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IN THE LAND OF WOMEN

The Look And Location
Production Designer Sandy Cochrane and Costume Designer Trish Keating were brought on as key collaborators for ensuring Kasdan's vision was translated onto the screen.

The two key sets in the movie, the Hardwicke house and Grandma's house, were brought to life by Cochrane. After an exhaustive search that took the filmmaker scouting various cities across Canada, the city of Victoria, located on Vancouver Island, had all the elements that Kasdan was looking for. "Jon wanted a slightly heightened reality and we spent a lot of time talking about that when we were driving around looking for locations,” says Cochrane. "The story starts off in Los Angeles then shifts to Michigan, so when you arrive in the suburbs of the mid-west, there's an overwhelming sense of green as opposed to the overexposed, sun-parched landscape of Los Angeles.”

"Both Jon and I are from Southern California, which doesn't have the most traditional suburbs,' Brody says, "To us and to Carter, the suburbs are this pristine place you've seen in movies - football games, prom - sort of John Hughes meets Norman Rockwell. Jon's got a great crew and they've found and transformed our location into this ideal suburb. My character's curiosity of wanting to explore this other side of the world, in a way, is satisfied when he runs away to Michigan, in search of something he's seen in movies.”

"The pairing of the houses was the most critical element to finding the locations we wanted. For Grandma's house, we needed to find a house where the owners would allow us to take their beautifully kept home and make it a visually distressed residence. Then we needed to find a house directly across the street, where there couldn't be any impediment view-wise, which had to have a certain kind of architecture that presented a completely different aesthetic.”

Once the houses were found, movie magic stepped in and both houses were transformed. The entrance to Grandma's house was dressed with overgrown shrubs and weeds to give it the appearance of a dark burrowing world. The interior of the house was completely redone to reveal a home that had been neglected, where newspapers and mementos cluttered every inch of space. Across the street where the Hardwicke House stood, immaculate green lawns and an abundance of carefully groomed flower beds presented the opposite impression ⎯ a family that was very concerned about outward appearances. The rest of the locations needed; a mall, ice cream shop, a hospital among others, posed no problem and Victoria easily doubled for the Michigan suburbs. For the Los Angeles portion of the shoot, Kasdan already had real landmarks in mind that he wanted to shoot at such as the 101 Coffee Shop and the Santa Monica Pier.

Cochrane explains that Kasdan's clear vision of what he wanted, meant "asking the right questions, listening very carefully and taking every opportunity to bounce ideas off him. Jon has a vast knowledge of film, he has a long list of films that he can reference so that you can go back, look at these films and know exactly what he's going for.”

But besides providing the physical locations needed for In the Land of Women's intimate world, the Uplands neighborhood where the Hardwicke House and Grandma's House were located, also became much more of a home away from home than anyone had expected. An experience not lost on Meg Ryan. "I loved shooting in Victoria and this neighborhood was just crazy! I couldn't have made it up!” the actor remembers. "They were so cool to let us into their neighborhood night after night, day after day. They would walk their dogs and wave to me, then they started baking things and bringing them by the trailer I got chai tea from someone's grandma. It was the biggest, open-armed hug all the time. Adam would leave his dog at one the neighbor's house who left th

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