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August 3 at 10:10am

THE ICE STORM: Casting The Locations

By Ted Hope

 It was a rare opportunity.  And virtually everything went right.  True, the gunk we used to make the icicles (a mix of hair product and other fine elixirs) did not come off trains so easily.  And yes, it was before they had invented texture mapping software so a few CGI additions of snow cost way too much.  But  I was very fortunate to get to produce Ang Lee’s THE ICE STORM.  It’s great to see that Criterion is now putting some of the video extras up on the net.

We hired Mark Friedberg as our production designer.  Mark was just starting out then.  We were impressed with the western town he had done for THE BALLAD OF LITTLE JO.  He had been the art director on the first Good Machine production, Claire Denis’ short KEEP IT FOR YOURSELF.  His work was good but mostly we hired him because he was someone we felt we could trust — and he could communicate very well.  In many ways, he and I had come up together.  We both had been canvassers for MassPIRG back when, and some of our production philosophy had been shaped by that experience.  His first Production Design credit was for a comedy compilation film I production managed.  Whether we were going to succeed or fail with THE ICE STORM, I did not know, but either way I wanted some friends around me that I could trust.

As this video clearly demonstrates, Mark was the right person for the job.  For this video, he speaks quite well about the intent behind the selection of the locations.  When your budget is tight, locations are perhaps the biggest choice the Designer makes.  It always frustrates me if people take those chases lightly.


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One Comment

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  1. Christian / Aug 3 at 10:10am

    Three years ago I was sitting for the second night in a cold and powerless house after a freak snowstorm knocked out power in late October. I opened a bottle of wine and used two precious hours of laptop battery to watch The Ice Storm again as it pretty much summed up how I felt that night.

    The movie has really stuck with me since I first saw it in the late 90′s and I give high marks to everyone involved in the production. Last November I took a weekend trip to New Canaan and I can assure you this was the first time in my life I visited a place only for its connection to a film.

    Thanks for mentioning Mark’s communication skills. As I listen to his commentary I keep thinking that I would need to practice my remarks for a good month to give such an eloquent description of events. And as a resident of eastern Massachusetts, go MassPIRG! A great movie Ted, well done.

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