The Abyss Set

10 Mar, 2007 | FilmHistory

Originally published March 2007 on the now-defunct

I got this link from Binary Bonsai. Anyway, some guys found the abandoned set used on The Abyss and wrote it up. A quote from The Abyss Wikipedia entry:

Underwater scenes were filmed in the containment building of Cherokee Nuclear Power Plant (35.037° N 81.512° W), an unfinished nuclear power plant near Gaffney, South Carolina, in the United States. It took 26.5 million liters (seven million gallons) of water to fill the tank to a depth of 13 meters (40 feet), making it the largest underwater set ever. The depth and length of time spent underwater meant that the cast and crew had to sometimes go through decompression.

Incidentally, you can read an interesting article about Cameron, mostly focused around The Abyss and how they shot things like the rat breathing fluid, shooting in an unfinished reactor, spending 10 hours a day in a wetsuit, etc. I’ve been trying to find a shot of the set in use (I remember seeing an overhead of Cameron and the set below). In the meantime, there are some more great shots of the abandoned set here. There’s a small overhead shot of the set and an interview with Al Giddings, an underwater photographer here.

Anyway, I originally wanted to point out this article appealed to me because I too have gone to extra lengths to visit a set:

Now, after coming all this way, I wasn’t just content with taking photos. No, I hoped the fence and started off to plant my feet on Edoras (the place was deserted, and miles from anything). Unfortunately I had some unforseen obstacles - namely various arms of river that passes Mt Sunday. The first bit, no worries, shoes and socks off and trousers rolled up tp my knees I waded across. I put shoes and socks back on. Then next two arms were much bigger and closer together though, in the end I had to go a long way up to cross wider, shallower bits, walking about with bare feet, looking rather like a hobbit what with my big, reasonably hairy lumps of meat. Finally I had to climb to the summit, easy to start with, but then I went up the near vertical bit and I was huffing and puffing and sweating like a pig by the time I crested the top. I lay down before exploring. Unfortunatley there is no evidence of the buildings - part of the deal the production company did with the DOC (dept of conservation) was to clear up behind them. So I contented myself with taking more photos and standing on the very spot Meduseld was built. Then I noticed a car coming down the track. I hid and dug out my monocular from my pack. It stopped at the gate, after 10 mins watching two people who obviously didn’t know what they were doing either, I started to make my descent. Then I saw another car, staying low I watched it past. Then I made the dash down from Edoras. I had spotted an easier, more direct route from the vantage that Mt Sunday offered, so off I went, down the road that leads to Edoras (I assume built for the production). I crossed the first bit sans shoes and socks. The second bit was deeper (and fater moving), but I couldn’t be bothered looking for another crossing, so off came the trousers and I crossed in my boxers (very refreshing in ice cold river water, especially as it wasn’t a particularly hit day). Made it back to the car okay. The other car that had stopped by the gate had gone. After the event I thought how much trouble I could have been in, if I was caught, but it’s definitely left me with an interesting tale.