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GREENBERG

About The Production
Writer/director Noah Baumbach and producer/actor Jennifer Jason Leigh had previously teamed with Academy Award-winning producer Scott Rudin on Margot at the Wedding. Even as the film was being completed and then released in 2007 – to accolades including an Independent Spirit Award nomination for Ms. Leigh – the trio was already planning a new picture together.

Baumbach and Leigh mapped out the new movie as one that would afford Baumbach the opportunity to once again interlace emotional insight with biting wit, as he had in pictures from his debut Kicking and Screaming to the Oscar-nominated The Squid and the Whale. Baumbach and Leigh conceived a story that would take the writer/director to Los Angeles for filming. Several years prior, Leigh had co-written and co-directed a Los Angeles-set tale of relationships, The Anniversary Party. But Greenberg would make even more use of the city, as much more than a backdrop for the splendidly realized characters in the screenplay.

It would be filmed on a tight seven-week schedule, roughly the same amount of time the title character, Roger Greenberg, finds himself in Los Angeles.

"Los Angeles plays such a big part in Greenberg that it's another character, adding to the vibe of the film,” says locations manager Stephenson Crossley. "I didn't have to show Noah a lot of photos to give him different options. For the most part, he knew where he wanted to go and a lot of those places were written into the script – so it was my job to get us in there.

"Many of the locations very specifically noted in the script hadn't been featured in movies before, or at least weren't instantly recognizable. But we weren't a big-budget film, and since there's no gunfire or special effects in the picture, it's less disruptive to a place or a community. So, people were pretty accommodating.”

For example, the famed Musso & Frank Grill on Hollywood Boulevard, first opened in 1919 and a local institution ever since, was scripted as the setting for a modest yet arguably (to Greenberg, at least) excessive birthday celebration.

While other movies had shot there over the years, "we got them to close on a Tuesday for the first time in their history,” says Crossley. "We expressed to the owner how important it was for us to shoot there, and how it would help bring the film and the characters to life. The mandate from Noah was always real places and real people.” Accordingly, the restaurant's real-life waiters, one a 50-year veteran, were on duty for the sequence – and regular customers came in to be extras.

Other L.A. locations were also specifically written into the script for verisimilitude. These included Lucy's El Adobe restaurant, across the street from Paramount Pictures; the Runyon Canyon hiking trails, 160 acres of the Santa Monica Mountains that are a sanctuary for dog walkers; the Fairfax district, where orthodox Jews are seen walking to and from Temple every Friday and Saturday, alongside the trendsetters who hit the restaurants and boutiques along Melrose Avenue; and the Highland Gardens Hotel.

Most of the locations were in Hollywood or West Hollywood – accurately representing what would be within walking distance for the non-driving Greenberg – including a veterinarian's office where Leigh and Baumbach have taken their own pets.

The Silverlake area art gallery Machine Project allowed the production to incorporate an existing art installation into filming. Crossley explains, "The artists were building a forest in that space – and we had one night to shoot there before that exhibition opened. "Our production designer, Ford Wheeler, worked with me at all times, mapping out what he was designing in tandem with where we would be shooting. Hopefully Greenberg will give audiences a sense of what it's actual

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