Inside 'Get Smart'


Steve Carell with Masi Oka and Nate Torrence looking over one of the gadgets used in the film.
Steve Carell with Masi Oka and Nate Torrence looking over one of the gadgets used in the film.
Photo courtesy Tracy Bennett/Warner Bros. Pictures

The "Get Smart" filmmakers had two valuable research references in devising props for the movie: a DVD set of episodes from the original series and the Internet.

"If you go online and type in 'Get Smart' collectors, everything comes up," says Tim Wiles, the property master on the movie. "We located some actual props from the series."

The original shoe phone is in the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. A defunct prop house used by the series sold off many props, but Internet searches helped Wiles locate items like "a double barreled gun that shot in two different directions."

The series' inevitably malfunctioning Cone of Silence reappears -- enhanced with CG effects -- but as outlandish as it is, director Segal claims that it really existed.

"They had one in the American Embassy in Moscow. The cones went over you and they played a disc of music to block out the noise. But just like in our movie, it didn't work very well."

Max's supped-up Swiss Army knife fit the bill. A brainchild of supervising art director James Hegedus and production designer Wynn Thomas, the gizmo fires flames, darts, a harpoon and a grappling hook.

The darts come into play in a scene in an airplane bathroom, where Max becomes his own target. "Some of the darts had little wire pieces sticking out that we put through and taped to the interior of Steve's clothes, and we glued them to his face," Wiles reveals.

Another prop, 99's dental floss detonator, was also made in multiple. "We had quite a few, including one you could actually pull floss out of," relates Wiles.

Wiles' trickiest challenges involved a bead curtain and a powder compact. "Steve moves the beads and they all fall down-it looks like such a simple gag," he begins. "But we had the beads running through little screw eyes on the floor, and they didn't release properly. We had to do that one four times." After that, of course, "The beads were everywhere."

While particular scenes proved difficult to shoot, where they were being shot was equally difficult. Read on to find out about each location shoot.