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David Cronenberg Reveals How He Lit the Hollywood Sign

Cronenberg Hollywood Sign - H 2013
Cronenberg shot the Hollywood sign from afar on Aug. 20.

The 70-year-old, shooting Robert Pattinson starrer "Map to the Stars," placed the lights a mile and a half away: "It's no different than shining a light from a helicopter."

This story first appeared in the Sept. 13 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. 

David Cronenberg, 70, recently wrapped his first Los Angeles-shot film, Map to the Stars, about a limo driver played by Robert Pattinson.

PHOTOS: Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart's Red-Carpet Romance

The Toronto-bred filmmaker had a mixed U.S.-Canadian crew. "One of the Americans said it was one of the most civilized working conditions he'd experienced in 17 years on set," he says. But that north-of-the-border politeness didn't stop them from rebelling -- just a bit.

Needing to illuminate the famously unlit Hollywood sign for one scene Aug. 20, but not wanting to deal with the bureaucratic hassle and the NIMBYism that would come with a permitting request, they devised a novel way to irradiate it from a mile and a half away using powerful 4K HMI lights.

STORY: Emilia McCarthy, Jayne Heitmeyer Join David Cronenberg's 'Maps to the Stars'

"It's no different than shining a light from a helicopter," says Cronenberg. "I was frankly just surprised to learn the sign wasn't lit in the first place. If it were Paris, it would be lit at night!"