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A Colorful Time
The title "Catch Me If You Can" could just as easily be applied to the film's shooting schedule as to its story. The movie was filmed in just 56 jam-packed days, utilizing more than 140 sets on locations in and around Los Angeles, New York, Montreal and Quebec City. Spielberg states, "It was a lot of moving around—sometimes three locations on a single day—and I have never worked faster in my entire life. But I think, in this case, moving so fast kept the momentum going for the entire cast and crew."

Leonardo DiCaprio confirms, "That was the fastest-paced film I have ever worked on. We were constantly moving, but that's what was good about it. It was like a theatre group; we were always creating new things and then moving to the next location. I think the frenetic pace gave the entire production so much life and energy."

The speed of the production was also reflective of the 1960s period in which the story is set. "This was the age of the jet set," Tom Hanks says. "Literally, you could get on a jet plane and be on the other side of the world in a matter of hours. For my generation, it was the height of glamour: colors looked cooler and everything was very bold and stylish."

To capture the bold, colorful style of the times, Spielberg assembled a creative team that included his longtime collaborators: director of photography Janusz Kaminski, editor Michael Kahn and composer John Williams. Working for the first time with the director were production designer Jeannine Oppewall and costume designer Mary Zophres.

Given the pace of the shooting schedule, Parkes points out that the shorthand that has developed between Spielberg and Kaminski was especially crucial. "The thing about Janusz is he's very quick, very intuitive, and he and Steven have an unspoken communication that is like nothing I've ever seen."

"Janusz and I have the greatest working relationship," Spielberg agrees. "I set the camera, I block the scenes, but it is Janusz who paints every shot. He is a master of light. ‘Catch Me If You Can' is a very upbeat movie, so we didn't want to go with a low, dark half-light. It's very bright and very colorful, which is a huge stylistic departure for us in our work together."

Kaminski adds, "The visual approach was really very simple: Let's have fun; let's create a world that's slightly idealistic, and not too serious. The lighting reflects that. It's like a glass of champagne."

Despite that approach, the sheer number of locations and the speed at which the company was moving through them made the actual task of lighting the sets anything but simple. Kaminski notes, "We were not on soundstages. We were filming in existing buildings and on existing streets, so we had to work around certain limitations. We didn't have the luxury of removing walls or windows and putting the lights or the camera wherever I wanted. We had to compromise occasionally, but compromise is good because it forces you to be innovative. You could look at it as a disadvantage or as a great challenge. I happen to like the challenge."

The extensive location sets—all of which had to be in the style of the period—posed an even more daunting challenge to production designer Jeannine Oppewall and her team. Oppewall attests, "I thought ‘L.A. Confidential' was difficult because I counted 93 sets in 40 or 50 locations. When I first broke down the ‘Catch Me If You Can' script, I counted well over 100 sets, and<

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