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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — It’s a milestone day in Hollywood East. “Journey 2: The Mysterious Island” opened today. It’s the first big production shot on the so-called Dream Stage at Screen Gems.

The movie features special effects and underwater scenes never before shot in 3-D. Many of them were shot in Wilmington.

Reed Duke is a commercial diver who went from cleaning boats and spearfishing to movie production.

“We were mainly in charge of keeping them safe,” Duke said of his work with the film’s actors. “We had their stunt doubles come in, and we did emergency plans with them if something were to happen how to get them up real quickly. Everything was safe and secure before the actors got into the water.”

One of the highlights for Duke was a scene he shot with Dwayne Johnson in the million-gallon tank at Screen Gems.

“One scene in particular using a harpoon, he actually threw the harpoon so hard it hit the camera,” Duke said. “So last night in 3-D that harpoon looked like it was coming right at you, and you actually ducked to the side. It was neat to see that, especially the 3-D side of it.”

“Journey 2” was a big production with big names, including Oscar-winner Michael Caine.

The production was the first after “Avatar” to use the latest technology designed by filmmaker James Cameron. In fact, it took those tools to the next level.

“That was a really cool experience,” Duke said. “To be able to see some of the scenes from the other end of the camera was a really neat experience.”

Reed enjoyed working on “Journey 2” and hopes this effort shows more producers what the Port City has to offer.

“I really hope so,” he said. “The crew in Wilmington is first class. I’ve been to Alabama and worked with other crews, and it really put it in perspective coming back here how good our crews really are.”

Another high-tech production is ready to put the Port City to the test. “Iron Man 3” is scheduled to set up shop at screen gems in the next few months.

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