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Location And Decor
Using key elements of New York City and detailed set design to create an updated film for today's generation, director/co-writer/producer Charles Shyer and co-writer/producer Elaine Pope set their modern "Alfie” entirely in Manhattan. Pope explains: "One of the ways to bring the film to a whole new audience is to bring Alfie to New York. making him a fish out of water. To quote Sting. he's ‘an Englishman in New York.' He's living his dream, but under it all he's a little lost in the big city. With very few friends and no family, he is without any deep emotional anchor.”

Exteriors in Manhattan and its surrounding boroughs serve as the backdrop for Alfie's exploits. Prominent New York landmarks, such as Tavern on the Green aglow with Christmas lights, The Waldorf Astoria Hotel on Park Avenue. the Chanel boutique on Madison Avenue, as well as a variety of locations in SoHo, Greenwich Village and the spectacular vista of Manhattan's skyline from Brooklyn's DUMBO section. all serve as Alfie's playground.. .and eventually his school of hard knocks.

While the exteriors of the film build excitement into Alfie's lifestyle, it is the interior sets and the costume designs that truly define his character and that of all the women he woos. Creating all the sets, from Alfie's own humble digs in the low-rent end of Manhattan's Lower East Side to Liz's ultra-posh penthouse on the Upper East Side, is set designer Sophie Becher (BAFTA nominee for "The Borrowers”).

"Since Alfie is a transplanted Englishman in New York, Jude Law had very specific elements he felt should be added to Alfie's environment,” Becher recalls. "For example. he thought that Alfie would probably have brought some items with him from England, specifically, English comic books: Dandly, which is still published today, and Roy of the Rovers, which was big in the ‘60s and ‘70s. He also suggested that Alfie own a copy of David Niven's memoir, The Moon's a Balloon, and he contributed his own orange-colored 1960s record player.”

In addition to researching single-male apartments in New York, which gave Becher the idea for the tin ceiling and the Mansard windows that poke out of the rootline, the designer also wanted to show Aflie's transient lifestyle through his belongings. "Actually, Alfie doesn't have many trappings,” says Becher. "In fact, he rarely spends the night in his own apartment, so it's not surprising to see towels from various upscale hotels, such as the Soho Grand, as part of his accoutrements.”

While Alfie's transplanted lifestyle is evident in what he's brought over from England, Liz's elegant surroundings are indicative of her established and worldly accomplishments. Alfie's uptown mistress' apartment is clearly upscale, replete with an exquisite Swarovski crystal chandelier created by Swedish designer Tjord Bjornson: contemporary fabrics by textile designer Neisha Crosland: and eclectic artwork, including a portrait of Liz (Susan Sarandon) 20 years younger by Russell Oxlcy.

"Liz's penthouse is the height of decadence - extremely sensual and very luxurious,” says Becher. "The goal was to create a place that would bowl over a guy like Alfie. someone who doesn't impress easily. In fact, we wanted Liz's set to be aspirational for Alfie, so that when he reacts with the attitude that he needs to ‘aim higher,' the audience can relate.”

The owner of her own cosmetic company, Liz is a well-traveled, self-sufficient woman with her own acquired style. According to Becher, Charles Shyer first based his ideas on Liz's surroundings on Goldie Hawn's apartment in New York.

"The golden statute of Buddha prominently displayed in the living area is indicative of Liz's eclectic spiritual background and her worldliness,” Becher points out. "Her taste is also reflected in the exquisite floral arrangements. particularly the green orchids tied to Japanese twisted bamboo. Even the absinthe glas

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