ADG Perspective

July-August 2016

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Page 55 of 75

by Richard Bridgland, Production Designer the nice guys It began with a guided tour around Hollywood with producer Joel Silver. We stopped in front of Pink Taco on the Sunset Strip. "Look back there, that's our movie." Puzzled, I found myself looking at an ugly shopping mall on the corner of Sunset and Crescent Heights. "That used to be The Garden of Allah, and after that, a restaurant called The Paradise— from that Joni Mitchell song, you know the one. Some days back then, you couldn't see it from here through the smog. THAT'S the old Hollywood we have to re-create in this movie." The Paradise doesn't appear in this movie, but Joel's brief was clear: to re-create an iconic LA, in its smoggy days of the late '70s. Many of the landmarks had gone, but we could capture the feel of the era, the hedonism and glamor that had tipped into sleaze and corruption; the fuel shortages, and lines at the gas stations, and hopefully, some iconic landmarks of the time. There was just one problem, and Joel saved it until last: "Oh, and we're shooting in Atlanta." The script is a dark and very funny film noir, a mismatched buddy detective caper from Shane Black, the man who made the genre his own from his first movie, Lethal Weapon. The story is a reinvention of the classic setup of two private detectives who find themselves looking for a missing girl, and uncover a grand conspiracy that goes all the way to the top of City Hall. Along the way, they take in 1970s protest movements, the booming porn industry—after discovering a bizarre fatal accident involving a porn star—and the auto industry, in the final throes of still producing enormous gas guzzlers, despite the corrosive smog hanging over LA. This was a wide canvas to work on, and also, a rare chance to use that forgotten palette that only the '70s made possible: the oranges, the browns and the yellows. The problems of re-creating LA in Atlanta were apparent from the first scout. For a start, there are trees EVERYWHERE. LA has a very graphic horizon where the sharp outlines of buildings aren't obscured by greenery, and the sky sits wide above the city. So, every exterior location had to be re-imagined, and wide views could only be achieved with visual effects enhancement. For instance, to create the 101 Freeway, I

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