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MATCH POINT

London Calling
"Crossing the pond” for the first time in his professional life, Woody Allen was happy to tap England's wealth of talent on both sides of the camera. 

Working with Allen for the first time, cinematographer Remi Adefarasin was impressed by the director's methods, noting, "Woody likes to stay close to the camera when we're rolling so he can see the actors' faces. He does not use a video monitor because he recognizes that they can be deceiving.”

London's famous weather also provided great atmosphere for Allen and Adefarasin. Allen remarks, "London has beautiful grey skies when it's overcast, which is much of the time. The flat light gives a color saturation to everything that's very rich and beautiful for photography.”

Production designer Jim Clay and costume designer Jill Taylor were also first-time Allen collaborators. For the actors' wardrobes, Taylor avoided overly stylized costumes, instead going for more classic, timeless fashions that were also class-conscious, in keeping with the story.

Jim Clay played a vital role in introducing Allen to the London environs that would play a major part in "Match Point.” "Jim Clay made a tremendous contribution to this film,” Allen states. "He was so meticulous and imaginative. He came up with great locations, wonderful sets and perfect solutions to any problems that arose.”

Whenever possible, Allen prefers to use practical sets, and with the help of Clay and location manager Sue Quinn, he was able to capitalize on many landmark locations in and around London. Londoners and frequent visitors to the historic city might recognize the Tate Modern, where Chris Wilton has a fateful reunion with Nola; the Queen's Club, where Chris and Tom first meet; the Royal Opera House, where Chris is introduced to the rest of the Hewett family; the modern Parliament View building, where Chris and Chloe find their upscale apartment; and the newest addition to the London skyline, the award-winning Sir Norman Foster-designed "Gherkin building,” where Chris' new office is located. Outside of London, the vast Englefield Estate became the magnificent Hewett family home.

Some of the other London locations seen in "Match Point” include St. James Park, Millennium Bridge, the Royal Court Theatre, the Palace Theatre, the Covent Garden Hotel, and St. George's Gardens and Blackfriars Bridge.

In some cases it was not practical to shoot on location, so Clay and his team were also called upon to build sets for specific scenes. For example, while some filming was accomplished at the Tate Modern, a sound problem within the galleries themselves forced the production to come up with an alternative. The design team constructed a duplicate gallery, complete with paintings, in a space at the Truman Brewery.

Similarly, the scenes in the Hewetts' box at the opera were actually filmed at the Royal Opera House, but the stage was off-limits. Instead, the opera set was built on a small stage at Ealing Studios.

Once again, Woody Allen eschewed a traditional movie score in "Match Point,” but unlike any of his earlier films, in which jazz dominates the musical backdrop, opera selections—almost all sung by the legendary Enrico Caruso—provide the soundtrack for this film. One obvious reason is that a mutual interest in opera is the common ground on which Chris and the Hewetts first meet.

Allen, however, offers a more thematic explanation. "The story is operatic; it deals with the kinds of things that opera is so often about: love and lust, passion and jealousy, betrayal and tragedy…and, of course, the confluence of fate and luck.”

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