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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 production design.

"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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