Taglines: On July 2nd, it’s a whole new west.
Jim West is a guns-a-blazing former Civil War hero. Artemus Gordon is an inventive U.S. Marshal who excels in disguise. When the United States is threatened by psychotic Confederate Arliss Loveless, President Ulysses Grant teams the duo up to bring him to justice. On a hazard-packed train journey from Washington D.C. to Utah, West and Gordon must combine their skills to best Loveless and his diabolical machines.
Wild Wild West is a 1999 American steampunk western action comedy film directed by Barry Sonnenfeld. It was written by S. S. Wilson and Brent Maddock (whose previous collaborations include the Short Circuit and Tremors franchises), along with Jeffrey Price and Peter S. Seaman. A big-screen adaptation of the 1960s TV series The Wild Wild West, it stars Will Smith, Kevin Kline (who appears in dual roles as one of the two protagonists Artemus Gordon and as President Ulysses S. Grant), Kenneth Branagh and Salma Hayek.
Similar to the series, the film features a large amount of gadgetry. It serves as a parody; however, as the gadgetry is more highly advanced, implausible steampunk technology and bizarre mechanical inventions, including innumerable inventions of the mechanological geniuses Artemus Gordon and Dr. Loveless, such as nitroglycerine-powered penny-farthing bicycles, spring-loaded notebooks, bulletproof chain mail, flying machines, steam tanks, and Loveless’s giant mechanical spider.
Principal photography began in 1998. The sequences on both Artemus Gordon’s and Dr. Loveless’s trains interiors were shot on sets at Warner Bros. The train exteriors were shot in Idaho on the Camas Prairie Railroad. The Wanderer is portrayed by the Baltimore & Ohio 4-4-0 No. 25, one of the oldest operating steam locomotives in the U.S. Built in 1856 at the Mason Machine Works in Taunton, Massachusetts, it was later renamed The “William Mason” in honor of its manufacturer.
During pre-production the engine was sent to the steam shops at the Strasburg Railroad for restoration and repainting. The locomotive is brought out for the B&O Train Museum in Baltimore’s “Steam Days”. The “William Mason” and the “Inyo”, which was the locomotive used in the original television series, both appeared in the Disney film The Great Locomotive Chase (1956).
Much of the ‘Wild West’ footage was shot around Santa Fe, New Mexico, particularly at the western town set at the Cooke Movie Ranch. During the shooting of a sequence involving stunts and pyrotechnics, a planned building fire grew out of control and quickly overwhelmed the local fire crews that were standing by. Much of the town was destroyed before the fire was contained.
Wild Wild West (1999)
Directed by: Barry Sonnenfeld
Starring: Will Smith, Kevin Kline, Kenneth Branagh, Salma Hayek, Ted Levine, M. Emmet Walsh, Frederique Van Der Wal, Musetta Vander, Sofia Eng, Garcelle Beauvais
Screenplay by: S. S. Wilson, Brent Maddock, Jeffrey Price, Peter S. Seaman
Production Design by: Bo Welch
Cinematography by: Michael Ballhaus
Film Editing by: Jim Miller
Costume Design by: Deborah Lynn Scott
Set Decoration by: Cheryl Carasik
Art Direction by: Tom Duffield
Music by: Elmer Bernstein
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for action violence, sex references and innuendo.
Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures
Release Date: June 30, 1999