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Take Off: Making 'The Terminal' (2004)

How the cast and crew brought The Terminal (2004) to fruition, a more lighthearted but still powerful film from director Steven Spielberg.


Laurent Bouzereau


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Credited cast:
Walter F. Parkes ... Himself (as Walter Parkes)
Tom Hanks ... Himself
Catherine Zeta-Jones ... Herself
Barry Shabaka Henley ... Himself
Sacha Gervasi ... Himself
Alex McDowell ... Himself
Patricia Witcher Patricia Witcher ... Herself
Janusz Kaminski ... Himself
Steven Spielberg ... Himself
Mary Zophres ... Herself
Stanley Tucci ... Himself
Diego Luna ... Himself
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
David Devlin ... Himself


How the cast and crew brought The Terminal (2004) to fruition, a more lighthearted but still powerful film from director Steven Spielberg.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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Documentary | Short







Release Date:

23 November 2004 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El despegue: Así se hizo 'La terminal' See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs




Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


This short is featured on the Two-Disc Special Edition and the Three-Disc Limited Edition DVD for The Terminal (2004). See more »


References Intolerable Cruelty (2003) See more »

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User Reviews

I hear the plane is ready by the gateway to take my love away.
14 December 2016 | by Chip_douglasSee all my reviews

Now that we've met all the cast and witnessed the construction of the titular Terminal, this fourth documentary (or sixth if you watched the last one as three separate pieces) covers the main production of the 2004 film by that name. And even though the is focus again how wonderful the giant set was for all involved to work in, we learn enough new insights to make this feature worthwhile.

Producer Walter Parkes mentions that the first two or three weeks were spent filming the scenes set in the cramped quarters of the bureau of homeland security. Not the most visually exciting set. Then they allowed Spielberg and co onto the big cinematic 'T' set, about which nobody has a negative thing to say. Because of the entire film takes place in one location, many crew-members expected this film would be a casual shoot but Spielberg always works fast. He explains that even though the main character Viktor remains in one place, the movie has a tremendous pace. Waiting can be exciting and entertaining.

A large part of this feature is devoted to the efforts of Costume designer Mary Zophres. She had the most fun with the background passengers. 600 extras walked up and down the set for 20 days in a row. And in her mind, Mary created a character for every single person that goes in front of the camera by giving them special props to carry and items of clothing to wear. Main character Viktor wears the same suit he came into the country with up until he decides not to leave the terminal. Then he settles down, first wearing more clothes he brought with him, and eventually a new Hugo Boss to impress his date.

Speaking of Cathine Zeta-Jones, she gives a shout out to her personal stylists and also only has tree main outfits in the film. Meanwhile Stanley Tucci had a bonding moment with Mary when they both decided at the same time that a tie wasn't right for his character. The visual effects team also became involved with various wardrobe items when stunts were needed.

Two of Steven Spielberg's most frequent collaborators, Director of Photography Janusz Kaminski and editor Mike Kahn receive special attention. The set was constantly being elegantly lit by Kaminski, who made it look like actual sunlight during the many daytime scenes. The tone of the lighting changes as Viktor adapts to his situation, starting off very blue and cold looking. When he starts to settle into his home, and the audience warms to Viktor, the colors change to more warm, yellow and orange tones.

After working together on 17 out of Steven's 21 films, Steven claims he and editor Michael Kahn are basically one and the same person now. Steven finishes up by confessing he felt that had to take a break from serious films after a run of dark films in the late nineties and early 2000's and wanted to make another feel good movie like the similarly lighthearted Catch Me If You Can two years earlier.

Now that we've settled down, keep relaxing because up next is "In Flight Service: The Music of the Terminal".

7 out of 10

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