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By Ron Magid, Special to The Times
When director Frank Darabont needed sentient fog to star in his latest Stephen King adaptation, he didn't rely on high-tech visual effects. Instead, he called his longtime special-effects coordinator, Darrell Pritchett ("The Green Mile," "The Majestic"), and asked him to figure out a way to wrangle some actual ethereal condensation for "The Mist." "This was not an expensive movie, so everything we could do practically was definitely a bonus," Pritchett says.
Although visual effects are generally executed after production has wrapped, special effects must be achieved on set, often while crew and actors wait. Pritchett has made a career of making real-world elements do the impossible on cue, supplying such events as natural disaster -- rain, wind, snow, fire -- and war on demand. He and his handpicked crew have traveled the world wreaking havoc, "but only on film!" he says.