About The Setting
Mile" is set in the fictional town of Cape Anne, Massachusetts, in 1973.
The setting was a deliberate choice for the filmmakers. "The love story is
one in which, essentially, there are two ghosts present," says Silberling.
"Joe's is the more obvious: Diana, his fianc6e who's recently been
killed. Bertie's, on the other hand, is in a way the more complicated of the
two — her boyfriend, Cal, is missing overseas in a war raging in Vietnam. I
wanted her to have a situation in which closure isn't possible. I wanted her
to carry the burden and belief that if she lets go of him, if she lets go of the
bar, it's as if she's sealing his fate, as if she's killing him herself,
and that's why it's so difficult to open to the possibility for life that
Joe represents. Placing the story at this moment allowed me to believe these
ghosts could actually coincide — as, sadly, many versions of this story were
probably playing out in many towns all around the country at this time, with so
many young men missing."
"I may have been
only in elementary school —which for some reason was a very formative time for
me — but I have an odd strength of visual memory for the early 70s," says
Silberling. "When I look at the wardrobe on our women and younger men, I
have the most incredible sense memory of all of it — the colors, the styles,
Costume designer Mary
Zophres recalls that from their first meeting, Silberling had a very specific
palette in mind — "warm earth tones that included gold, rust, browns,
some olive and forest greens. Even the funeral itself was expressed in the
darkest shades of that palette, but not the traditional black. Joe stands out,
as he wears a newly-bought dark blue suit. Right off the bat, you have the
overwhelming sense of his isolation, of someone who is an outsider.
Zophres continues, "Joe has only a few changes of clothing, to emphasize
that he maybe never intended to stay for very long. He wears that sheepskin
jacket a lot, and it becomes something of a security blanket."
transitional moments in life," says Silberling. "Many of us get stuck
in dead-end relationships or dead-end jobs, stuck in dead-end life
circumstances, or guilt, like Joe, and I wanted to place the story at a time
that reflected a shift of innocence. In 1973, we were nearing the end of the war
in Vietnam and at home, we were having an energy crisis. In the small town where
Ben Floss is a commercial realtor, traditional economic life has become very
vulnerable. A franchise restaurant has already opened up on Main Street. After a
long run of little success, Ben senses an opportunity for huge personal victory
by pulling off a block buyout for a new-style developer."
"The New England
town is almost a character in the movie," says production designer Missy
Stewart. "Our fictitious Cape Anne is a composite of several north shore
towns, like Gloucester and Marblehead, Massachusetts — towns of faded beauty
that lend themselves well to the period. We're shooting on their Main Streets,
changing the names of businesses, aging and distressing their appearances.
Happily for us, in the 70s, these
towns escaped much of the real estate development that we imply will happen
across the country."
The garish franchise
ice cream parlor called "Neighbors" sits offensively in the heart of
the town square, directly acro
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