Key Largo, Florida – The iconic bridge explosion scene from the 1994 film “True Lies” involved a combination of practical effects and miniatures, as revealed by a recent article at the visual effects publication Befores & Afters. The sequence, in which the Marines launch missiles at the bridge to stop trucks carrying stolen nuclear warheads, was a result of meticulous planning and execution.
According to Leslie Ekker, who supervised the sequence for Stetson Visual Services, the plaster bridge model used for the explosion was an impressive 100 meters long, one meter wide, and three meters tall. The level of detail put into crafting the miniature meant that it could only be blown up once, making the filming process all the more challenging.
One of the crucial aspects of the scene was creating the perfect explosion. Ekker explained that the explosion had to be carefully orchestrated to ensure that it looked visually stunning on screen. It was important to show flames and debris filling the screen, rather than the model simply disintegrating in a puff of dust.
In order to achieve the desired effect, Ekker emphasized the importance of using the right amount of pyrotechnics. Overloading the plaster model with pyro would result in the model disappearing too quickly, so a slow explosion was necessary to capture all the details of the bridge collapsing in the film.
The combination of practical effects in the Florida Keys and the use of a massive plaster miniature for the bridge explosion showcases the creativity and ingenuity behind the scenes of “True Lies.” This behind-the-scenes insight provides a deeper appreciation for the intricate work that goes into creating memorable moments in cinema.