About The Production
Principal photography on "Celebrity" commenced on August 27, 1997
Principal photography on "Celebrity" commenced on August
27, 1997. "This was a very big picture in scope," states
"Celebrity" co-producer Richard Brick. "The picture
has 242 speaking roles which is almost the equivalent of the speaking
roles of Woody's past four pictures combined." There were
5128 extra performers employed which was almost four-times the
extras count on "Deconstructing Harry." The movie was
largely a Manhattan based production utilizing locations throughout
the borough including several in the trendy downtown districts.
A fashion show was cleverly staged in an abandoned roof-top greenhouse
on the East Side with a spectacular view of the 59th Street Bridge.
The Stanhope Hotel was the site of the first chaotic scene with
Leonardo DiCaprio where, as a young movie star, he trashes his
hotel room. Other locations around the city included the famed
Ziegfeld Theatre, the Serge Sorokko Gallery in Soho, the Flamingo
Club and Jean-Georges Restaurant, one of New York's most elegant
and critically acclaimed restaurants. The beautiful outdoor garden
of Barbetta's Restaurant on West 46th Street became
the perfect backdrop for a wedding reception; this family owned
restaurant employs one person solely to tend to the garden's famous
Beyond the various New York sites used in the film, notable out
of town locations included the Trump Marina Hotel and Casino in
Atlantic City. These facilities were donated by Donald Trump (who
appears as himself later in the film in the scenes filmed at Jean-Georges).
Since New Jersey Gaming Laws permit only licensed dealers on the
gambling floor, an agreement was struck with the Screen Actors
Guild to allow the use of the Trump Hotel's dealers and casino
staff. The scene was shot in one section of the Casino, while
regular gambling went on around the production. One of the biggest
challenges facing set designer Santo Loquasto, who has been working
with Woody Allen for many years, was the fact that the movie was
being shot in black and white. "You have to rely on architecture
rather than color to provide variety," comments Mr. Loquasto.
"On a black and white film the location manager really is
part of the art department."
In addition to its romantic storylines, "Celebrity"
also examines the circus trappings of modern day fame, a theme
that has become relevant in recent years. "Somehow it's something
that Woody has always been a master of, " says Janssen. "Things
in his movies become current topics when the movie comes out."
In the film, everything from plastic surgery to pop religion is
used to bear out Andy Warhol's prediction that, in time, everyone
would enjoy fifteen minutes of fame. But Mr. Allen challenges
the veracity of Warhol's most widely quoted quip. "That's
one of those things that sounds great, but has nothing to do with
reality. Fame is a major goal for many people, but really only
a fraction of one percent of the population enjoys any kind of
notoriety or fame."
"Celebrity" also examines the many sides of fame as
it impacts characters throughout the course of the film. "There's
a ridiculousness and superficiality to so much of it, and a price
to pay, but the perks are good," says Allen.
"It's a double edged sword," says Mantegna. "Our
business strives to achieve the thing that sometimes causes the
most pain." "I don't think of myself as a celebrity,
however, there is a certain degree of celebrity that I have and
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