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THE LADYKILLERS

About The Production
Reuniting with Joel and Ethan Coen for "The Ladykillers” is a stable of professionals who have worked in their expert capacities on many of their films. Cinematographer Roger Deakins (8 films with the Coens), production designer Dennis Gassner (6 films), costume designer Mary Zophres (7 films), stunt coordinator Jery Hewitt (9 films), and special effects coordinator Peter Chesney (7 films) are all Coen brothers regulars.

Academy Award® winner Gassner finds the collaboration a great treat. "It's been an incredible pleasure to be asked back. Their projects are always such incredible sanctuaries, because of the impeccable organization that they always put into their movies.” Gassner was especially excited to work on another film set a South, as imagined by the Coens.

"Because it takes place in the South,” he says about the tone and mood being conveyed in his work, "it has a wonderful timeless quality.”

One of the main challenges that Gassner faced was to build a bridge that figures prominently in the film's climax. "We obviously couldn't build a whole bridge on stage,” Gassner says, "but we could build part of a bridge, then have the rest as a CGI element in our Mississippi location. That said, it needed to be at least partly real – it would set it in a real place and give it a romantic quality. It was great fun to design – it's based on a bridge in Oregon that my family would drive over when I was a young boy.”

For costume designer Mary Zophres, the timeless quality was achieved by combining different periods from the 20th century while keeping in mind that the characters live in a small town in Mississippi. "Even though they have something from the past,” says Mary about the look of her characters, "they also have something very contemporary about their clothing.”

"Joel and Ethan's films are the most interesting projects,” says Zophres. "For a costume designer to have great characters to dress and a whole world to create, that's the jackpot. Their scripts are incredibly evocative – when I read it, I imagine the costumes.”

For the character of Dorr, says Zophres, "It's described that he's in a cream suit and there's references to Edgar Allen Poe, but actually the first person I thought of was Mark Twain.”

This translated into "a three piece suit, slightly oversized and a quirky bowtie,” explains Zophres. Dorr also wears a cape. "I think everybody would agree that there's a storybook quality to this movie,” continues Zophres, "a heightened sense of reality. So in that context, the cape totally works.”

Mrs. Munson, too, made an immediate impression on Zophres. "I remember thinking that she's got to have big bazooms and floral dresses,” she recalls. That said, Mrs. Munson's ample bosom does not come by her naturally. As Zophres explains, "Irma is not the size you see in her character so we have built a sculpture almost. It's definitely a work of art.”

About her character's look, Irma Hall says, "I wear dainty clothes and I fix my house up dainty and I have dainty little earrings.”

While Mrs. Munson and her church lady friends are dressed in demure classic florals and plaids vaguely reminiscent of the 30s, Dorr's henchmen have jumped ahead several decades. The General and Garth Pancake both have not updated their wardrobes since the 1970s, with the former donning leisure suits and the latter showing a preference for short shorts. Gawain, on the other hand, brings a modern sensibility and 21stcentury threads.

Though "The Ladykillers” is a comedy, and as such, does not require the extensive stunt or effects work of some of their other films, stunt coordinator Jery Hewitt and effects coordinator Peter Chesney still had jobs to do. "Our big action sequence, such as it is, is the tunnel explosion,” says Ethan.

"Pancake blows himself out of the tunnel while he's digging,” explains Chesney. "We had to launch h

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