House as Cinema Star - Page 4

Enticing Hollywood with light, openness and style, modern homes have become faves for TV and movie shoots
House as Cinema Star
Mother M-Tech's TV had and the young couple polishing so sensuously.
House as Cinema Star
Inspired by Eichlers, and evoking suburban tranquility and stylish Palm Springs flair, the Parr family's home from 'The Incredibles.'
House as Cinema Star
This over-the-top, John Lautner-inspired modern house is home to Tony 'Iron Man' Stark in the 'Iron Man' movie series.

"The ceilings are low, and they are difficult to light. When you're shooting in a house, it's much easier to take a bigger house and make it look smaller than to shoot in a small house."

In an Eichler, he says. "You're on top of each other."

As a result, Foulkes says, many films are shot in larger, "contemporary homes" that suggest mid-century homes in their light and flow. And some directors shy away from real 1950s and '60s homes because their production is "not a period movie, so they want something [in a house that's] contemporary."

Barnz, who decided early on he wanted the Aniston character to live in a modern home, says he was led to the Eichlers of Balboa Highlands by Foulkes. The folks behind 'Cake' considered about 15 Eichlers in there before choosing the home owned for the past ten years by Kris and Jackie Cunz, who, for film usage, got about $21,000 and two weeks in a hotel for their family, which includes two kids and two dogs.

"I wanted the home to say something about the character Jennifer Aniston plays. She was somebody who draws a lot of boundaries around herself. She draws a line between herself and the rest of the world. It was that sense of 'boundary-drawing,'" Barnz says, suggesting the privacy provided by Eichlers.

"I also wanted the home to be modest. I didn't want it to look like she was swimming in money. Her character was already abrasive. If it looked like she was too wealthy, the audience would find her too unlikable."

Barnz also appreciated the warmth of the wooden walls. He wanted the color palette of the film to be warm, to contrast with the coldness of Aniston's character. "We didn't want a cold woman in a cold location," he says.

Aniston, as Claire, shambles into her Eichler home, barely able to walk, painfully sitting down to a meal she can't eat. We see her popping Oxycontin and Percocet. Claire is angry and selfish, and at one point she kicks a man who is down. Her hair is raggedy and looks dirty, and her face is scarred.

Details of how she suffered her injury, and why she is grieving, emerge slowly, and have to be inferred. This is a deeply un-Hollywood way of telling a story, and a storyline most studios would have romanticized and made sentimental.

One reason Barnz chose the Eichler as a setting was the home's sense of history, to suggest the vicissitudes of Claire's own history—and that does come across in the film.

"Can I ask you something?" an attractive young man (played by Sam Worthington) with a sexy British accent asks Claire. "How can you still live here?"

"I like my house," Claire says.