The online mien of Benjamin Nowicki

The Jackal

The Jackal
(Universal Pictures)
Credited as: Locations Assistant (Chicago)


My first movie…. A true baptism by fire. I worked as the Locations Intern. I had many exciting experiences on this film, including a tugboat ride into Lake Michigan to scout water filtration structures, and another boat ride on an old Navy Yard patrol boat. Probably the most surreal moment was when a group of German auto tourists drove up in a line of miniscule East German automobiles painted up like racing cars, blocking the way for all of our company’s trucks. Picture it: twenty belligerent German tourists getting out of their cars at the crack of dawn to have their picture taken with the production equipment. Meanwhile, the Teamster captain was looking to kill anyone from the Locations Department. Enter the Intern…. I kept thinking the whole time that the cameras were turned the wrong way. There were many fantastic locations on this film. There was one scene that never made it into the theatrical release, but is on the DVD (I believe). This scene was probably as visually interesting as any in the film. The camera dollies around Richard Gere in the middle of a Russian neighborhood in New York as he talks on a cell phone with the Jackal. But the Russian neighborhood in New York is actually a Mexican neighborhood in Chicago. What a tapestry that was, as seen from behind the camera. Picture a fiercely independent Mexican neighborhood transformed to contain a Russian neighborhood, replete with dozens of storefronts and signs in Cyrillic. Some of the street signs were actual New York street signs with icons of the Statue of Liberty on them. And the humanity: imported Russian actors portraying thugs, civilians, and businessmen, mingling with the Hispanic locals who were lining the periphery of where Hollywoods ends and Chicago began again. You can see the “Russian thug” character – a chain-smoker with multiple facial scars and an aggressive manner who was cast as a bit player – in the deleted scenes on the DVD. I dealt with this guy personally and I swear that he was an actual Russian Mafioso.

Plot Outline: Russian mobster Terek Murad has declared open season on the Russian militia and the FBI over the shooting of his brother in a Moscow nightclub. He hires the Jackal, a nasty assassin whom nobody has even seen, to kill some high-ranking person in the American government. With nowhere to turn, FBI Deputy Director Carter Preston enlists the reluctant services of Declan Mulqueen, an imprisoned IRA sniper, to track the Jackal down, for Declan is the only person who can positively identify the Jackal.

Directed by:
Michael Caton-Jones

Cast overview:
Bruce Willis …. The Jackal
Richard Gere …. Declan Mulqueen
Sidney Poitier …. Carter Preston
Diane Venora …. Valentina Koslova
Mathilda May …. Isabella
J.K. Simmons …. Witherspoon
Richard Lineback …. McMurphy
John Cunningham (I) …. Donald Brown
Jack Black (I) …. Lamont
Tess Harper …. The First Lady