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CHARLIE'S ANGELS: FULL THROTTLE

About The Sets
It is a tribute to the director that the key production staff from Charlie's Angels returned for the second installment, including production designer J. Michael Riva, director of photography Russell Carpenter, costume designer Joseph G. Aulisi and editor Wayne Wahrman, among others. "These people are an intimate part of the fabric of Charlie's Angels," says McG. "Each had a part in creating the voice of the first film and the new one as well."

That's not idle talk either, says Academy Award®-winning director of photography Carpenter (Titanic), "McG makes every person feel they have a contribution to make. He knows he can look in any direction and toss out a challenge – ‘how can we make this better?' It's that attitude that made me want to work with him again – that sense that everybody is included."

According to Riva "we had all developed a shorthand that was even shorter than on the first film. In the chaos of pre-production, the creative enthusiasm managed to prevail on all levels. It's an unusual group of people and McG is responsible for letting everybody expand quite a bit. His enthusiasm is palpable and it's infectious. His sensibility is very much reflected in the people he hires. We're all supreme optimists."

As production designer, Riva's job is basically to translate the written word into a fabricated set or a practical location. In Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle, one of Riva's main objectives was to animate the personal drama in the Angels' lives. "In this story Natalie is about to commit herself to a serious relationship. Dylan is leaving because she doesn't want to jeopardize her fellow Angels. And Alex is constantly lying to her parents and her boyfriend about what she does for a living. Then there is the appearance of Madison Lee, a past Angel."

Riva's job, he says, was to bring texture to the story beats. He envisioned Natalie's home as a small, simple beach house – a modest first step at cohabitation. Alex's residence is shown to be extremely neat and perhaps just a bit lonely – except that it sometimes gets messy despite Alex's passion for order. Dylan lives in a hotel room and Riva attempts to give the sense that she has lived in this transient environment for years, which highlights her problems with commitment.

"You try to suggest character traits by where you put the actors, what props they use, the clothes they wear," says Riva. "It's something we all talk about and collaborate on."

Getting the right take on Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle was a bit more challenging than the first film, Riva admits. "This film is a little bit more dangerous," he says. "More than anything else, it's about identity and individual personality. What is an Angel? Who are they really? What is going to happen to them in time?"

Though the original Charles Townsend Agency was blown up in the first film, Riva redesigned it for the sequel. He describes the location as "essentially a womb, the one place where the Angels share the same space. It's where they receive their directives from Charlie, a man who's never physically there but who is this benevolent father figure. I wanted it to be kind of Old World and clubby, with wood paneling, less contemporary and cozy than the first one, more august in a kind of ‘rumpled royalty' way. McG and I both made a conscious decision that it should feel appropriate for Charlie, but the girls should look and feel slightly out of place there."

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