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CONFESSIONS OF A SHOPAHOLIC

New York Fits The Bill
NYC a Shoe-In for "Shopaholic” Setting Once the decision had been made to shift the location of the story to the United States, it was clear that Rebecca Bloomwood's tale of over-zealous shopping could be set in only one place. "New York is a character in itself, an icon of all cities as well as the world capital of fashion,” says producer Jerry Bruckheimer. "It wasn't that much of a challenge to change the location from London to New York, because both cities have the same kind of panache and design sense, along with chaos, crowds and a sense of fun.”

Director P.J. Hogan adds, "The thrill is in the shops. In the book series, Becky Bloomwood heads to Manhattan in the second book, and finds herself in absolute shopping heaven. And where better to put a shopaholic than in shopping heaven?”

The elaborate shoot, which kicked off in arctic 15-degree temperatures and wrapped at 90 degrees, presented the notable challenge of filming in the streets and stores of one of the busiest, if not outright chaotic, cities on earth.

"Filming on the streets of New York is like voluntarily admitting yourself to an asylum,” says Hugh Dancy. "You're right there working in the middle of a very busy city. It's crowded and hectic, but that's the point. That's why you do it. Because scenes in New York are grounded in acting. I think it adds something to the character of the movie.”

Filmmakers called on Kristi Zea as production designer. "Kristi is the premier New York production designer,” says Bruckheimer. "She understands the city and the kind of melting pot that it is, the texture that it needs, and with her design and fashion sense created wonderful sets, whether for the Successful Saving or Alette magazine offices, or her re-design of the famous stores and their window displays.”

Says Zea, "I immediately realized that the film would have great visual potential. It's fun to dabble in high fashion and trends, and since I come from a costume background, I recognized that this was going to be one of those films where you can just let it all hang out…and you could also set trends. The film goes from one end of the spectrum to the other in terms of economic views and areas. You have the super-high fashion of Madison Avenue, Fifth Avenue, the Meatpacking District, Tribeca, SoHo and the Lower East Side, and you have Becky's Mom and Dad, who live in a nice, middle-class world. I liked being able to find the iconographic element of New York and boost that, but also to find a new way of showing New York.”

Besides NYC, the film shot in Miami and in Connecticut. In fact, the "Shopaholic” odyssey began its first week of shooting in Connecticut, where Zea and her team created myriad locations, including the very first day's shoot inside the offices in a nondescript building, resulting in a coincidence which amazed author Sophie Kinsella. "Considering what I've recently learned about the random order in which movies are made, as it happens the first scene we filmed was also the very first scene I ever wrote of Rebecca Bloomwood for the first book. It was like a psychic moment!”

The interior set of Becky and roommate Suze's fun, kicky and colorful apartment, which is meant to be in the fast-rising and terminally hip NoLita (North of Little Italy) neighborhood in lower Manhattan, was shot on a Norwalk soundstage. Says Zea, "It was absolutely essential to me that the inside of the apartment be small to realistically match the 100-year-old building we found on Mott Street in Manhattan as the exterior. Suze lives in the bedroom, and Rebecca in the living room, practically on top of each other. The two women also have very distinct styles, but the idea was to wrap up the differences between the two characters and go a little crazy with color, cool fabrics, mosaic mirrors in

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