ONE HOUR PHOTO
About The Production
Sy Parrish and the world he lives in have a look that is very distinctive,
created with vivid images by Romanek and the team of Production Designer Tom
Foden (THE CELL), Director of Photography Jeff Cronenweth (FIGHT CLUB)
and Costume Designer Arianne Phillips (HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH), all with whom
Romanek had worked previously on music videos.
The first-unit shoot lasted 48 days, a third of which were spent in a
soon-to-be-demolished Oftice Depot in Los Angeles' San Fernando Valley.
in which Foden created Savmart, the store that would be the
foundation of Sy Parrish's domain. Robin Williams describes, "The Savmart
store is like hyper reality. It's like a lot of those big market-type stores
with surreal abundance, and amongst that he sits in this little corner."
Cronenweth says, "One of the biggest challenges was keeping the Savmart visually
interesting while not drifting too far from reality." To do so, he
explains, "We developed a lighting design that provided a beautiful quality
of light while also visually driving the story through the shape and symmetry of
the shots." Robin Williams explains, "It's designed to be Sy's
world and he is a creature that blends into the environment, the clothes, the
Contrasting Sy's stark reality, Williams states, "In
the outside world Sy stands out, especially when you get near the Yorkins'
house, which is very warm and incredibly beautiful, almost painfully beautiful
because it is his idealized home."
Foden achieved the contrasts through color and texture. Whereas the Yorkins'
house - located in Brentwood,
California - is filled with
rich golds, yellows and reds, Sy's apartment -
built on a soundstage - was
a drab blending of cool grays and tans. Foden explains, "It was a matter of
heaven, purgatory and hell. With the Yorkins' house representing a place of
dreams and ideals, the store a place of idle distraction, and Sy's apartment a
laboratory of loneliness and isolation."
The visual style of the film extends into the very specific look of each of
the character's costumes, created by Costume Designer Arianne
Phillips. She describes her goal, "To create a reality that flowed
and was believable and sensitive to the subject matter. it was a
very minimalist approach. I really tried to make exacting quiet choices
because the film has a quiet elegance. I wanted the clothes to reflect that
as well as make sense with the production design and the way it was lit and
these really powerful performances."
As with all of his music videos, Romanek worked in collaboration with the
production design team, the costume designer and the director of photography to
create an image palette and overall visual point of reference around which the
film would revolve. Comments Phillips, "It becomes a melding of the minds.
We had all worked with Mark before so we understood the process...It's a lot
of talking and communicating and meetings and showing ideas." Cronenweth
continues, "Working with Mark is a collaborative effort in the truest sense
of the word."
The team developed back-stories for each character, which Phillips used as a
springboard in designing their specific looks. She explains Romanek's vision
of Sy, "He wanted to create something iconic, like Travis Bickle from TAXI
DRIVER. You always remember him with that mohawk and the army fatigue
jacket... that's what Mark was after with Sy, because Sy is â€˜everyman."'
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