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About The Production

Like most period pieces, THE NEWTON BOYS came with some formidable and inherent production challenges. "The Newtons made millions robbing banks," explains Walker­McBay. "They wore the finest clothes, drove the newest cars and stayed in the finest hotels. They spent lots of money. Recreating that kind of period wealth wasn't easy."

In addition to capturing the period and the Newtons' impressive wealth, the filmmakers worked to ensure the authenticity of the various locations. Production designer Catherine Hardwicke recreated entire towns based on pictorial records she discovered in history books. "We also scouted for two to three months looking at all of the towns within an hour and a half drive from Austin and San Antonio," Hardwicke recalls. "The story required many different types of sets, including Western towns, Midwestern banks, elegant hotels, ballrooms, Chicago speakeasies, trains and oil rigs."

Linklater readily acknowledges the enormity of the work undertaken by Hardwicke and her team. "It has been fun to completely recreate an era in American history and Catherine and her crew deserve endless credit.

"A lot of period films restrict the action to a handful of sets. We had 81 locations to shoot in 56 days." Linklater adds, with a laugh, "Bank robbers don't usually make a habit of returning to the same place."

Given the story's setting and the actors' and filmmakers' ties to the region, it is certainly not surprising that the Lone Star State became an important character in its own right. Confirms Linklater: "We never really considered any other place to shoot. Texas even stands in for the scenes that are set outside the state. There is a wide variety of looks in central Texas, both rural and urban, and several of the towns in which we filmed still look a lot like they did seventy years ago."

Director of photography Peter James used several methods to capture the varied Texas looks. "For the early western period," he remarks, "we built the set in a type of 'bowl' to give us a western prairie feel." For the bank robbery scenes, James softened the image, using more pastels. As the Newtons accumulate more money, cars and clothes, the look of the film was brightened. But when things begin to fall apart for them, the look, according to James "gets harder, with much more contrast ­ it's more film noir."

The striving for historical authenticity can also be seen in the costumes. Costume designer Shelley Komarov spent months preparing the clothing for this film, contacting over 20 private sources. "We tried to get as close to the period as possible," she says. "The Levi­Strauss Co. made us original Levis from patterns dating back almost 100 years. Justin boots and Stetson hats also made items from original patterns."


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