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DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THE MORGANS?

Shooting In New York
The shoot began in New York City, and Marc Lawrence had assembled a fantastic production team that also happened to be quite familiar with making films in the Big Apple: Florian Ballhaus as the director of photography and Kevin Thompson as production designer. 

Sarah Jessica Parker recalls recommending Thompson, who had designed Stranger Than Fiction and Igby Goes Down, for the job. "I said there's a guy I've been wanting to work with for years,” says Parker. "He's so good, he's so talented, he's so special, but he doesn't travel. He doesn't like to leave New York.” 

"I met with Marc because I read the script and I really enjoyed it. It's a genre that I don't normally do,” says Thompson. "We immediately clicked about the experience of the story, the idea of living in New York for a long time, and then going to other parts of the country. I think people really would seem alien at first.”

Florian Ballhaus, who previously worked with Parker as the director of photography on the last season of "Sex and the City,” was behind the camera. "Florian was just fantastic,” says Lawrence. "It's the kind of relationship with a cinematographer that I've always hoped to have. He's incredibly skilled, amazingly easygoing, and very collaborative, and as if that weren't enough, he's funny. If they let me make another movie, he's the first call.”

Thompson's challenge with the design for the Morgans' life in New York was to capture the couple's socio-economic status, as well as the emotional temperature. Their Upper East Side apartment at the start of the film "felt a little bit like things were missing in their life,” he explains. "Paul had moved out. There was a void. They have a dining room, but instead of using it for dinner parties, Meryl uses it to work.”

The Morgans' apartment also served as the location for a very tricky stunt in which Meryl Morgan climbs along the ledge of her building to escape the hit man, who has tracked her down in the city. Thompson points out the apartment they needed didn't exist in one space, so for the stunt they built the façade of the balcony on the stage at Steiner Studios in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. 

Of course, the New York sets would have to exhibit a stark contrast with the rest of the film, set in Wyoming. "We really made a conscious effort to shoot New York differently,” says Lawrence. "The clothes would be different, the colors of the sets would be different, even the camera angles and score would be different. The idea was that in the New York scenes, you would really feel the pulse and pace of the streets, so we could contrast that with Wyoming.”

Thompson also considered the look of the city on the whole within the context of the movie itself. "We tried to create a neighborhood and environment for them and get enough diversity of what classic New York is like and what high end New York is like so that it would be diametrically opposed to what their experience would be like when they got to Wyoming,” Thompson explains.

Another department that had to artistically and visually delineate the two worlds of New York and Wyoming for the film was wardrobe. Costume designer Christopher Peterson, who had worked with Lawrence on Music and Lyrics, stepped up to the challenge, despite initial intimidation about styling Sarah Jessica Parker. 

"There was an initial reaction when I knew that she was doing the film. I thought ‘Oh God, that's fantastic!' And then I thought ‘Oh God, I have to dress Sarah Jessica!' But she was nothing but lovely,” says Peterson. 

"The first thing she said to me was ‘No Carrie, no Carrie,'” says Peterson of his collaboration with Parker on the character of Meryl. "She's playing a lady real estate broker on the Upper East Side…It came down to a Hitchcock heroine silhouette. Som

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