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A Tale of Two Cities
Elemental to the story of Theresa and Garret are the two divergent worlds they each inhabit

Elemental to the story of Theresa and Garret are the two divergent worlds they each inhabit. It was essential that each world ring true, so filmmakers and production designer Jeffrey Beecroft set about creating a heightened reality -- full detailed and functional sets that were also cinematic.

When audiences meet Theresa, it is her job as a researcher that defines much of her as a person, so filmmakers, striving for authenticity, arranged an alliance with the Chicago Tribune -- the first time in more than ten years that the award-winning newspaper has allowed its name and image to be utilized in a feature film.

After his first visit to the Chicago building, Beecroft realized immediately that he didn't want to reproduce the offices; the workaday environment needed to be refashioned for cameras. He remembers, "The Tribune has your usual corporate offices with panels and walls separating employees. We wanted our offices to be very neoclassic, and we needed them to reflect the characters much more efficiently. We needed offices without panels or walls -- yet with lots of layers."

Filmmakers wanted viewers to see that Theresa Osborne lives in a very congested, busy world; she's a single mother in a busy metropolis, a recent divorcee, a researcher and valuable co-worker for a large urban newspaper. To portray this, Beecroft employed layering -- panels of glass walls layered over more glass; reams of papers, documents and books spread over employees' desks; desks beside more desks. "All this layering, all this 'busy-ness,' shows Theresa's stimulating, full work life, all the while conflicting with the isolation and stagnation of her personal life," comments the designer.

Even though the offices were re-created for the film, the reality of the paper's headquarters was always kept in mind. Beecroft went so far as to photograph the panoramic view from the 18th floor of the Tribune's Chicago building -- both day and night -- so that the images could be blown up to 20-foot curtain backdrops and placed behind the windows of his newsroom set. Filmgoers will be provided with a perfectly matched view of the Chicago skyline.

Director of photography Caleb Deschanel utilized forced perspective, bringing the images surrounding Theresa much closer and highlighting her isolation in the center of her fast-paced existence. Beecroft also inserted an atrium into the middle of the newspaper research offices so that Deschanel could shoot through more panels of glass and bring the passing of the seasons inside.

Construction of the newspaper set took place in a warehouse in Los Angeles, where crews converted the structure into a soundstage then erected steel scaffolding from which the newsroom ceiling and office wall panels were suspended. This construction allowed filmmakers the flexibility of shooting intimate scenes in any of the enclosed offices by flying out walls to make room for actors, crew, cameras, lighting and sound equipment. In addition to the soundstage work, location shooting was also completed in Chicago.

In stark contrast to Theresa's world, Garret lives on a small island in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, where the town's inhabitants exist on the bounty and recreational opportunities provided by the sea. The beautiful coastline of Maine was chosen as a stand-in for the chain of islands off the North Carolina coast, utilizing various cities near the maritime town of Bath, including New Harbor, Boothbay Harbor and Popham Beach. In addition to the picturesque locations,<

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