About The Production
Principal photography began November 11, 1996 in Los Angeles
Principal photography began November 11, 1996 in Los Angeles.
"The film's locations are a tour of Los Angeles architecture,"
says production designer David Gropman. "You identify L.A.
and it makes you feel that the film could only have been shot
here. It completely personifies the world that the characters
live in." Benton agrees, "for me the location of a film
is always like a part of a character. It becomes a kind of invisible,
informing spirit of the whole movie."
The former home of Cedric Gibbons/Delores Del Rio was one of the
film's key locations. It became the setting for the Ames house,
inhabited by the characters portrayed by Susan Sarandon and Gene
Hackman. "The Ames house is virtually a character in this
film. It is my child's idea of what a Hollywood house should be
like," Benton adds. Gibbons was the Academy Award winning
art director, head of the legendary MGM art department from 1924
until 1958 and the designer of the Oscar® statuette. In 1929,
he designed (with the help of architect Douglas Honnold) a sleek
Moderne-style home in a Santa Monica cul-de-sac for his new bride
actress Delores Del Rio. The interior, with its use of lustrous
materials and indirect lighting, makes visitors feel they are
stepping onto a 1930's Art Deco movie set. As Gene Hackman sat
in the adjoining tennis pavilion, he reflected, "I'm always
fascinated by the history of Hollywood and the idea that Delores
Del Rio could have been sitting right where we are today. These
hills were full of the old movie stars of that era and that's
what attracted me to the business in the beginning."
A never completed Frank Lloyd Wright project was the locale of
Ames ranch house. The 120 acres, in the hills above Malibu overlooking
the Pacific ocean, were originally owned by Arch Oboler, a major
figure in the golden age of radio and producer of the first 3-D
film. Construction began on the property in 1940 with Wright incorporating
ideas from recent Taliesin West projects, using native rocks and
masonry as a transition between the natural site and the other
materials used in the buildings. Work came to a halt in 1946 with
the death of one of Oboler's young sons in a tragic accident on
the site. After Oboler's death in 1987, the property was sold.
The main house was never built, but today the gatehouse, children's
wing and studio still stand.
The site of the Raymond Hope house was a John Lautner designed
home built in 1947 in the Hollywood Hills overlooking the San
Fernando Valley. In an unusual coincidence, Lautner, then one
of Wright's apprentice's, had worked on the aforementioned Malibu
The film also shot on the sound stages at Paramount, Raleigh and
Sunset Gower Studios where interiors of the Gibbons and Lautner
homes were meticulously recreated.
The "TWILIGHT" troupe was also the first film company
to receive permission to shoot in a working police station - the
Hollywood/Wilcox police station. Many of the station's officers
and detectives were put to work as background in the scenes filmed
over a five day period throughout the facility.
Other local locations included the Santa Monica pier and the Mandalay
Beach Resort in Oxnard, California doubled as the film's Mexican
For award-wining cinematographer Piotr Sobocinski "controlling
the light on this story is of the utmost importance. It's vital
to give each actor the opportunity to step into or out of the
light. What you see, or don't see, has a great deal to do with
your perception of what is going on. I need rich blacks and dark
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