THE STORY BEHIND THE MAKING OF GRIZZLY II. REVENGE
In 1977, I finished and got a diploma from the Hungarian Film Faculty ran by Professor István Nemeskürty who selected me as a first woman being part of this new experimental training to create producers and film writers in Hungary. Prior to this exciting time of my life, I became an economist and studied international law and trade in the Budapest University.
In 1978, I moved to New York City and worked as a representative of the Hungarian film industry for the US territory. After 3 movies behind me in 1982, I formed my own company to work with indie producers as a co-producer.
Going to the Russian headquarters to obtain the location for an American movie for a Woodstock-size rock concert in Hungary was unheard of. The event was taking place in 1983 when Hungary was behind the iron curtain.
After getting the permit, we started to build a gigantic stage with a Phoenix bird imitating Yellowstone National Park where we were waiting for 40-50 thousand visitors for the concert. My American partner had me do everything alone during pre-production. He sent us the Rolling Stone stage and the entire concert scaffold including the workers from England to build the stage. He got first-grade casting for this film.
George Clooney, Laura Dern, Charlie Sheen, Louise Fletcher, John Rhys-Davies, Deborah Raffin, and Dick Anthony Williams were among the casts. The first day of shooting was the most important event—a Woodstock-style concert where a gigantic grizzly bear attacks people. It was a fantastic and mesmerizing day. Everything worked out– the weather, the rock bands, the 40,000 audience.
The principal photography started on Monday. We had 45 days to finish the film. Everything was mapped out. Sunday was a break. Everybody relaxed when the call came to my home. My partner from Chicago was looking for my husband who was not in the film business and asked him to come to the InterContinental Hotel. When he returned he was pale and devastated.
I asked him, “What is wrong?” And he replied, “Joe, your partner, is leaving Hungary. If you want to save the movie, you do what you need to do. He is leaving in half an hour because there is no money for the production.”
I thought this was a joke, but then I realized, I was left alone with 300 members of the film crew from 4 countries.
Suzanne Csikos Nagy
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