Upstairs from Leilas muffin shop is
Leilas apartment. This isnt exactly how the two are configured in real life,
er, I mean the script. And it isnt how theyll play physically in the movie,
either. But with a bit of movie magic the two can seem to be half-a-block away from each
other without a problem, even though theyre actually stacked up in one building.
securing two primary locations in one place makes everyones job just a little
easier. It might even be a little cheaper, though given the vagaries of locations that is
really impossible to say for sure.
In any case, up a lovely wood stairway above the muffin shop is a cute one-bedroom
apartment. The first thing you notice is that it is wonderfully decorated, with bright
yellow and purples dominating the walls and furniture. The styles of which are a bit of a
jumble, but all the items have a direct link to the fabulous futuristic streamlining of
the 1950s and 60s, when it was thought that in the "future" things would move
quite a bit faster.
I was just a kid when 2001: A Space Odyssey came out, but what I remember being
the greatest marvel of the film (after the chimps) was that the space ships werent
at all aerodynamic. I mean, they were big and clunky and didnt hew to our idea of
airships at all. Of course, those space stations werent traveling in the air, so
they didnt need to be streamlined. That was the revelation.
Leila is an orphan, her parents are killed at the start of the movie in a car wreck,
and her father worked at Cape Kennedy, so it is easy to see where her space fixation comes
from. She clings to her childhood, to the unhurt part of herself. Leila is an innocent.
Leilas fixation allows the art department to run wild, placing a variety of plastic
and metal space men and astro tops and space games and science posters and
extraterrestrial toys around the room.
Which is nice for Sherri, who says: "Leila is a lot like Sherri." Thats
the fun part of the job.
The other fun part is creating a space that looks like it would be a pleasure to live
in, and is also a pleasure to shoot in. Leilas apartment has breakaway cabinets,
that can be easily moved out of the way when the shot requires it. When you look into the
bathroom from the bedroom you see a lovely pedestal sink and antique mirror set on a
white-tiled floor. Step a little closer and you see that the rest of the room is actually
the apartments kitchen. And a total wreck.
In fact, what looks like the kitchen is really the dining room. Oh, and that closet?
Thats the hallway. "Weve put in a false back," Joe points out to me.
And the other closet? Well, thats the real bathroom, which is small and moldy and
wont be seen on camera, unlike the movie bathroom. And the wide door between the
kitchen and bedroom was specially designed to accommodate the dolly.
As Phil and Aaron and David survey the location and discuss lights and camera moves,
and after Sherri points out to Aaron the places where the walls have been plastered and
patched ("the soft spots"), everyone mills about the room in something of an
envious fog. The common refrain is that Leilas place is nicer, if smaller, than most
of our New York City apartments.
"I could live here," Elizabeth says and most of the rest of us say "me,
But it is Lara who does something about it. She walks through the room putting pieces
of masking tape with her initials on the bottom of lamps and couches and chairs and stools
all over the room/set. It takes a while to sink in, but shes buying the props up
before the movie is even shot!
"All this stuff is going into storage after the shoot," Elizabeth warns her.
"I dont care. I can wait," Lara says, "and anyway, Id let
you rent it if you need it to do reshoots. That will be cheaper than storage in the
Sherri points out that if she sells the furniture before the shoot she can plow the
profits back into the production. "I can buy more stuff," she says a little
"Im storing all this stuff in my barn upstate," Joe declares, and since
hes the boss nobody argues.
But none of this stops the 2nd AD, either. She just keeps on buying. Maybe Leila is a
little like Lara, too.