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IDENTITY THIEF

Hoarder's Paradise: Sets and Costumes
Production designer Frankel created the set that would become Diana's Florida home inside of an actual house in an Atlanta neighborhood.  "You rarely get to make a set like Diana's house," explains Frankel.  "It was scripted as a hoarder's paradise, but it's a paradise for someone who is constantly going in and out of high-end malls.  So it's not wooden crates with dusty old things on them, it's like a mall exploded inside her house.  It was fun to make with lots of interesting things that you could find at a mall…like a giant self-portrait of Diana."

Diana herself was quite impressed.  "Shepherd did an amazing job," praises McCarthy.  "When I first saw it, I walked around it many times because it was the most visually alarming thing I had ever seen.  It was sensory overload and was funny and heartbreaking at the same time because Diana has all this stuff and no one to share it with."

Frankel took those skills across the production.  The interiors of Sandy and Trish's apartment, as well as Big Chuck's office and key green-screen scenes, were filmed on stage in a former Baskin-Robbins distribution facility.  Despite the hot Georgia summer, the cast and crew stayed cool on set.

In downtown Atlanta, the interior of the former Atlanta Archives and Records Building was transformed into Sandy's workplace at Prominence Financial in Denver.  An Atlanta landmark, the building is quite unique, as it has no windows in the entire monolithic structure.  Helping to decorate the set were life-size portraits of the Prominence partners, which included Favreau as Cornish.  

To get the paintings made, whenever a cast member who was playing one of the partners signed onto the film, Frankel had a local artist paint a portrait from the cast photo.  If you look closely during the scenes, you can even see a portrait of producer Scott Stuber, who makes a cameo via his life-size painting.  When the scenes where completed, Frankel transformed the space into an even larger-than-life Prominence Financial headquarters in St. Louis, where the original paintings were photographed and blown up approximately four to five times their original size.

Considering that Gordon has collaborated with Frankel on multiple occasions, the designer's outstanding work came as no surprise.  "I've never met a production designer as talented as Shepherd," compliments Gordon.  "He runs on an engine powered by the highest-octane fuel, and after three films now I don't know how he moves so fast and efficiently.  He covered so much ground, as we're literally all over the state of Georgia.  To create and find more than 90 sets is such a daunting undertaking, even if you have infinite resources, and we didn't, so I'm in awe of what he accomplished in the amount of time he had."

Another challenge for the team was the wardrobe design of the comedy.  As with any road trip movie, continuity is an issue.  Considering the amount of action and fighting that Sandy and Diana see and do as they travel cross-country, costume designer Carol Ramsey and her team had to work overtime to ensure everything was seamless.

"Diana has about eight costumes, with her main one being her blue pants and checkered gingham blouse, which she wears through two-thirds of the movie," explains Ramsey.  "So that hero look had to be something that's not going to become tiresome to look at, but was also believable and good for the character.  We custom-made all of Melissa's outfits, and we probably had 15 duplicates of the hero outfit, because we had to have it in different stages of aging -- from a pristine to a very dirty one."

The designer continues that her team found inspiration in the oddest of places: "In developing the look of Diana, we did a lot of online shopping on some of the worst women's clothing websites you've ever seen.  That gave us a lot of ideas, and we narrowed them down to a small spectrum of colors and patterns that we liked and were flattering on Melissa.  Then we chose that distinctive blue color and made narrow pants and a fitted blouse.  When we saw Melissa in it for the screen test, Seth and I looked at each other and we knew that it was the one.  She looked so good in it, and the color is not too bright that it takes over the scene.  I call it the 'Wisconsin picnic' look."

The director was thrilled with the result.  "We spent almost a month brainstorming what Diana's look might be," recalls Gordon.  "Melissa is a genius and she had so many great ideas for the look of the character, which was based on people she knew growing up.  She grew up on a farm in rural Illinois, and this character feels very Midwestern.  I feel like it's going to be an iconic character, and it starts with that wardrobe and continues with that massive hair and terrible makeup."


With production wrapped after an all-night shoot on an elevated highway in downtown Atlanta, the cast and filmmakers reflected upon the journey they had taken together.  "We go from A to Z with the characters in this film," ends McCarthy.  "Both Sandy and Diana change over the course of the movie, and one minute you're laughing hysterically and then the next you're touched by tender moments…then you're in a crazy car chase.  It makes you feel like you went somewhere with these people, and I hope it's a fun ride because we sure had a great time making the film."

"IDENTITY THIEF  is a good two-hander that has a relevant concept and subject matter," concludes Bateman. "It's fresh and unpredictable, but it is also peppered with things that are somewhat familiar.  I'm proud of all the hard work that's gone into this film, and I think it's funny as hell.  Hopefully, people will laugh the car ride home from the theater as hard as we did in the car on set every day."

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