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Creating The Family Beach House
Like the best family weekends, DAN IN REAL LIFE unfolds in a gorgeous locale: a beautiful but cozy seaside house on the spectacular, tree-lined Rhode Island shore. From the beginning, finding the right house was as key as the casting. At last, after much scouting, the filmmakers settled upon a place known as "Riven Rock,” itself a beach house that has been in the same family for many years—an all-wood structure that sits on Narragansett Bay in picturesque Jamestown, Rhode Island, just across the bridge from Newport. This classic summer home, built in 1911-1912 by T.D. Wright for Joseph Lovering of Philadelphia, features a wraparound porch that provides awe-inspiring views of the sunset over the water. "We walked into this house and knew right away this was it. With the water and the sun, it cast a spell,” says Brad Epstein.

Hedges collaborated closely with production designer Sarah Knowles to furnish "Riven Rock” to reflect both the casual, fun-loving nature and the creative personality of the Burns family—as well as to serve as a kind of metaphor for the memories that still haunt and hold back Dan. "The house is like a character itself,” says Shestack. "It has all these cubbyholes and bedrooms and the sense of being lived in and cherished for many years. It's a place that has its own heartbeat.”

Other notable locations in Rhode Island include the Point Judith Lighthouse on Narragansett Bay and the summer resort town Misquamicu, where Dan takes the littlest kids for a day of rained-out attractions; Jimmy's Place in Newport, where Dan and Ruthie face Marie and Mitch in their impromptu dance competition; the Jamestown harbor, where Dan and Marie first meet in a bookstore created from scratch by Sarah Knowles and her crew in the town's Harbor Master's office; as well as Westerly, where Dan and Marie ply the lanes of the Alley Katz Bowling Center.

Adding her own key touches to the story is costume designer Alix Friedberg, whose task was to give each of the film's characters his or her own organically unique sense of style. At the heart of her designs was Dan's clothing, which sets the tone for his transformation after he meets Marie. She explains: "Dan is a man who has lost the desire to give much thought to his appearance. He's a single parent who makes sure lunches are made and homework is done before he gives a thought to himself. He is the invisible man—a man whose clothes feel like they have grown on his back—until he starts to pay attention again.”

Meanwhile, Friedberg had a blast designing Marie's buoyant look in concert with Juliette Binoche. "Working with Juliette Binoche was among the great thrills of my life. Not only is she one of the most beautiful women I have ever seen, she breathes such life into everything she does,” says Friedberg. "Juliette wanted Marie to have feline qualities, and I also wanted her to have a sense of style inspired by her travels. Her clothes make it clear she is a bit of an outsider to this family while at the same time someone who could connect with Dan's girls. She wears an eclectic mix of feminine knits with lace under-layers and soft colors that illuminate her among a family of strong colors and patterns. Juliette also wore many layers of rings on her fingers, creating a history of love and loss.”

Another favorite for Friedberg was dressing Dianne Wiest as Nana Burns, who clearly passed along her creative streak to her children. "We didn't want her to feel at all like a typical grandmother, in cardigans and pearls, but a strong woman with a real sense of artistry. She's someone who loves to get her hands dirty, a traveler, a scavenger, a gardener, a chef, with a great sense of humor, someone who took incredible care and thoughtfulness into the decorating of her home,” she explains. "All of Nana's clothes were inspired by vintage fabrics we foun

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