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THE SHAGGY DOG

About The Design
THE SHAGGY DOG was filmed almost entirely in and around the greater Los Angeles area and at the Hollywood Center Studios, moving only in the very final days of shooting to the film's climactic location: the idyllic beach at Waimea Bay on the North Shore of Oahu, where the Douglas family comes together while Shaggy happily gets "tubed” in one of the beach's famous 12-foot curling waves.

Inspired both by classic family films and a more vivid sense of modern color and design, director Brian Robbins came to the project with very specific ideas for the look of the film.

"It's a classic Disney film so I wanted a classic quality…but without being traditional,” he explains. "Our production designer, Leslie McDonald, did a terrific job of creating a look that is very modern, very today and very beautiful. The Douglas' house, shot in a real house in Pasadena, is classic yet has the contemporary flair you would expect since Kristin Davis' character is an interior designer. Leslie also had a lot of fun with Robert Downey Jr.'s laboratory as a kind of sleek underground lair. And we also worked very hard to design an animal shelter set that would have the very cool feeling of a classic movie jail scene.”

Meanwhile, Gabriel Beristain's cinematography was designed around providing a "dog's-eye view” of the world. Known for his eye for action and thrills, this was Beristain's first foray into family films. "Gabby was very creative and used a lot of unique lenses to really show how the world looks to a dog,” notes Robbins. "He was perfect for this film because he's not afraid to shoot a lot of cameras all at once. He's incredibly flexible in his lighting style and his shooting style—which you have to be when you're working with the unpredictable nature of comedians, live animals and lots of special effects.”

Beristain quickly realized that THE SHAGGY DOG was going to require a wide variety of visual ideas. "It's a very eclectic story from a visual point of view,” he notes. "At times it's a fantasy, at other times it's a comedy or an action film and sometimes it's a very realistic drama so we had to find ways to seamlessly move from one kind of lighting scheme to the next. The main goal was to have the audience feel as much a part of the story as possible. It's a very complex and technical film, so that made it very interesting. It's going to be a very modern SHAGGY DOG!”

Also adding modern touches to the film's design is costume designer Molly Maginnis, whose work in THE SHAGGY DOG ranged from designing authentic Tibetan villager costumes to the "power suits” of lawyers and district attorneys. Maginnis faced a special challenge in designing clothing for Tim Allen's character—as he transforms into a dog, she had to create as many as 14 different suits in each design to accommodate Allen's fabric-defying stunts. "We fooled around conceptually with a lot of different ideas for what happens when Tim first becomes a dog,” she recalls. "Eventually, we decided he would lose all of his clothing and would wind up stark naked, which was a lot of fun with Tim. But first, during the transition, he had to do all these stunts. He was running, he was jumping, he was on wires, so we had to create a variety of suits that would allow him to do all that.”

Throughout the production, the design of the film, along with its visual style and special effects, was used to continually enhance the storytelling fun, which was always the bottom line.

"I think we've succeeded in updating, upgrading and streamlining a classic,” summarizes Tim Allen. "I'd like to see what else is in Disney's archives!”

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