Were the WTC towers added digitally to the NYC skyline in Angles In America?
December 22, 2003 5:56 PM   Subscribe

Any film geeks out there? I recently watched Angels in America on HBO and in the last hour of the film there's a shot of the NYC skyline, with the World Trade Center featured in the shot and in fact ... [more inside]

... in fact, I'm almost certain the WTC was digitally added, which I find interesting symmetry to all the films that rushed to digitally erase the towers from movies released post-9/11.

I don't know when the movie was filmed, yet it seems like it was done after that date. However, IMDB states on its goofs page for the film that no shot of the WTC appears in the film, even though the story takes place from 1985-1990.

They're wrong, as I recall the camera actually lingering on the skyline for a couple of seconds after the actors walked offscreen. Choked me up. Anyone out there know if the towers were digitally added (or, plausibly these days, if the actors were digitally inserted into old stock footage)?
posted by WolfDaddy to Grab Bag (6 answers total)
Response by poster: Gah. "IMDB states on its goofs page".
posted by WolfDaddy at 6:00 PM on December 22, 2003

At the 1:40 mark in Perestroika, Mary Louise Parker is standing in the rain on a rooftop, looking out over the river towards Manhattan, presumably from somewhere in Brooklyn. The World Trade Center towers are somewhat obscured by fog and rain clouds, but they are clearly there. At the end of the scene, the shot is actually centered on the towers, floating in the mist. Is this the part you were thinking of, or is there another one?

If this is it, I'd say almost certainly the towers were added to the background, rather than the scene being added in front of stock footage (although, who knows where they got the tower image from to start with).
posted by JollyWanker at 6:17 PM on December 22, 2003

Response by poster: JW, that's the shot. With all the clouds and fog, the towers look misty and ethereal--which definitely lent to my feeling that the shot was both digitally done and intentionally evocative.
posted by WolfDaddy at 6:38 PM on December 22, 2003

Best answer: Mike Nichols is far too detailed a director for something like that to be anything other than intentional. Even fast forwarded, it's the kind of beautiful, carefully composed shot Nichols is justifiably known for.
posted by JollyWanker at 8:48 PM on December 22, 2003

Made in 2003, and yes the shots were digitally added: New York Post story
posted by filmgoerjuan at 12:11 AM on December 23, 2003

Parker is so good in Angels that I almost didn't notice the towers.

posted by matteo at 10:21 AM on December 23, 2003

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