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RAMONA AND BEEZUS

Creating Klickitat Street
The filmmakers promised Beverly Cleary they would be true to the books' Portland, Oregon setting. While the film was shot in Vancouver, Canada, every effort was made to double Ramona's hometown – and every shot had to pass the "would this exist in Portland?” test. The filmmakers transformed a quaint residential street in Vancouver's picturesque Dunbar neighborhood into Ramona Quimby's beloved Klickitat Street. The production took over a dozen houses in the neighborhood for sets, office space and housing. While Vancouver is the third largest production center in North America, the 27 days the production spent at the "Klickitat Street” location set a record for shooting in a residential area of the city.

The entire cast enjoyed their Klickitat Street experience – their home away from home. The ‘Quimby' house had been home to one family for many years, giving the locale, says Di Novi, a "great vibration. It was our own little neighborhood and we started to feel like we lived there.”

"It was like the neighborhood Beverly Cleary imagined,” says Duhamel. "It was nice because we had the house and backyard we were shooting in, and if you wanted something to eat, you just went to the house next door. My dressing room was in the basement of the next house over. It was very much a neighborhood movie.”

Much of the film's action plays from exteriors to home interiors, and back outside again, which mirrors the structure of Cleary's books. "So much of what was appealing about Beverly's books is that they're about the camaraderie of the neighbors,” says Elizabeth Allen. "The residents embraced us, and it felt like we were part of the neighborhood. And that's reflected on screen.”

In the Ramona books, the Quimbys have a front lawn, which meant that the filmmakers had to move a beautiful rock garden situated in front of the location house, to the backyard. The backyard itself was extended into a neighbor's yard, to highlight a tree on which Ramona and Aunt Bea have an important chat. "One of the reasons we chose this location,” says production designer Brent Thomas, "is that the neighbors behind the house had a fantastic tree. We moved the fence back thirty feet to include the tree in the Quimby's yard. And we added a branch that Ramona and Aunt Bea could sit on.”

The filmmakers extensively remodeled the house's interior, removing several walls and structural beams to facilitate camera movements. Director of photography John Bailey, ASC says, "Shooting in practical locations is a double-edged sword. The wonderful thing about a real location is you can integrate the interior and exterior spaces seamlessly. The disadvantage is you're constrained by the architecture of the space: it's more difficult to put the camera where you'd like it and, [shooting in our location house] tested our creativity to come up with different ways of shooting the scenes. We might have fallen into more traditional routines if we'd been working on a set.”

Ramona Quimby is a little girl with a huge imagination – and in RAMONA AND BEEZUS, says Elizabeth Allen, "We get to unzip Ramona's head and see into her brain.” To bring Ramona's vivid imagination to life, Allen came up with a unique visual approach that largely eschews the computer generated imagery audiences have grown accustomed to seeing. "I prefer the tactile quality you get from models and toys, and as I started to explore that idea, I realized it was a better way to go creatively,” Allen explains. "Even if I had carte blanche [to use expensive CGI], I would still have made the choice to use more practical techniques. I thought that was the best way to depict Ramona's special way of seeing the world.”

The director's mandate to production designer Brent Thomas and the art department was that everything in the imagination sequences had to appear elsewhere in Ramona'

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