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FROST/NIXON

Locations
Locations were also used to their best advantage to provide verisimilitude with which producers of the stageplay didn't have to concern themselves. In the case of one particular location, the filmmakers got more than just a realistic backdrop.

"We visited Casa Pacifica, the Western White House, at the beginning of our research, but we never imagined it would be practical for us to film here,” recalls Howard. "But it's so unique, particularly in the courtyard area and the entrance, that we just couldn't find anything that would replicate it. I felt like I would regret not making every effort to be able to film here. Remarkably, after negotiating with the current owners, we were given permission to shoot some key sequences where some of the real events actually took place.”

Filming moved off stages and backlots and into international territory when Riverside, California's Ontario Airport was converted into London's Heathrow Airport. Later, the Southern California coastal city of Marina del Rey stood in for Sydney Harbor. The challenge, as usual, was adapting not only to the venue but the period.

"We started amassing images from Heathrow, and it began to shape my idea of the film as a whole,” says Corenblith. "Ron always loves technology in transition. So I had an idea of a Heathrow terminal and concourse that blended the duty-free area and the crowds of international travelers into a sort of image-heavy representation of the world in which Frost traveled.”

"Ron remembered going to Heathrow in 1977,” continues Orlandi. "He wanted to show a really international airport with all kinds of people. So we outfitted backpackers, a rock band, Muslim women and men, Russian and Japanese businessmen. It was loads of fun for us giving all these extras a different character.”

As the interviews were being negotiated in '77, the selection of the subject of intense negotiations between the camps was required. Neither the Western White House nor a conventional television studio was deemed appropriate. Not far from where Nixon lived, a loyal Republican couple owned a house, which they arranged to rent to Frost's production team. Thirty years after the fact, the original house no longer fit the part. Fortunately, a house was found in the Conejo Valley's Westlake Village that matched the period, and the interiors were constructed on stages.

That actual couple, Harold and Martha Lea Smith, were hosted to a stroll down memory lane when they visited the soundstage in Los Angeles, witnessing the miracle of production design that made the film's make-believe home into a virtual replica of their own. "It's surreal,” comments Harold Smith. "It looks just the same.”

The production moved from re-creating history to reliving it as filming began at The Beverly Hilton hotel. The Beverly Hilton was Frost's hotel of choice when he visited Los Angeles in the '70s, and the basic architecture has remained the same today. The production ended up shooting in suite number 817, Frost's former penthouse away from home. Nixon's foray into the lecture circuit was also filmed in one of the banquet rooms.

"I was trying in some small way to bring a little of the old Hollywood glamour to the Hilton suite, and that was where we took the greatest liberties and license,” says Corenblith. "We had a number of great publicity photos of The Beverly Hilton when it opened in the late 1950s. So, a lot of what we were doing was taking the best of those mid-century modern ideas and kind of bringing them back.”

Continuing production in Los Angeles, Sunset Boulevard—at the corner of Vine Street—was closed for filming when The Slipper and the Rose: The Story of Cinderella premiered for the second time at the Cinerama Dome. (The 1977 film on which Frost served as executive producer was successful enough to garner two O

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