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Just like comedians famously always want to play Hamlet, movie stars, especially those of the action variety, always seem to want to either/or act in straight drama and direct. Directing his own vehicles proved the route to critical respectability for Clint Eastwood, so what the hell, why shouldn't everyone have a go? From the studio's point of view it's worth a try too, after all, Costner didn't do a bad job with Dances With Wolves. Maybe these actor types aren't so faft after all.

Steven Seagal, probably the nearest screen equivalent to the younger Clint Eastwood, was originally slated to direct his breakthrough into the big leagues, Under Siege, after co-producing most of his previous hits. As it transpired, he had to wait until now to make his debut behind the camera with On Deadly Ground.

Director Steven Seagal "ON DEADLY GROUND"

After Under Siege, which was given a major boost by a top-of-the-line supporting cast including Tommy Lee Jones and Gary Busey, Seagal has learned to surround himself with the best. In On Deadly Ground that includes Michael Caine (who colud do with being in a hit) and Joan Chen, from The Last Emperor and Oliver Stone's Heaven And Earth.

Unlike Eastwood, who began his directoral career with the relatively small scale Play Misty For Me and Breezy, Seagal took on the script for a tough Alaskan shoot, where howling blizzards one day can be followed by temperatures in the nineties the next, with blizzards, explosions, oil fires, dogsleds and oil chases.



The Aikido master turned world famous actor also refused to make a carbon copy of the action films that had made him a star, with its concerns about the ecology and the rights of native Americans, On Deadly Ground wears its heart on its sleeve. "This is a picture that I care deeply about", says the first time director. "If it wasn't something special, I wouldn't have gone to the great effort and risk".

The quality of the script was also a major factor in attracting such a big name cast to the project. "I wouldn't have come and done a crash, bang martial arts film", says Michael Caine. "There's more to On Deadly Ground than that. Although we have an exciting piece of entertainment, the film does carry an important message as well".


A commitment to the project was sorely needed by the production team during the arduous location shoot. Apart from the predictable problems caused by the weather, many locations were inaccessible by road. This didn't stop Joan Chen from travelling to Alaska before filming began to research her character, an Inuit activist. "I tried to learn the Inuit language and something about their culture", she explains. Their way of life is so beautiful. It's a simple, basic life, with a complete lack of greed".

Other aspects of the production strived to be just as srupulously accurate to the Inuit way of life. Production designer William skinner and costume designer Joe Aulisi referred to tradditional Inuit designs when depicting the Native American aspects of the film, in contrast to the ultra-modern offices and refineries of Aegis Oil. To ensure accuracy, two technical advisers were hired, Brian Westcott and Leona Blink (the wife of Chief Irvin Blink, who plays Joan Chen's tribal chief father in the film), both native Alaskans.

Taken From Impact Action Movie Magazine - April 1994 Issue
Source: Mr.Craig Robertson

Background Music-Coban Yildizi (means:morning star - venus)
Composed & Conducted by: Melih Kibar

Suzi   2005