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GUN SHY

About The Production
Principal photography for "Gun Shy" began with two weeks of exteriors in New York. Central Park showed off its best greenery for scenes of Liam Neeson's character, Charlie, being followed, and the perfect spot for Judy Tipp's (Sandra Bullock) warehouse rooftop garden cropped up in Brooklyn, right on the water with a panoramic view of the New York City skyline. The Red Hook docks in Brooklyn served as the background for an action-packed boat getaway, and exterior shots of Manhattan streets, bars, restaurants and apartment buildings completed the setting.

Writer/director Blakeney, who grew up in the Bronx, chose to set the story in New York because "It's the ultimate city where everyone plays their game," and also because it is the home of Wall Street, where "Gun Shy's" elaborate money-laundering scheme goes down.

The company moved to locations in and around downtown Los Angeles for the concluding six weeks of production. The real magic of moviemaking came in transforming the California sets to duplicate New York. "Production is always tricky depending on what you're able to control," explains production designer Maher Ahmad, "and the locations dictate a lot of it. For instance, a very large public space may not be ideal because you can't go in and paint it the colors you want, or the configuration may not be appropriate."

"Gun Shy," according to Ahmad, "is a production designer's dream, because design is integral to the story." The settings for the characters not only express who they are but also their aspirations. One of the themes of the film is that almost everyone yearns for a different life. "The script threw out all kinds of visual cues," Ahmad says.

For example, Sandra Bullock's character, Judy Tipp, is an eccentric personality. To represent her free spirit, Ahmad placed mannequins standing off to the sides in her loft. "The idea is for the viewer to wonder why in the world those are there and to realize that Judy is quirky," Ahmad says. Ahmad's favorite find for Judy was a vintage 1920's haircurling machine. "It was a metal helmet that she puts on her head with wires and springy clips sticking out all over. And it actually works!"

As opposed to the fun side of Judy, there is the fearfulness in Charlie's mind. Originally, the scene of the party at Cheemo's, played by Taylor Negron, that pushes Charlie psychologically to the brink was intended to open the movie. "But it was too intense," says director Eric Blakeney about the sequence, which turns into a horrific spectacle of butchery and gore. Instead, it was ultimately shot as a flashback. A choreographer staged Charlie's memory of that night using professional ballet dancers. "It's a strange dance of mad violence that unfolds in surreal images because Charlie has separated from the reality of what's happened," explains Blakeney. "It represents his psychotic break, and explains his state of mind when we first meet him."

To help establish the nightmarish world from which Charlie longs to escape, Ahmad created a stylistically surreal look and feel to the Miami drug lord's mansion. "We found an empty Beverly Hills mansion that was unbelievable," says Ahmad. "I have seen and scouted a lot of mansions for a lot of movies, but this was one of the most grotesquely bizarre, architecturally, that I've ever encountered." Decked out in Cheemo's idea of an Egyptian Greco-Roman theme for his party, the setting's excesses carry out the idea of how repellent, and terrifying, the whole recollection of that night is for Charlie.

"Eric and I were always talking over the emotional response he wanted for each scene," Ahmad remarks. Even Oliver Platt's character, the ruthless killer Fulvio Nesstra, has his subjective moments. In the<

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