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Principal Photography Begins
As the commencement of principal photography drew closer, Bart Freundlich and Tim Perell were determined to not let the recent Hollywood trend to shoot north of the border dictate where they would film TRUST THE MAN. Shooting in the Big Apple— despite the financial obstacles it can present—was vital to the success of the film.

"One of the biggest struggles we faced was the ability to stay in New York and shoot the movie here,” says Perell. "Everybody was pushing us to go to Canada, but New York is such a significant character in this movie that Bart and I felt adamant about staying here.”

Principal photography took place in November and December of 2004. "It started out as a mild, friendly fall, then the weather turned bitterly cold and more like winter,” recalls director of photography Tim Orr, who was enjoying his first collaboration with Bart Freundlich on TRUST THE MAN. "This change was actually advantageous for us because we were trying to portray two different seasons in the film.”

As the creative team began scouting and choosing locations, it became clear that if Freundlich was about to embark on a journey into new comedic territory, he wanted to keep his physical surroundings familiar. Most of the locations were not only close to his heart, but also close to his home.

"Our choices were definitely in the milieu of Bart's own life,” says production designer Kevin Thompson, who worked previously with Freundlich on WORLD TRAVELER. "He lives in the West Village, and in the film Rebecca and Tom live there. It was all very familiar to him. I live in the same area—quite often Bart and I could walk to work.”

"Bart also had connections with the Upper West Side and SoHo, where we also shot,” continues Thompson. "For him it was all about being naturalistic and in the neighborhood. Everything was very much in the vein of the familiar.”

In the film, Rebecca and Tom live in a West Village townhouse; Elaine and Tobey occupy her modest Upper West Side apartment. These locations were also kept to a realistic scale.

"These weren't glorified Hollywood locations,” says Thompson. "In so many New York films, you wonder how the characters could possibly afford their apartments. In TRUST THE MAN, we wanted the characters to live in places they really would be living in on their salaries.”

But there were no recreated dwellings on soundstages for the TRUST THE MAN crew. "We used all practical locations and live locations on the streets of New York City,” says Tim Orr. "There was no stage work except for the airplane scene at the very end of the movie.” Though this occasionally - 11 - presented a challenge when departments had to load in and work in cramped areas, it enhanced the authentic feel of the film.

Other locations included the Marc Jacobs store in SoHo and the exterior of Lincoln Center, where Rebecca is starring in a stage production. "Shooting at Lincoln Center was a real coup,” says Thompson. "Bart called in a favor. We couldn't have afforded it otherwise. Bart called in a lot of favors on this movie—with old friends, and with every owner of every restaurant that he and Julie love.”

Thompson identified his role on the film as less about specific design elements than making the overall aesthetic feel naturalistic and real. "Bart wanted to feel like this was his life,” says Thompson. "There wasn't a really big design challenge to tackle, but every movie should have a strong sense of place. In my mind, that was what my role was, and what I could encourage Bart to do.”

The lighting and photography techniques also contributed to the naturalistic vibe. It was a delicate balancing act, however, to perfect the look. "We wanted to straddle the line—maintaining a naturalistic approach, but keeping the mood light enough so that the conventions of the romantic comedy genre still work,” says Orr. "We found it hard to find grea


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