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
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
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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