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The East Comes West
Filming began, and would continue for an uninterrupted first eight weeks, in what would become a home away from home for Nancy Meyers and the entire Something's Gotta Give company … a tastefully magnificent Hamptons beach house, built in toto on Stage 26 at Sony Pictures Studios in Culver City. This is Erica Barry's stylish Hamptons getaway, in which much of the film's action takes place, and presented the actors with an environment in which to activate their characters that felt absolutely real.

Meyers' films are visually lustrous both in their cinematography and design, and she called upon Michael Ballhaus who had previously brought New York to life on screen in films as diverse as GoodFellas, The Age of Innocence, Gangs of New York, Working Girl and Quiz Show.

"The look of the movie is important to me in terms of design," says Meyers, "because I tend to write movies that take place in bedrooms, kitchens and living rooms rather than on grand landscapes. It's fun for me to continue to define the characters through the places they choose to live."

"The whole house is meant to be Erica's dream house," observes production designer Jon Hutman. The idea is that this is the house which Erica Barry, a very successful New York playwright, has built for herself after her divorce – a haven to write in. It's essentially a two-bedroom shingle-style house for Erica and her daughter Marin, or a guest who wants to come out to the ideal getaway from Manhattan, where space is at a premium. It not only reflects Erica's taste and my taste, but Nancy's taste probably most of all, because the story is very much from her heart and all of her films are beautiful to look at. Nancy is very involved with the specifics, and she and I discuss every color, every piece of furniture, every fabric. It's very much a reflection of her aesthetic.

"But one thing that was very important to us," continues Hutman, "was that the house still felt like it was a strong reflection of Erica's character, and that it was a house that someone lived in, not generic or sterile in any way."

Erica's beach house was inspired not only by a real house in Southampton - at which the company would film exteriors later in the production schedule - but by several others which Meyers, Hutman and their team saw when they visited the Hamptons. Every detail in the house, from the fabric on the sofas to the paintings, photographs and framed memorabilia on the walls, to the dishes and crockery in the kitchen pantry, looked and seemed real, because they were real.

"Nancy wanted the house to reflect a woman living alone for the first time in her 50s," adds set decorator Beth Rubino. "We fabricated a great deal of what you see in the house. We made or augmented most of the furnishings. Nancy truly appreciates patina and quality. She enjoyed the fact that some of the pieces in the kitchen were 19th century originals from Provence, while others were purchased from e-Bay for $1.99. And still they looked great next to one another."

Because of Erica's position as a major figure in New York theatre, Rubino created Playbills bearing the fictitious titles of her plays, bound copies of the plays, framed letters from stage luminaries (such as an original from George S. Kaufman) and even Tony and Drama Desk Awards for her office in the beach hou

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