A SIMPLE PLAN
About The Production
"A Simple Plan" was filmed in the
early months of 1998 in Delano, Minnesota, which serves as the
small town backdrop. The tight-knit community is a strong element
of the film. The central characters must portray a false innocence
to people whose lives are intimately woven with their own.
Says Raimi, "The smallness of the community intensifies the
paranoia. The characters know the people they're deceiving. They
walk by their houses, see them on the street. The policeman is
a close friend of the brothers', and they must lie to him. Unlike
a large city, there is no place to hide."
Echoes Thornton, "It's hard to be a criminal and disappear
in a town of 6,000 people. Your neighbors are going to find out."
The locals in Delano did whatever they could to welcome the cast
and crew to their hometown, but could not guarantee the weather.
Normally, this region of Minnesota produces ample quantities of
snow. However, due to El Niño, climatic changes forced
the production to temporarily relocate to northern Wisconsin to
find the snow levels described in the script.
The climate presented some difficulties for production designer
Patrizia Von Brandenstein, who at times had to patiently await
good weather to complete the necessary exterior work. However,
she says, the bountiful snow provided an alluring warm look to
the film, effectively softening and blending the colors.
An Academy Award® winner for "Amadeus" and two-time
Oscar® nominee, Brandenstein previously collaborated with
Raimi on "The Quick and the Dead." For "A Simple
Plan," the two chose to scale down their normally elaborate
"Sam and I wanted the film's design to capture the stark
simplicity of the script, which reminded me of a poem. It was
so strictly structured you could see its bones," Brandenstein
says. "We created a muted black-and-white color scheme to
suggest a morality tale, the choices given between right and wrong."
The designer also sought to depict the characters' contrary environs,
and differing psychological standing. Hank and Sarah (Paxton and
Fonda) are secure and respected in the town's social strata, admired
more than loved. Their home is shown to be pristine and well ordered,
as though the couple is attempting to embody a stability and virtue
lacking in their own hearts. The well-liked, but pitied Jacob
(Thornton) has been displaced from his beloved farm and lives
a desultory existence. His neglected and antiquated home reflects
an acceptance that the world -- even in its smallest, slow-paced
corner -- has passed him by.
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