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Bug bites, killer snakes, all in a day's work for "Anaconda" stars

scenes April 10, 1997
Web posted at: 4:20 a.m. EST

From correspondent Julie Jorgenson

HOLLYWOOD (CNN) -- Mix Hollywood veteran John Voight with rapper Ice Cube and a huge people-eating, village-destroying snake and you've got "Anaconda," the latest over-the-top action-adventure tale to hit the big screen.

To make "Anaconda," the cast and crew journeyed far from the safety of a Hollywood sound stage into the heart of South America's Amazon basin.

"Imagine the most beautiful place in the world that you've ever seen and multiply it by 100," said actor Eric Stoltz.

It appears to have been a life-changing experience for all involved in this snake-crazed flick. Voight says the five weeks in Brazil gave him a new respect for the rain forest and the people who live there.

"The tropical jungles are very impressive but they're oppressive too. The heavy heat, teaming with life, but very majestic," Voight said. "It's an amazing thing."

For rap-star turned actor Ice Cube it was the unknown that made the biggest impression.

"You're looking at all this creepy, crawly stuff but at least you can see it," he says. "But when you get in the water. You can't see anything. You don't know what's under there."

Real threat

What's under there, in the film at least, is a 40-foot Anaconda. Death and destruction can't be far behind.

On the set, however, it was the dreaded brown recluse spider that ate Stoltz for lunch.

"I had 18 puss-filled blisters the size of golf balls all around my feet and ankles. I literally could not walk," Stoltz says. "No one knew what they were so they had to get an Indian doctor who didn't speak English who came in and lanced them."

In the movie, as in the jungle, there's action and danger around every bend. For Stoltz, it was all the ingredients he needed for adventure.

"I think it's just a hoot. It's big silly fun and you'll go and yell at the screen, turn away and then look, then feel stupid," he says. "It's a lot more fun to watch than it was to make."


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