SUMMER OF ’75
Spielberg once said “a good idea almost always starts off as a bad idea, that’s why it takes so long”.
I am drawn to filming road stories as the road can direct the viewer and the implicit journey is an allegory of the journey of life; we are all on our own road trip.
Sunset Boulevard does not split landscapes with the majesty and grandeur of the deserts of the South West, but it is up there for me as one of the most exciting stretches of road in America. It is the heart of movie land and the massive billboards on the strip in West Hollywood leave the driver in no doubt that they are in the entertainment capital of the world.
My favourite filming location on the boulevard is looking west on the border of West Hollywood and Hollywood. In part because I can give a nod to one of the most famous hotels in the world without killing the compositional balance and in part because the famous vertical billboard, so often used by Marlboro in the old days, is in the heart of the image.
It is a special part of Americana and I am surprised that American icons have not been filmed more often in this location. I guess one reason is that it’s a very busy road and shutting it down for filming is not easy.
The idea of shooting here needed work and refinement. We needed a lead, we needed to close the road down and then we needed a creative idea around which to wrap everything. My choice of lead was easy; Cindy Crawford is made for this shot. The closure of the road restricted our window to a Sunday morning between sunrise and 8 am, which meant a 4.30 am wake up. But Cindy is the most punctual, professional and willing of all the stars with whom we work.
The creative processing was the key. I decided that we could go back in time to an era when Hollywood was free rolling, liberal and fun and all the props would emphatically play to that moment in time. It was the love and peace summer of 1975.
Cindy’s team of stylist Nicole Allowitz; hair stylist Peter Savic and make up star Sam Visser are one hell of a crew and she looked absolutely fantastic. My job is easy with her on board and as always, we had a blast. I wanted a mid 70s vibe and Cindy’s team and my production team delivered.
I am pleased that one of the greatest films of all time - Jaws - takes care of the Marlboro billboard. As its iconic director said “good ideas take time”.
This image features the rare Tamaskan dog breed; genetically almost identical to the wolf.