MURDER BY NUMBERS
About The Production
"Murder by Numbers" began production on February 27. 2001 and was filmed on location
in and around southern California, in San Luis Obispo County in Central California, and on stages at Raleigh Studios in Hollywood.
One of Italy's top cinematographers, Luciano Tovoli, A. I. C., A.S.C., once again collaborates with his friend, director Barbet Schroeder, to bring a stylish look to the screen in "Murder by Numbers." With Schroeder, Tovoli lent his talents to films such as the Academy Award®-nominated "Reversal of Fortune," as well as "Kiss of Death," "Before and After" and "Single White Female," among others.
"The relationship and creative collaboration between Barbet and Luciano is certainly famous among all the people who ever worked with them," says Susan Hoffman.
"Luciano's a master by any standard, a brilliant inventor, and a problem solver. When you see any film that Luciano makes, there's some signature there that is indelible. But it's mainly his relationship with Barbet, their symbiosis which is very impressive, and funny, too. It's fun to sit behind them at the monitors."
Shooting took place in a variety of locations as well as on numerous stages at Raleigh Studios. Upon completion of the stage work, filming began in the city of San Luis Obispo, the halfway point to San Francisco and the city that inspired the fictional town of San Benito in the film.
"We didn't want to locate the film in just any big city," says producer Susan Hoffman. "We didn't want to give a simple explanation for why the young men were committing this crime; that they were rich, or spoiled, or urbanites. We felt that would be too simple of an explanation. So we decided that we wanted a very American environment, slightly non-descript, upscale, but not too wealthy. We scouted all the way from Oregon to Los Angeles and we chose San Luis Obispo. It's a very touching place, it's beautiful, and it seemed like the kind of place that really was in the socio-economic groove that we were looking for."
"The idea of an 'end of the century story' taking place in the furthest Western point of the country was full of resonance to me. I just did not see it in the East, although the Florida of 'Bully' would have worked. There's a tremendous amount of beauty in the coastal region of Central California. And water was an important part of the story," says Schroeder.
"When we were looking for a place to set the film, we needed to find a location where you wouldn't expect such events to happen," says Academy Award®-nominated production designer
Stuart Wurtzel. "That's why we ended up in our fictitious town of San Benito, which we based on San Luis Obispo. It has those wonderful qualities of being comfortable and pretty and steeped in tradition with a strong Spanish influence. It lays a real base for the story."
Wurtzel's biggest challenge was to find the house on the bluff where Justin and Richard get together to hatch their plans. "I wanted something that had scale and grandeur," Wurtzel says. "I was going alter the lodge architecture that was built in the twenties in the national parks. The interior of the house was based on the Ahwahnee Lodge located at Yosemite National Park, with its stone and timber construction."
Wurtzel designed the stage-erected interiors of the San Benito Police Station, inspired by the County Court House in San Luis Obispo. "It has a wonderful sort of deco quality to it," he says. "I didn't want to do the typical police station, nor did I want it to have the sense of madness and chaos that you see on an everyday basis. This is a much quieter, smaller town where the homicide rate is extremely low."
New York-based costume designer Carol Oditz ("The Ice Storm") worked closely with Barbet Schroeder and Stuart Wurtzel to create the clothing<
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