I thought I’d go back and grab screencaps from the movie to show you what some of these places looked like as shot. (The following are in the order of the clip, not the order in which they play in the movie.)
No, it’s not a plate shot. The trees really are that Burton-esque.
Half an hour outside of Los Angeles. If those mountains look familiar, that’s because they were featured every week on M.A.S.H. Yup, it’s “Korea.”
Securing a “forest road” was surprisingly difficult. Bonus note for the DVD: Everything green on the ground was poison oak. We had to destroy some padded blankets afterwards, because it was impossible to get the itch out of them.
Probably our single most difficult location. A blind curve, and a 360-degree shot, on a hot day without shade.
Yards away from the previous location was this great trail. The biggest challenge was keeping the wireless mikes in range during a two-minute walk-and-talk.
The Hearst Building downtown stood in for several places. A sheriff’s department booking area…
…an adjoining hallway…
..and a very seedy Hollywood motel room.
I scouted New York locations while meeting up with Hope Davis to pre-record a song she sings in the film. That’s when we picked the Millennium Broadway Hotel as our base:
Keep in mind, the location scouting clip only includes the places we ended up shooting. It took us weeks to find (and secure) the places we wanted to film. This was my first time scouting with a videocamera, but I can’t imagine doing it without one. Photos alone don’t give you a sense of what the lens will see, particularly when it’s in motion.
It’s also worth noting what a huge difference proper cinematography (and color timing) makes. Some of these locations look vastly different based on how they were shot, and how they were timed in post. I never signed off on a location unless my d.p. had seen it and approved it. She was the only one who could really anticipate how it would look when shot.