10 Movies That Took Extreme Measures To Shoot Scenes

By any means necessary.

Vanilla Sky Tom Cruise
Paramount Pictures

Even with a blockbuster-sized budget, a massive crew, and an ultra-talented cast, getting a movie finished is a seemingly Sisyphean exercise in perseverance.

What we end up watching on a cinema screen is so often a result of compromise, where things didn't go as planned during shooting and the director had to get creative on-the-fly.

But then there are filmmakers who simply wouldn't accept no for an answer, and as such took frankly ridiculous measures to ensure a scene was shot and executed exactly as they imagined it.

These 10 movie scenes, whether an ultimately minuscule snippet of a movie or a huge, grandstanding set-piece, all could've been pulled off a number of different ways - most of them easier or less-expensive - and yet, each director opted to do things the hard way for a more impactful end result.

Whether navigating the frustrating mundanities of filmmaking or committing serious resources to pulling off a minor cinematic miracle, these scenes all exist as they do because the director dared to go the extra mile - and then some...

10. A Real 1.5-Mile Freeway Was Built - The Matrix Reloaded

Vanilla Sky Tom Cruise
Warner Bros.

The standout set-piece in the second Matrix movie is undeniably the exhilarating freeway chase, during which Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) and Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) attempt to get the Keymaker (Randall Duk Kim) to safety.

Though most viewers likely assumed the bulk of the scene was shot on a green screen soundstage, that's actually not the case at all.

Rather, armed with a $150 million budget, the Wachowskis decided to build a real, functional 1.5-mile stretch of freeway on a decommissioned Naval Air Station to the tune of $2.5 million.

That's just the practical cost of construction, though: when you factor in the extensive VFX employed in the final version of the scene, it clearly ended up costing many, many times that.

Even so, the fact that the Wachowskis did things "the hard way" where possible, rather than just keying everything in after-the-fact, is an impressive commitment to practical filmmaking craft.


Stay at home dad who spends as much time teaching his kids the merits of Martin Scorsese as possible (against the missus' wishes). General video game, TV and film nut. Occasional sports fan. Full time loon.