MAID IN MANHATTAN
About The Production
"The logistics of
shooting in Manhattan can be complicated," says producer Paul Schiff,
"but the energy of the city, its pulse and the faces of the extras, more
than justify that."
Before filming on Maid
in Manhattan began, the crew scouted dozens of luxury hotels in Manhattan to
find the stately quality required for the Beresford Hotel. The hotel scenes
could have been shot on a sound stage, but Wayne insisted on an actual location,
"so that when you shot the underbelly of the place it had an unmistakable
reality about it."
Jane Musky led the filmmakers to the famed Waldorf-Astoria Hotel on Park Avenue,
where much of the film was shot. "The Waldorf is just what a big, fancy
hotel should be," she says. "Their downstairs area was bigger and they
employ more people than any other hotel in Manhattan." The Waldorf was also
one of the few actual hotels in Manhattan that was large enough to accommodate a
film crew without interfering with its day-to-day operation.
designer Albert Wolsky brought his usual exacting standards to the creation of
the hotel workers' uniforms, particularly those of the maids. After examining
the attire worn by workers at such hotels as the St. Regis, The Waldorf and The
Plaza, he came up with the primary housekeepers' uniform, a simple, fitted
outfit. But don't let its simplicity fool you, he says. "I think the
uniform is the most important costume in the movie. And it's where Jennifer
does her best work. She looks wonderful in it."
The preparation scene
for the ball, in which Marisa's co-workers transform her from a maid into a
princess, was also meticulously planned. All the scenes in which Marisa is out
of uniform, and especially the party scene where she wears a peach-chiffon gown
designed by Bob Mackie, and adorned with a Harry Winston necklace, are meant to
reflect how differently she is perceived by the outside world, according to
Wolsky. "Christopher has seen her before, but only in uniform, and he didn't
even notice her. When he walks into the hotel suite and she's wearing Dolce
and Gabanna, it's the same woman, but she's no longer invisible."
shooting at the Waldorf Astoria hotel, Lopez often attracted large crowds of
fans and onlookers, but she was barely noticed on the days when she was working
in her housekeeping costume.
cinematographer Karl Walter Lindenlaub and director Wayne Wang, collaborated to
heighten the visual contrast between the two separate worlds that exist within
the Beresford Hotel. The submarine-like "downstairs" of the hotel is
shot at the underbelly of the real Waldorf Astoria Hotel. It is gritty, has
artificial lighting, cramped spaces and exposed pipes. The "upstairs"
luxury suites were built on a set and decorated to make them look even more
opulent and inviting. "We gave the upstairs this beautiful, warm
light," says Wang. "It was quiet and spacious, in sharp contrast to
the downstairs areas, where it's always noisy, all the ceilings are low and
the spaces are constricting."
For the house where
Lopez's character lives, Wang was looking for an area in the Bronx that looked
poor but still had integrity and a little bit of taste, reflecting Marisa
Ventura's personality. Musky, who has previously worked in the Bronx, most
recently on Finding Forrester, found a r
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