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Design at the Movies | 5. Not that Stanley Kubrick could ever have been accused of laxness when planning the design of his movies. But even by his standards of remorselessly demanding and draconian control freakery, Kubrick’s obsessive approach to his final project, the 1999 thriller Eyes Wide Shut, was extreme. As much of the action was set in New York, but the flightphobic Kubrick insisted on shooting in England, where he lived, he decided to recreate large chunks of Manhattan there. Having commissioned more than 30,000 photographs of streets, hospitals, coffee shops, doors, gates, windows and so on to identify suitable New York locations, Kubrick dispatched trusted crew members there to take detailed measurements of all aspects of the sets, down to the widths of roads and sidewalks, and to note the specific locations of street lights, traffic signs and vending machines. All of this research informed the design of a stretch of a Greenwich Village street at Pinewood Studios, and helped to transform Hatton Garden, the centre of London's jewellery trade, into somewhere that looked like the same part of Manhattan for the purposes of outdoor filming. Kubrick then applied the same forensic zeal to scrutinising the microscopic details of the props, including the smallest, most mundane ones, of course.
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