THE NEWTON BOYS
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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