12.30.97

Making Cherry

QUOTE
"Truth is in all things, even, partly, in error." --Jean-Luc Godard

Locations:
Holiday Hiatus
Principals:
Becky is in the house. Art and Wardrobe, too.
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Leila's Place

Hey there, Mr. Spaceman

Upstairs from Leila’s muffin shop is Leila’s apartment. This isn’t exactly how the two are configured in real life, er, I mean the script. And it isn’t how they’ll 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 they’re actually stacked up in one building.

And securing two primary locations in one place makes everyone’s 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.

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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 weren’t at all aerodynamic. I mean, they were big and clunky and didn’t hew to our idea of airships at all. Of course, those space stations weren’t traveling in the air, so they didn’t 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. Leila’s 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.

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Leila's desk

Which is nice for Sherri, who says: "Leila is a lot like Sherri." That’s 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. Leila’s 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 apartment’s kitchen. And a total wreck.

In fact, what looks like the kitchen is really the dining room. Oh, and that closet? That’s the hallway. "We’ve put in a false back," Joe points out to me. And the other closet? Well, that’s the real bathroom, which is small and moldy and won’t 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 Leila’s 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, too."

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 she’s buying the props up before the movie is even shot!

"All this stuff is going into storage after the shoot," Elizabeth warns her.

"I don’t care. I can wait," Lara says, "and anyway, I’d let you rent it if you need it to do reshoots. That will be cheaper than storage in the end."

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 gleefully.

"I’m storing all this stuff in my barn upstate," Joe declares, and since he’s 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.

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Leila's kitchen cabinets

Peter Kreutzer

Monday

 

Wednesday

 

(c) 1997 Peter M. Kreutzer