An in depth look at the film career of Anthony Hopkins

The Edge (1997) Movie Review

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The Edge (originally titled Bookworm)

This adventure, thriller movie starring Anthony Hopkins and Alec Baldwin has to be one of the top ten movies Hopkins has made.  Set in Alaska the scenery is spectacularly beautiful.  It is a story of pride, survival, jealousy and mind games with bear fighting action.  No one is what they seem to be in The Edge.

Anthony Hopkins plays the well-read, well-spoken billionaire Charles Morse, Elle Macpherson is the glamorous Mickey Morse, his very much younger model wife and Alec Baldwin is Robert Green (Bob) a photographer who “likes his coffee like his women – bitter and murky”.

Anthony Hopkins and Elle Macpherson "The Edge" 1997

Charles & Mickey Morse

It is Charles Morse’s birthday and he has accompanied his wife on a photographic shoot in Alaska, along with Bob and the crew.  Mickey gives Charles an engraved pocket-watch and from another he receives a pocket-knife.  The party are ensconced in a vast, rustic log cabin, complete with bear skins over the couch and antlers everywhere – they are in bear country.

Anthony Hopkins as Charles Morse is well-dressed and suave, befitting his billionaire status but he misses nothing, including his wife with Bob as he observes their photo shoot, whilst sitting reading a book called “Lost in the Wilds”.

Alec Baldwin & Elle Macpherson The Edge 1997

Bob and Mickey

The director of the shoot wants a picture of a red Indian and on the advice of a local man, he plans to go and seek out this red Indian some miles away in the sea plane.  Mickey is insistant that Charles goes with them, while she remains at the lodge.  On the plane trip one of the film crew asks Bob about his new watch and again Charles does not miss this coincidence.  Minutes before the plane flies into a flock of birds Charles says:

“So what do you value me for, Bob?”
Bob replies, I like your style, your wife’s pretty cute too.”
Charles adds, So how are you planning to kill me?”

The question is not answered ……..SEE THIS MOVIE!!

Best Movie Quote: (just after Charles has killed a bear!)

Charles Morse & Bart the Bear

Charles Morse & Bart the Bear

Charles: “For all my life, I’ve have wanted to do something that was, um, that was unequivocal”.
Bob: “Well, Charlie, I certainly think this qualifies”.
Charles: “Or something”.
Bob: “See, Charles, that’s why they call it personal growth. A month ago, old Smokey here would’ve reared up, you probably would’ve called your lawyer”!
Charles: “Nah, I wouldn’t do that to an animal”.

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The Making of The Edge

Video producer Doug Knutson is the composites editor who skillfully shot the footage featuring the12-foot, 1,600-pound snarling grizzly bear named Bart to appear as if the real bear was actually in the same scene as Anthony Hopkins and Alec Baldwin, however the two were actually shot separately and then cleverly lined up together to appear seemless – some feat!  The bear shots were done first, then the actors were filmed (they had to imagine the bear was there).  Knutson’s job was to blend the two together to give the director a preview to ensure Hopkins’ and Baldwin’s reactions matched the pose of the bear.

Anthony Hopkins & Alec Baldwin The Edge 1997

Anthony Hopkins & Alec Baldwin The Edge 1997

The movie crew were on location for over a month in the Canadian Rockies near Canmore and whilst filming Anthony Hopkins injured his back and had to be hospitalized for 3 days so a double had to be used for a few shots, then it was Knutson’s job to edit Anthony Hopkins head onto the body double! Hopkins, despite having had micro-surgery only missed one day of shooting and returned even though the role was very punishing physically.

Bart, the bear was brought from Utah along with his trainers to Banff National Park.  As there were other real bears around in that area, rangers were on standby in case they got near the set but there were no grizzly visitors!

Moraine Lake - filming location of The Edge 1997

Moraine Lake - filming location of The Edge 1997

Banff National Park is full of wildlife – such as bears, cougars, wolves and moose.  One stunning location is Moraine Lake where they spent several days filming, amidst towering snow-capped mountains and the vivid blue lake.  The weather during filming turned to blizzards and both Anthony Hopkins and Alec Baldwin were severely tested by having to learn mountaineering skills, wade through icy waters, run through dense wilderness and endure icy rain storms for real along with the cast and crew.  Helicopters were utilized to film in steep locations.  The Edge movie director Lee Tamahori didn’t want Hollywood studio sets – he wanted the real ruggedness of this big country.

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