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IT'S COMPLICATED

Production Design
Production designer Hutman and his crew spent months on a massive stage at the Broadway Stages studios in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, constructing the set that would serve as the inside of Jane's home. Meyers is always meticulously involved in creating the look of her films, and this was one of her favorite parts of the preproduction period. The process began early as she assembled representative photos that struck her as appropriate. She shared these with Hutman and costume designer Sonia Grande to pique their creativity and eventually arrived at an organic, integrated style. The long back-and-forth process between Meyers and longtime collaborator Hutman was fruitful.

"I sent the design photos to Jon,” Meyers explains, "and he sent images back to me as well. I think the way people live tells you a lot about them, so I'm very particular about what's sitting on a table. I'll walk around the set, saying, ‘Would she really be reading this book?' Jon's so incredibly collaborative. We went back and forth a lot, and he kept the doors open to all the other departments. He's tireless, and my ideas keep evolving, so Jon's a good person for me to work with because he never shuts down.”

"Nancy, perhaps more than any director I've worked with, comes to the table with a clear and specific vision of the world in which the story takes place,” says Hutman. "This strong visual concept becomes the foundation upon which we begin to scout locations, design sets and create the look of the film. The good news is that Nancy speaks this language of color, shape and texture. She's very clear about what she wants, and I love our collaboration.”

In the case of It's Complicated, Meyers felt early on that it was important to have the color orange play a prominent part in the color scheme, "because it seems to be the dominant color you see in Santa Barbara,” she explains. "All of those red-tile roofs that create a rich, orange glow against the sky. I wanted that feeling to continue into Jane's house. I wanted a lot of earth colors to bring the outside in, because so much of the film takes place inside the house. I wanted to keep Southern California alive…even when we were indoors.”

Hutman helped Meyers create a visual elegance that spreads into the other senses, so that audiences can almost feel the tactile surfaces of Jane's kitchen, smell the herbs in her garden and taste the fabulous pastries of her bakery. "We wanted to give the audience the experience of what it would be like to live in this part of Southern California,” says Hutman. "Santa Barbara is such a beautiful place, and we tried to capture many of the qualities that make it special. For an audience to feel what it's like in Santa Barbara is to help them identify with these characters.”

The process of creating these scenic environments is a long and intense one, but ultimately rewarding for both Hutman and Meyers. "I could just do the house the way I want it and there are directors who would just show up and shoot it,” Hutman says. "But to Nancy, the house is very much a character in her movie, and my job is not done until I have given her what she wants. If we do our job right, we come out at the end with something that's much more interesting for the audience to discover.”

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