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About The Production

"Sleepy Hollow" was filmed almost entirely in England. Director Tim Burton, along with director of photography Emmanuel Lubezki, production designer Rick Heinrichs and costume designer Colleen Atwood, chose a style for the film that Burton describes as reminiscent of the horror films of the 50's and 60's. As a frame of reference, Burton encouraged his team to watch films like Mario Bava's "Black Sunday," Roman Polanski's "The Fearless Vampire Killers" and Hammer horror films. "They're beautiful, those movies. They really have an art to them and those are my favorite kind of movies," says Burton.

The film's fairy tale-like images are enhanced through Lubezki's highly stylized lighting and a tightly controlled color palette that permeates everything from set design to costumes. "We wanted an almost black and white feel, very monochromatic with a lot of contrast," says Lubezki. The wardrobe provides accents of color.

After scouting a number of Dutch communities in upstate New York and the Hudson Valley, where the real town of Sleepy Hollow is located, the filmmakers agreed that Burton's vision could best be achieved by shooting primarily on stages. While many of the villages were historically accurate, they didn't serve the emotional side of the story. "It's more like a 'fantastic tale,' not a realistic historical reconstruction," says Lubezki. "We have to enhance certain elements to accentuate the 'fantastic.' The Hammers did it without knowing they were doing it. We do it because we like it."

Additionally, the filmmakers decided to build the entire town of Sleepy Hollow in a contained environment. "What's great is to try to take something unreal and make it real, which I feel excited about. It's always a challenge to walk that line of unreality/reality," adds Burton.

At the suggestion of producer Scott Rudin, the film company moved to London where the combination of available stages and craftsmanship provided Burton the opportunity to create a singular self-enclosed world. It also enabled Burton and Heinrichs to be reunited with many of their top London collaborators from "Batman," including art director Les Tomkins, construction manager Terry Apsey and set decorator Peter Young.

The film's strong design element necessitated that nearly everything be built and handcrafted. "The biggest challenge was creating so many 'exterior' settings on stage," says production designer Heinrichs, who has collaborated with Burton in varying capacities for more than two decades. "What emerged was a sort of 'stylized naturalism' which is very beautiful. It's a combination of using real materials with painted backings and very old-fashioned techniques of displaying perspective. It creates a very theatrical and painterly feeling." By the time production was complete, Burton and his team created more than fifty diverse sets.

Principal photography began in England on November 20th, 1998 on sound stages at Leavesden Studios, where production designer Heinrichs and his team built the grand and elegant Van Tassel Manor House and surrounding orchard. The entire cast, along with 75 extras dressed in elaborate period costumes, gathered for the annual harvest party and Ichabod's (Johnny Depp) arrival to Sleepy Hollow.

Filming continued at the Van Tassel estate for several weeks before moving to S

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