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HERE COMES THE BOOM

About The Production Design
The film reteams Coraci with production designer Perry Andelin Blake for their fifth collaboration. "The movies Perry and I have done in the past have called for very stylized and designed looks," says Coraci. "We were excited that this film allowed us to go for a more gritty, realistic look."

"The idea Frank had for the film was for it to seem totally real. Like it was happening as we were watching it unfold. Much more like a documentary than our previous films, with hand held camera work and real locations," says Blake.

"When Scott is trying to make it as a fighter, he has to start at the lowest level of MMA," says Coraci. "We discovered that these guys will fight practically anywhere they can find an audience, so we made that part of the story. Scott fights at a county fair where the ring is falling apart; at a wedding reception hall; at an old shipyard - we mixed it up. That's part of the fun of the movie." Of course, all of those locations had to be scouted and designed, which fell to Blake.

"We went to one place, called Lombardo's, where they usually have proms and wedding receptions, but sometimes they have MMA fights," Blake explains. "It was so cool to see fighters starting out at that level. The people were so excited - - a fighter was there with his whole crew, and on the sidelines his family and fans wore shirts with his fight school and his name on it, and they'd go crazy when he came in. The whole place was hopping." Blake sought to re-create that atmosphere in his designs.

When scouting a site for the abandoned factory that would be the location of Scott's first fight, he also happened to find the location for his second fight - the slip-and-slide fight in the rain. "It was great - a real, working dock outside of the factory," he says. "We just took the area, put the ring there, and added bleachers. We had an old crane and different pieces of machinery that we pulled up for people to sit on, and we put a giant tug boat in the water so that you really got the feeling that you were down by the Boston piers at night."

Of course, for the final fight, Scott is in the UFC, so Blake had to make the location big. "Obviously, we couldn't shoot at the MGM Grand Arena for two weeks, but Frank had a vision of how we could make it work," says Blake.

"We had to capture the feeling of really being at a UFC event. It's like no other sports experience in the world," says Coraci. "It is extremely important to me that the audience feels the scale of the arena along with the pulsing energy and emotion as the fighters enter the ring."

"We had shots that we had to get in Vegas - people streaming in, the buildings, the big signs. But we had other shots that we shot at the Prudential Center in New Jersey - people going through the corridors and wide shots of the arena. And for the fight itself, we shot at the Tsongas Center in Lowell, Massachusetts, which is a smaller, hockey arena affiliated with the college there," says Blake. "Frank had an idea to shoot a real event and then use visual effects to piece together Kevin fighting in the ring in Lowell."

"In Kevin's final UFC fight against Krzysztof, to capture the raw energy, I made sure while filming it that they were surrounded by a thousand live screaming MMA fans," says Coraci, "I worked closely with my visual effects supervisor, Peter Travers, to take shots from the live UFC event we shot a month earlier and mesh them with our filming of Kevin fighting in a ring here in Boston to create the ultimate illusion of a full blown, 20,000 plus UFC experience."

There was one other key location in the film - the school that is at the heart of the movie. After all, the whole reason Scott takes on his quest is to raise money for the school. It was up to Blake to create a location that needed the character's help. "We wanted to find a high school that looked like the real thing, but also looked a little hopeless," says Coraci. "We found the former campus of Quincy High School, which had just closed, which was perfect, because we could beat it up as much as we wanted. It was fun for me to do something different - we usually build all of our sets, but in this case we could just find it and roll with it."

The old high school worked perfectly with Coraci's vision for the look of the movie as well. "In the beginning, it's winter, and the setting is pretty gritty. The photography and design reflected that by using cooler and more muted colors. But as Scott gets inspired, it becomes spring and thus the look in the movie becomes more colorful. By the end of the film, we find ourselves in the most vibrant place on Earth - Las Vegas. It's a visual journey."

While Blake sought to keep much of the school as it was, there was one key location that he designed: the music room. "It's one of the most important elements, because everything that Kevin's character is trying to do is to save the music department," says Blake. "So we took the school's auditorium, and we built a music room within there. Frank's direction to me was that he wanted the room to feel like an old baseball mitt, and I got it right away. It's worn, but it has character to it. It's soft, it's personal. So we built a room with a lot of character to it - there was a lot of wood furniture and layers of history, like 20 generations of kids had gone through there. And the one constant in that room was Henry Winkler's character - it's his home, in a way. He's comfortable there."

At the end of the film, the music department is transformed through Scott's efforts. "We re-did it, but we wanted to keep the warmth and idiosyncratic feel. We covered the old acoustic tiles on the walls and brought in dark red panels - we had color and warmth without making it feel too slick. We changed out the furniture and got all new musical instruments for the kids. But we kept Henry Winkler's character's desk just as it was - for him, it's all about the kids - he didn't spend any money getting a new desk or redoing his things," says Blake.

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