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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."

Production designer 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.

OscarĀ®-winning costume 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."

Interestingly, while 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.

Acclaimed 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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