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SPANGLISH

About The Production
Spanglish was shot entirely in Los Angeles in such locations as Beverly Hills, Bel Air, Malibu and Stage 27 on the Sony Pictures lot in Culver City. Brooks assembled a gifted creative team who brought a wealth of experience. Foremost among them were Oscar®-winning cinematographer John Seale, production designer Ida Random and Brooks' longtime editor Richard Marks.

Seale and Brooks had been trying to work together for years, but their respective schedules kept conflicting. When Brooks approached Seale about Spanglish, he had just returned home to his native Australia following several months on Cold Mountain – which earned him an Academy Award® nomination.

Random had never worked with Brooks as a director, though she'd designed War of the Roses, which Brooks produced. From that experience, Random had a sense of the director's expectations and was versed in the unique, and often metaphorical, way in which he conveys his ideas. "His way of speaking is sometimes difficult to understand,” Random explains. "But early on, I formed a way to connect with Jim so this movie went very smoothly and things just fell into place. It doesn't happen that way very often. It was a great experience for me, working with Jim Brooks.”

Brooks wanted the production schedule of Spanglish to follow the chronological order of the screenplay. By not breaking with the continuity of the story, he felt the film's emotional pace would be enhanced. Shooting a film in this manner is often impractical because of the limitations imposed by the actors' schedules and the logistical constraints of film production. Fortunately, executive producer Joan Bradshaw, working with first assistant director and co-producer Aldric La'auli Porter, was able to accommodate Brooks' needs with few compromises. "The script was written in a clearly defined, linear fashion and lent itself, for the most part, to this kind of scheduling,” says Bradshaw. "We couldn't always stick to script chronology, but we came pretty close.”

Brooks also wanted to shoot Spanglish as much as possible in real locations rather than on sound stages. He reasoned that this would keep the actors from being disoriented when they started a scene in a real location and then picked it up weeks later on a sound stage. Random explains, "The typical way of making films is to split your shoot between actual locations and sets – shooting wide angles on location and building interiors on stage. But this film is delicate in its emotions and Jim was adamant about not breaking up the sequences and potentially throwing off the mood. It's much better for the actors, but when you're shooting on location in a real house it can be difficult for the crew because with actual structures you don't have the flexibility of moving walls and allowing the camera to roam freely.”

Seale was undaunted by the restrictions, however. "Working in small rooms is awkward, but we used short lenses, put cameras in corners and used every trick we could to make it work. To be honest, I always worry about being able to take a wall out when I'm on a stage, because you could get shots that aren't logically correct. I think the audience senses that, so I try never to position the lens as though it's out of the room. I love to keep a reality to it.”

Random began scouting locations and planning the overall design months in advance of filming. One of her first objectives was to find an area in Los Angeles that could double as a suburb of Mexico City for the film's opening sequence. She and location manager Mark Benton Johnson visited Lincoln Heights, a residential area east of downtown, in search of a house and vista that would suit the script's demands.

"The location manager took me to Lincoln Heights and showed me an actual house that he thought might work,” she says. "It was very good, but I said: ‘

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