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Places Of The Heart
Eight weeks of filming One Day took the cast and crew to locations in and around London, Edinburgh, and Paris through the summer of 2010; this was most appropriate, since Dexter and Emma's story unfolds over summer days. Ultimately, the production shot at over 50 different locations.

Lone Scherfig muses, "We moved around all the time, experiencing so much, yet it was always July 15th…”

"It was a very ambitious schedule on a not-giant budget,” reflects Nina Jacobson. "Fortunately, our crew found their footing quickly. Each department met and exceeded the demands we placed on them.

"The locations we selected were part of conveying where our characters are at that moment in their life. One or both of our lead actors are in every scene, and sometimes it was a race to finish at each location in time.”

For Anne Hathaway, the peripatetic pace was welcome because "shooting on location helps you to embody the atmosphere of the scene and tell the story. I was very excited to be working in London, Paris never disappoints, and we had a great time in Edinburgh.”

In Edinburgh, the production managed the feat of getting an entire shooting crew to the top of Arthur's Seat – 823 feet above the city – for a couple of days of filming. Some of the heavier equipment had to be transported up by helicopter, but the majority was carried up, Sherpa-style, by all hands on deck. Other Edinburgh locations included Moray Place and Parliament Square.

The England locations were numerous; the production headquartered at Ealing Studios, where such classics as The Ladykillers and It Always Rains on Sunday were made. The production also filmed at another storied studio, Pinewood Studios, the decades-long home to the celebrated Pink Panther and James Bond series; managed to secure Westminster Cathedral for a wedding sequence; filmed at the landmark Big Ben clock tower by dawn's light; and set up shop at vivid street locations around Waterloo and Dalston.

The combination of the book's massive popularity and the two leads' star appeal drew heavy spectator traffic wherever the unit ventured out into the London streets. Jim Sturgess remarks, "People would come up to me and ask, ‘Is this bit in the movie?' or ‘Who is playing so-and-so?' This was the first time that I'd played a character who has a strong reference point to others' imagination.”

Scherfig was intent on making London into a key player within One Day. She marvels, "London is so eclectic and full of life, and I do have a strong sense and recall of the periods we're depicting. Throughout the 1990s, London was a highly energetic place and because Emma and Dexter live hectic lives in that era, I wanted to render the scenes quite full-on and expressionistically.

"The city and the era itself helped to define the style of the film, with small tonal and visual adjustments for each sequence and each year.”

Key members of the filmmaking team were cinematographer Benoît Delhomme, hair and make-up designer Ivana Primorac, production designer Mark Tildesley, and – reunited with the director following An Education – costume designer Odile Dicks-Mireaux.

In France, filming took place at the Palais Royal, for a tête-a-tête between Dexter and his mother; at the venerable Gare du Nord, arguably the busiest train station in Paris; and up and down the Canal Saint Martin, among other locations depicting two different years in the story. The first is 1990, when Dexter is spending a year living in Paris teaching English and is visited by his parents; the second is 2001, when he goes to visit Emma, now an established children's books author who is residing in the city.

Scherfig further quantifies the differences by explaining that "Dexter's mother's Paris is the posh Paris; Emma's is the bohemian Paris.”

Sturgess enthuses, "I've always wanted to shoot even just one scene in Paris. It's so vividly conveyed in the book; to be suddenly standing in the streets that you've read about was a thrill.”

A bonus filming location for everyone – particularly the two leads – was along the Brittany coast, in breathtaking Dinard and its environs. The French town provided the locations of harbor exteriors and a shimmering seawater pool, as well as the beach La Guimorais. Although the book's setting for Dex and Em's holiday scenes is Greece, Jacobson comments that the production "needed to find somewhere a little closer by to where we were working overall. Dinard is incredibly romantic, and feels as exquisite and extraordinary as Greece.”

Scherfig reminds that "this is an all-summer film, and to be able to play out one of the summer sequences in Brittany added a rare beauty and softness to that particular day in our love story.”

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