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Locations And Design
With more than 30 films to his directorial credit, Eastwood has mastered the economy of shooting and considers himself a director influenced by choices he would make as an actor. He limits rehearsals to achieve a more authentic feel in the performances and is not a fan of endless takes, a fact about which the cast of Changeling was appreciative. "Everything I do as a director is based upon what I prefer as an actor,” Eastwood says. "It's all a learning process over the years. No matter how you plan it, things happen that either work for you or against you. So there's always the excitement of trying to make it work, of taking a little stack of paper and make it into a living thing.”

It's a factor his team embraced during production. "Clint's extraordinary,” cites Jolie, "I can't say enough about him. I could go on forever. As a director, he's so decisive. He's got that leadership quality of a great man who values every single person on the film, and so they bring their best, and it's appreciated. He takes the time to consider things. He's just brilliant. I don't think I want to do any other films without him.”

In Changeling, the bustling city of Los Angeles serves as the backdrop of the Collins story as it plays out from Walter's disappearance to Christine's fight against the system. From the initial images of a happy family in a modest suburban home and the bustling phone operators' bank where Christine whizzes the workday away on roller skates to staging hundreds of demonstrators marching on City Hall after they're made aware of Christine's treatment, Changeling crisscrossed Southern California.

An extensive amount of research was necessary to duplicate specific locations and images of the late 1920s and early '30s. Initial location scouts revealed that older buildings had been torn down, streets replaced by superhighways and complete neighborhoods razed—including the one where the Collins family lived (east of Chinatown in contemporary L.A.). That area is now unrecognizable if one compares photos from today with those taken 80 years ago.

The filmmakers looked to production designer James Murakami and location manager PATRICK MIGNANO to visualize the period in modern-day Los Angeles. Murakami previously worked with Eastwood and DP Stern on Letters from Iwo Jima, so he was familiar with the director's aesthetic and the cinematographer's style.

It was a challenging task, but Murakami and his team were able to discover untapped suburban locales in San Dimas, San Bernadino and Pasadena, among other sites, to stand in for '20s-era L.A. The art department—complementing the location shoots in the above locales, Los Angeles City Hall and sets that were built on the Universal Studios backlot—supplemented key scenes. Naturally, visual effects supervisor Michael Owens would be called in to add effects enhancements and re-create backdrops, such as the city skyline and the red streetcars that then populated the region. Perhaps the biggest twist of kismet came with the discovery of a neighborhood in the Old Town district of suburban San Dimas, located approximately 35 miles east of Los Angeles. A tree-lined block of homes provided a remarkably close facsimile of what Murakami needed for the interior and exterior of the 1920s Collins home, as well as the surrounding neighborhood.

"We were very fortunate to find the location in San Dimas,” remembers Murakami. "Very little had changed in that section of town, and after seeing some of the footage we shot…it was just beautiful. Overall, we kept it as simple as possible. The colors are subdued to make it comfortable. Our set decorating department fully fleshed out every set and location with a great attention to detail.”

In Los Angeles, the streetcar service, with the iconic red streetcars that crisscrossed from the city of Pasadena to the


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