holds the key to stopping a catastrophe that could destroy their future. In the split second of a glance, without words yet with complete trust, Carlin takes one chance to change everything.

The sensation of Dj Vu has intriguingly mystified human beings for centuries. The feeling hits at the strangest momentswhen we fall instantly and madly in love with a total stranger, when we arrive at a brand new place we know like the back of our hand, whenever events occur that inexplicably feel like they must have played out somehow, somewhere before in our lives.

Innovative Thriller

Says Bruckheimer: We felt that Dj Vu had enormous drama to it because of what takes place around the love story. The idea that you can bring somebody back to life again is a wonderful concept. This story is risky, it’s entertaining, and it’s romantic. And by bringing in Tony Scott to direct, we knew it would be filled with exciting action.

Tony brings the amazing scope of his artistry to every visual aspect of a movie. That’s why you hire Tony Scott. He is a great storyteller who is extremely dedicated to his craft. We both had the same goal for this film: To take you away for two hours so you can forget about everything else and just get lost in the magic on the screen. When those lights go down, you are in another world, the world of Dj vu.

Denzel Washington

The character of ATF agent Doug Carlin has great intuition, and Denzel is a very intuitive actor, so the fit seemed almost meant to be.

Shooting in New Orleans

We had adapted the Dj vu script to take place in some of the most interesting New Orleans locations and show the incredible landscape through the story’s car chases and ferry sequences. Dj vu is set against a city in a time warp, a beautiful time warp, much like New Orleans.

Car Chases

I am particularly proud of the film’s intricately choreographed car chases, which I hope will take the high-speed scenes that often become audience favorites to the next level.

The car chases in this movie are very cool. Nothing has ever been done like them before. Because of the time travel elements, you will see a split-level chase happening during daytime commuter traffic. Denzel spins around and is suddenly driving against traffic. I think at one point, there are five car wrecks in the span of 15 seconds. It’s pretty amazing.

Most Intriguing Location

Doug Carlin’s search to understand what happened at the moment the ferry bomb exploded and what it has to do with his past and future ultimately takes him to Dj Vu’s most intriguing location: The secret Time Lab in which Doug can view surveillance footage of past events.

The Lab as Work in Progress

We built the lab on a stage in Los Angeles under the aegis of production designer Chris Seagers. I asked Chris to give the lab a raw-edged, high-tech feel in which everything is digital and state-of-the-art and yet cables, wires, and ducts are exposed.

I wanted the lab to feel like a work in progress, that everyday the scientists and Secret Service would come in and hack away at trial and error to improve it. I wanted the feeling that these people spend their entire day working intensely in the Lab, so there is also chaos to this very tight and claustrophobic space.

Technology Reflecting the New World

The whole concept of the Time Window Lab reflects a new world in which visual surveillance is increasingly used to watch over human traffic at airports, gas stations, ATM’s, stores, offices and on freeways, as well as to reconstruct criminal activity.

Prior to Katrina, New Orleans already had in place a surveillance system with six satellite cameras at various locations, though these were destroyed during the storm. Surveillance also came to the fore in the story of a recent London underground bombings, as the culprits were apprehended using clues provided by the cameras set up in the underground system.

500 Hours of Footage

At the center of the lab’s design is the main surveillance screen, made up of 72 tiles, so that an image at any given time can be blown up from one foot to 20 larger-than-life feet. A special video unit crew was assigned the task of capturing every visual that appears on the tiles. Ultimately, over 500 hours of footage were shot that would be edited and projected in this Time Window Lab set.

New Military Techniques

Several military techniques such as Infrared, Thermal Imaging, and Heat Impulse visual imagery are utilized in Dj vu, adding further to the realism.

Using Different Cameras

Using different cameras was just another way of getting to the heart of a story that is about the way love and action occur in split-seconds that seem divorced from the usual framework of time. I see different camera sort of like different tools used in an investigation. All the imagery used in Dj vu works to make the story’s mix of romance, crime investigation, and time travel more convincing.