- Val Verde (fictional country)
Val Verde is a
fictional countryused by Hollywood filmmakers when they require a South/Central American country without getting into legal or diplomatic disputes. In general it is a Spanish-speaking country resembling Cubaor Nicaragua.
It has appeared in a number of films and television programs:
*"Commando" (1985), Arius (
Dan Hedaya) is the former ruler of Val Verde and sends John Matrix ( Arnold Schwarzenegger) to kill the current president but he escapes en route. [ [http://www.fast-rewind.com/commando.htm Commando (fast-rewind.com)] ]
*"Predator" (1987), the majority of the film takes place inside Val Verder, after a Guatemalan helicopter crashes across the border, and a retrieval team is sent to retrieve the passengers.
*"Supercarrier" (1988) the "USS Georgetown" commanded by Capt. Henry K. 'Hank' Madigan (
Dale Dye) docks in Val Verde just as civil war breaks out.
Die Hard 2" (1990), General Ramon Esperanza ( Franco Nero) is from Val Verde.
Adventure Inc." (2003), Episode 10 of Season 1 was titled "Plague Ship of Val Verde". [imdb episode|0505574|Plague Ship of Val Verde]
Shared personnel link all appearances. "Commando", "Die Hard 2" and "Adventure Inc." were written by
Steven E. de Souza, "Commando" and "Predator" star Schwarzenegger, and all three films were produced by Joel Silver; de Souza produced the ABC TVseries "Supercarrier".
Steven de Souza has also set the Devil's Due
comic book"Sheena" in Val Verde and described his reason for using it: [ [http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=12268 Return of the Queen: de Souza Talks "Sheena"] , Comic Book Resources, January 7, 2008]
"It's something like Guyana, a country which encompasses lush Caribbean resorts popular with tourists, an unexplored mysterious rainforest, and a mix of Anglo, Spanish, African, Creole and indigenous cultures. This is a country of the imagination I've used in several films and TV programs, which I thought was my little inside baseball joke, but Eric Lichtenfield, the author of 'Actions Speak Louder,' recently sent me a Wikipedia page on it! Seriously, my Dad's family is from that part of the world and it's something I can write about with some familiarity."
Val Verde has principally been used as a plot device or location in place of real
Latin Americancountries in action and adventure movies, as a particular result of America's rocky relations with many nations in the region during the 1980s.
When glimpsed in "Commando", it appears to be a poor nation, where subsistence agriculture (ie. livestock) is side-by-side with military propaganda and constant military presence. Inhabitants appear poor but happy, and there is evidence of a trade embargo reminiscent of that placed on
Cubain the presence of battered but functional vintage1950s cars.
In "Commando", Val Verde is presided over by President Velázquez, an apparently capitalist leader installed by an American-backed
revolutionassisted by Colonel John Matrixand Captain Bennett, during which the nefarious General Ariuswas deposed. Arius intends to force Matrix to help him reinstate his dictatorship, but is thwarted.
In "Die Hard 2", General Ramon Esperanza (
Franco Nero) is a General in exile, awaiting trial in the United States. He is aided by former special forces members to escape from his prison plane. Esperanza is wanted by the U.S. government for drug trafficking, but the leader of the rogue special forces, Colonel Stuart, wishes to free Esperanza because he "stands up to communist aggression."
In "Predator", apart from the presence of jungle
guerillas, there is no reference to the country's political state. The presence of Soviet military advisors at the guerrilla camp would seem to indicate an alignment towards the Second World.
In "Supercarrier" a US Navy carrier is present in Val Verde when civil war breaks out and is forced to step in; this violation of Pentagon protocol, though entirely fictional, precipitated the withdrawal of Navy participation from the series.
As well as studio shots, other locations have been used to portray Val Verde on film:
Long Beach Airportwas used for the main airport in "Commando"
San Pedro, Californiawas used for the port of Val Verde on "Supercarrier", while Valencia, Californiastood in for the countryside.
San Simeon, Californiastood in for the beaches in "Commando"
Puerto Vallartahad previous appeared in " The Night of the Iguana" and was used as the principal filming location for "Predator", despite the objections of John McTiernanand Donald McAlpine. The early beach shots were taken at Puerto Vallarta and jungle scenes were shot slightly further inland. When more money was released by Fox, McTiernan was able to shoot in his preferred location around Palenque(including the Misol-Ha waterfall) and about half of the final film came from this round of shooting.
*"Beautiful Monsters: The Unofficial and Unauthorised Guide to the Alien and Predator Films" (footnote 34, page 148, by
David A. McIntee, Telos, 272 pages, 2005, ISBN 1903889944)
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