Kelly Kazek looks at what became of Spectre:
Spectre was a “town” built as a set for the filming of the movie “Big Fish,” which premiered in December 2003 but had its wide release 10 years ago, in January 2004. With the exception of one scene in Paris, the entire movie was filmed in Alabama, a rarity in a time before the state offered film incentives.
The road and fake trees leading into the town of Spectre, and the buildings, mostly just facades, were never demolished but were left to the elements.
We shot Big Fish primarily in Wetumpka, Alabama. The town of Spectre was constructed on a privately-owned island.
In the film, you see Spectre in three incarnations:
- The magical little town young Edward encounters at the start of the film.
- The rundown early-80s version after the road is build.
- The fixed-up version after Edward gets everyone to sign on to a trust.
We shot the rundown version last, so that’s what remains on the island: the ruins of the ruins.
Spectre doesn’t exist in the musical version of Big Fish. Instead, Edward’s home town of Ashton plays a much bigger role, ultimately becoming the town he needs to save at the end.
Several years ago, Derek Frey (Tim Burton’s assistant for Big Fish) visited the Spectre sets to see how they were holding up. You can see his photos on Flickr.