Since ‘99 has had its share of disasters (Hurricane Floyd, Dan Quayle’s campaign, Wasteland), it seems fitting that the year’s final sweeps month would feature a Richter-rockin’ earthquake. In Aftershock: Earthquake in New York, CBS’ four-hour, $20 million miniseries (airing Nov. 14 and 16), a mid-afternoon Manhattan temblor KOs the Statue of Liberty (take that, Independence Day), levels City Hall, and makes mincemeat out of the Brooklyn Bridge. ”People don’t think about earthquakes in New York City,” says Brooklyn-bred Lisa Nicole Carson (Ally McBeal, ER), who braves the tremor trauma alongside Tom Skerritt, Sharon Lawrence, and Charles S. Dutton. ”There’s so much more to worry about there.”
Perhaps that’s why much of the production took place in Vancouver, with digital effects and models standing in for the Big Apple. F/X-perts spent six weeks constructing a 24-foot-tall fiberglass Lady Liberty—only to see her botch her film debut by crumbling in the wrong direction (luckily, they’d kept the mold). Other sequences were equally tricky: A harrowing subway-derailment demanded shots of both Lionel-esque train cars (chugging along mini tracks at 35 mph) and a life-size counterpart (rigged to tip all the way on its side). ”I was harnessed in this thing that looks like something you’d find at an S&M store, and [then] flung into the window,” says Carson. In other words, it was just your average everyday subway ride.