House as Cinema Star - Page 5

Enticing Hollywood with light, openness and style, modern homes have become faves for TV and movie shoots
House as Cinema Star
Even the kids get a helping of mid-century modern living in Nick Jr.'s 'Shimmer and Shine' series.
House as Cinema Star
House as Cinema Star
Location manager Robert Foulkes (above) and his own photograph of the 'Cake' Eichler (top), shot when he scouted Balboa Highlands.

Disappointingly enough, one other feature that includes an Eichler setting, 'Kiss Kiss Bang Bang,' from 2005, does not use the home in a way that adds much to the story nor plays up the house. We do get to see a couple of people shot dead within the house, though.

Pascual, who knows the homeowners of the 'Bang Bang' Eichler, say their original Eichler ceiling still retains a stain from fake blood.

Viewing a few other films that featured modern homes, whether real or created by the set designer, suggests other reasons filmmakers might flock towards modern homes.

An outrageous modern home, for example, can suggest fun, or even madness. Consider 'The Party,' a truly funny flick from 1968 set in a sybaritic Hollywood home, its partygoers entering on concrete pads over a river that winds through the glass-walled house, its floors sliding away at the flip of a switch to reveal indoor pools.

Imagine then what can happen then, during a party featuring cool jazz, beehive-haired women, a cowboy movie star, and a French chanteuse, the stumbling, bumbling Peter Sellers arrives—and begins pushing buttons.

The idea of the modern home as over-the-top crazy or, worse, as sinister, can be seen in 'Iron Man,' a lively super-hero movie from 2008 in which a curved-concrete, Lautner-inspired home is something to approach open jawed, with wonder mixed with unease.

In 2004's 'The Incredibles,' the mid-century modern home is used to evoke stylish suburban tranquility—albeit tranquility the married superheroes, 'Mr. Incredible' and 'Elastigirl,' are loath to embrace.

The pseudo-Eichlers in this Pixar animation celebrate what's playful about mid-century modernism, not surprisingly, and focus on the neighborhood as well as an individual house.

Likewise, in 'Speed Racer,' a teen comedy-melodrama from 2008 about family, betrayal, youth, and fast cars, the mid-century modern home comes across as a funhouse—thanks to art direction that seems to take its cue from the super-saturated colors and goofy demeanor reminiscent of the old 'Pee-wee's Playhouse' TV series.

The modern homes that we see in the film, as brothers Rex and Speed Racer drive by them, are picture perfect and spectacular, super-gabled some of them, and others with butterfly roofs so upswept they appear ready to fly away. They're painted in neon hues, lime green, and blue as the bluest sky.

Where is this neighborhood? Let's move there!

Photography: courtesy Daniel Barnz, Robert Foulkes, Scott Caple, Cinelou Pictures, Metro-Goldyn-Mayer, Lions Gate Entertainment, Western Digital Corporation, Paramount Pictures, Nickelodeon Animation Studio, Volkswagen Group, SC Johnson, M-Tech By Mothers, Marvel Studios, Pixar Animation Studios