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When the construction crew arrived at Gracey Rock to transform a piece of land on the banks of the Sibun river into the fictional town of Jeronimo, the whole set was built to last. Once filming was complete, some of the buildings seen in the movie were taken over by the local homeless, whilst others were converted into community centres. During the clearing of the site a twenty-foot-high piece of rock was uncovered which was found to mark the spot of an unrecorded Mayan temple site.
Harrison Ford's skill as a carpenter were called upon during production - the pedal-driven washing machine seen in the movie is actually Ford's own design. Whilst looking around the newly constructed set with his keen eye for detail, he announced, "This is the wrong type of lathe. Allie would have a metal lathe, not just a wood lathe." A suitable metal lathe was quickly shipped to the remote location as a result.
It is not clear if narcotics or alcohol were present during the shoot. Many years later River was to say, "It was like living in the drug capital of the Northern Hemisphere. I know drugs were rampant everywhere in town. I've been so much more exposed than my folks think." Cans of Coke and Mars Bars were, officially anyway, the most questionable things River was caught with. These were items that were banned by the Phoenix family as part of their strict vegan and green lifestyle.
Director, Peter Weir
During the making of this movie, River started dating his first girlfriend, his co-star Martha Plimpton who played Emily Spellgood. This relationship was to continue for many years. He also played a lot of music on the set and told everyone he wanted to become a rock star like his idol, Sting. This would also explain him considering changing his name to simply Rio, the Spanish word for River.
"There are people in New York that live on pet-food and would kill you for a quarter. You don't dare take a walk for fear somebody will stick a knife in your ribs! Think about it.... You stay home, and they come in through the windows! Ten-year-old homicidal maniacs on every street corner!"