Troy: The Burning of Troy
After all the scenes taking place in the picturesque City of Troy were shot, the production faced the final stage of their shooting in Malta ‘ burning their creation to the ground. Filming the sacking of Troy demanded an enormous amount of meticulous planning, coordination, and labor. “It was one of the biggest outdoor fire jobs that’s been done since Gone With the Wind,” relates special effects supervisor Joss Williams. “Ours was slightly different from that one because it was controlled and we could turn it off ‘ whereas with them, they just lit it and off it went.”
Thousands of feet of gas piping laid by Williams’ crew were connected to five liquid propane tanks set up behind the buildings along the Trojan streets and controlled by a system of 350 individually operated valves. Each tank had a capacity of 5,000 cubic liters of gas which could be used as either a vapor or a liquid. If used in liquid form, it expanded the flame density by 270 times the intensity of the vapor. Into this volatile mix were thrown Simon Crane’s stunt team ‘ along with actors Brad Pitt, Brian Cox and Sean Bean.
Making sure no one was injured during the choreographed mayhem was of great importance to 2nd unit director Crane and the filmmakers.
“Safety is obviously a very, very big concern,” the veteran stunt coordinator explains. “That’s why we rely so heavily on rehearsal. The more you rehearse, the more you’ve minimized the risk. We rehearsed the sacking for weeks before we shot the scene. Even with that precaution, something can always go wrong, so we had a reliable group of paramedics and vehicles standing by, as well as several evacuation plans.”
Due to the extensive preparation and vigilance on the part of everyone involved in the planning and execution, no one was hurt during the filming of the spectacular sequence.