DP Rober Elswit: Production designer Jack Fisk found this incredible little town [Marfa, Texas] that was once an oil town, and we built all of our sets there and used many of the extras whose families had worked in the oil fields. If that hadn’t been done so well, I don’t think the film would have worked out nearly as well.
In addition to many early California-looking scenes, many were about oil — running along the ground, gurgling in the wells or shooting high in the sky. I was curious what was used for the oil.
ELSWIT: Steve Cremin, the special effects guy, discovered on the movie Jarhead, where the troops were covered with oil, that there’s a compound fast food restaurants use to color milkshakes. But it’s an organic food product so it was environmentally friendly. It really looks like oil. Steve is an amazing special effects guy that did everything including all the work to set the oil well on fire and keep it contained. (via)