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DUETS

The Locations

Principal photogra p hy began on location in the Las Vegas area. After a few days shooting exteriors, the production company relocated to Vancouver, British Columbia for the remainder of the eight-week shooting schedule.

Production designer Sharon Seymour had the task of creating a cross-country American landscape all within an hour's drive from Vancouver. She explains, "We always had this idea that we wanted to create an experience of what contemporary America has become--from gas stations, hotels and convenience stores."

Over the course of the 40-day shooting schedule, Seymour's crew built and/or dressed nearly 50 different locations, representing several different states and geographical regions.

At the heart of "Duets," without a doubt, are the seven different Karaoke bars that are featured in the film. Explains Seymour, "The Karaoke bars had to be very vibrant, colorful and alive. We're pointing out the homogenization of America, but at the same time, I wanted the bars not to feel homogenized.

"Each of the bars needed to have a very specific look," Seymour continues. "That would have taken time anywhere, but it took a lot longer to find bars with a regional flavor in the Vancouver area. I probably looked at more than 100 bars to select the seven that we filmed in. I had a lot of research of actual Karaoke bars, and most of them aren't half as interesting, or as exciting as what we created for the movie. We wanted people to say, 'Yeah, this is the place to be a star for five minutes.'"

Costume designer Mary Claire Hannan also had the task of creating several different regional looks, working closely with the hundreds of background actors in the Karaoke bar scenes. She recalls, "It's a challenge to go to Vancouver and try to make a place look like New Mexico or Oklahoma, or the six other states that the movie takes place in. So we had a huge supply of stock clothes, and I worked with every single extra to make sure they were dressed appropriately."

Seymour concludes, "We worked really hard to find visually interesting locations. For some things that could have been pretty dull. The strongest thing you can do with production design is reinforce the story and create a background that makes you believe the characters. I feel that was achieved."

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