Buses on Screen > Films > Films S > Speed (1994, Keanu Reeves, Sandra Bullock, Dennis Hopper)

Speed (1994, Keanu Reeves, Sandra Bullock, Dennis Hopper)
In an early scene a Grumman (fleet number 4728) of (fictional) Santa Monica Transit is blown up on Rose Street, Santa Monica.
Central to the story is GM New Look fleet number 2525; in fact a total of 16 New Looks were used, including five 5303s and two 4519s from San Diego Transit, a 5303 from Dallas Transit via Lake Elsinore Transit and a Los Angeles Transit 5301 (fleet number 5233), also a T6H 5305A which had been a demonstrator, and a Flxible New Look (4300) used for sound effects. Many were supplied by Loren Joplin at Dreamliner Bus Leasing And Service. Two 4519s were used for the jump scene. Sharp eyes can pick out the differences between the buses seen on screen, and there are numerous 'bloopers', including an advertising frame left hanging askew, then later seen intact, then askew again. Also the bus suffers damage to the driver's side corner when it hits a police car - the damage disappears and reappears!
Different buses were modified for different sequences, all were retrofitted with power steering. The speedometers are actually from 1956 or 1957 Ford Thunderbirds. Scott Richards of Regional Transit Service worked on the film for six months, and notes: "Most of the buses remained identical throughout the movie as we had to do it ourselves. In a crash scene if one window got broken, we had to go to that window on every bus and break it, same with dents and scrapes. Sometimes we over looked things and that is very visible to someone that was actually there and doing the work. I cannot sit through the entire movie and not point out all the things that weren't quite right. None of the bus scenes were shot at any real speed. I don't think that we ever got above about 30mph even for the most elaborate crashes including the offramp and city street scenes."
The 5303 used for all the interior shots ('driven' by Sandra Bullock) actually had a small platform built on the roof, so that it could be driven from there. This is as close as you get to seeing it during the movie.
TDH 5301 bus 5233 was used for the undercarriage scenes. It was raised almost three feet into the air and was chain driven by a Mopar engine mounted over the rear axle. It had a top speed of eight miles per hour.
Another bus was modified so that it could be driven from the right side of the bus from the second forward facing seat.
Two 4519s had the front ends removed, these were sold to Planet Hollywood for displays, possibly in Florida and Dallas, Texas. Of the Flxible, Scott Richards noted: "I drove that bus about 50mph down dirt back roads in Murrieta California for 4 days for them to get all the sounds they wanted. By that time the bus was just unbearable."
Only one bus made it through filming without any damage. It was touted as the 'Hero Bus' and was driven to cinemas across the USA for opening nights.
Scott Richards notes: "The first jump bus went through the wooden ramp instead of up it and was wrecked. The actual jump bus was a 4519 and it did make a jump long enough and high enough to get the shot and to get the bus off the ground.
However, it's all really just done by camera angles and editing. We hollowed the bus out, took out all the seats, windows, flooring, interior panels, everything to make it as light as possible. After this shot was done the bus was trucked to Murrieta where I removed the rebuilt power pack and installed it into a TDH 5303 bus I was restoring at the time. We had to weld the steering into a straight position so basically the bus was unmovable without a lot of work."
Several sequences feature one of the cameras:
This shot shows it wasn't always Sandra at the wheel:
Nitpickers can find the other inconsistencies, but here's one already mentioned: Check the length of the dangling advertising board as the bus hurtles towards an airliner at the end of its journey:
A few minutes before that board had fallen off altogether!
.....but don't let it spoil your enjoyment of a thrilling action film. The freeway and jump scenes were shot on the then incomplete 105 freeway in the Compton/Lynwood area of Los Angeles.
A modified MAN SU240 ultra-low floor bus (bodied by Austrian manufacturer Graf & Stift) appears at the airport. (thanks Steve Fermie)
There is also a fleeting glimpse of a local GMC RTS, and the movie finishes with a minibus of 'Starline Tours':
(This entry compiled from numerous posts at the GMFIshbowl Yahoo Group.)
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