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Design And Locations
"A newspaper can slant this any which way they want to. How do you think that's gonna go down?” —Cal McAffrey

Anne comes to old friend Cal for advice.


Creating the intricate newsroom and print shop where Cal, Della, Cameron and co-workers work at The Washington Globe required not only exhaustive research, but also two sound stages at Culver Studios in Culver City, California, to host the newspaper. It was the most detailed set on which the filmmakers could remember shooting.

To imagine the work environment of the writers and editors of The Washington Globe, production designer Mark Friedberg and five-time Oscar®-nominated set decorator CHERYL CARASIK toured the offices of several newspapers, including The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times, took endless photos and reviewed archival documents that would give them inspiration.

Nowhere was authenticity more important to the film than in this newsroom. "Our special effect is our newspaper set,” the director proudly notes. "We put all our love into that set. It was built over a vast area of two stages, opened up to be together, and it was double height. Some days, we had 250 journalists in there. I don't think anyone who's seen the film doesn't believe this is a real place.”

Says designer Friedberg of the process: "Most people think they know what a newspaper office looks like. Ninety percent of all newsrooms do look the same in certain respects: dropped ceiling, oppressive lighting and endless perspective. So we had to make it more real than what the average person can imagine. We also had to do a little improvising to make the fluorescent lighting more beautiful. We were using it to light our scenes, not just type copy.”

While working with film crews for more than two decades should have prepared him for what he'd find, Friedberg was still surprised by the surroundings. He laughs: "Mostly what we found is how messy reporters are. Filing is something they don't have much time for; filing means just piling your papers in a particular stack. Our technical advisor's main criticism about our newsroom was that it wasn't messy enough.”

That advisor was R.B. BRENNER, respected editor of The Washington Post's metro section. Like anyone who watches as his profession receives the Hollywood treatment, Brenner was initially skeptical of how serious the filmmakers took their responsibility to accuracy. Those apprehensions were abated in his first meeting with the director.

"When I first met with Kevin, I was struck by how knowledgeable he was about newspapers,” recalls Brenner. "He had really done his homework. He comes from a documentary background and he obviously had a real interest in journalism, as well as a respect for it. Mostly, in that first meeting, he was looking for precise detail in understanding what we would do in certain situations.”

Offers Macdonald: "We tried to be as accurate as possible to what it's like to be a journalist for the film.

HELEN MIRREN as newspaper editor Cameron Lynne. The Washington Post was enormously useful and helpful, and they really took us under their wing. Every actor went on a tour and spent half a day there. They let us film their printing presses and advised us. They also gave us R.B. Brenner, who we met while we were touring the place. He really kept us on the straight and narrow. R.B. is so responsible and ethical and sees journalism as an important public institution. He believes, as a reporter, you are responsible for the society you're living in, and you can do so much harm by printing an untruth.”

Brenner became a key part of the filmmaking team, taking a sabbatical from his job at the Post for the month of fi

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