Another major factor in deciding to shoot in Prague was the availability of a panoply of architectural styles (from Beaux Arts to Communist Industrial) that could be utilized as locations. Such an array of structures could potentially offer up production-differing styles for each phase of the film (changing as Wes advances from the “real” world to the Fraternity world).
In addition to the dormant sugar factory, Prague provided such shooting sites as: the famous Strahov Stadium, the largest stadium in the world with seating for 220,000 spectators; Křivoklát Castle, 40km west of the city, begun in the 13th century and reborn several times (now standing thanks to a 19th-century restoration); and other, less distinctive locales (e.g., a disused practice train track, an old wine factory).
One of the most spectacular sequences—the train crash and subsequent tumble of cars into a gorge—was actually filmed in Romania. Locations supervisor Sharp comments, “I’ve researched gorges from Norway to Chile to see which would suit the film best, given the color and the scale. The color and the texture of the rock in the gorge and in the tunnel had to be stone specific to Europe. We needed to distinguish where we were to give us a sense of Wesley’s journey, to prove he’s moved on and to make all the other pieces fit.”
In order to anchor the story in Chicago, production moved from Prague (once principal photography had wrapped) to the Windy City, where exterior and action shots were filmed. Lensing with the main unit lasted two weeks, when the majority of the car chase sequences—Wes and Fox in a lightning-fast, red Viper versus police and other cars—were shot (and where production made use of the famous double-decker highway Wacker Drive, shooting on the ground level, or Lower Wacker). Images of Jolie, McAvoy and Kretschmann filming these car scenes were a regular feature on the local nightly news and splashed daily across the Internet.
Regardless of location, however, the view of the Wanted world is the same—usually through the eyes of Wesley. And that meant visually representing his thoughts, his feelings…and one particular problem.
In his former life, Wesley suffers, as many do, from anxiety and insecurity. This manifests itself to such an extreme that his heart races and he undergoes actual physical and physiological changes—he assumes all of this is due to a severe anxiety attack.
But after being reeled into the Fraternity by Fox, Wesley learns that this condition is actually genetic, passed on to him by his father…and it’s not a curse—it’s actually a gift. With his heart wildly beating, his system is flooded with a gargantuan amount of adrenalin, and as his inner world races, the outer world slows to a crawl.