Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Chic Spaces: Woody Allen's Magic in the Moonlight Film Set

Last week I saw the latest Woody Allen film, Magic in the Moonlight. I'm a huge fan of his films, especially those that are set in the past. He has a nostalgic sensibility that I greatly enjoy. 

Magic in the Moonlight was filmed in the south of France and is set in the 1920s. It's no surprise that the geography of this region and attire of the time period are captivating. However, I was most entranced by the luxurious gardens and interiors of the character's homes. I immediately came home and researched the set. I was lucky to find a great deal of information from an Architectural Digest (AD) interview with the film's designers, who did a wonderful job recreating the historic interiors from this time period.  I've pulled my favorite images and facts, but you can read the whole article here

I won't spoil the outcome, but for background, the film centers on a famous magician, played by Colin Firth, and a young psychic, played by Emma Stone. The great Wei Ling Su (Firth) is called in by a friend to reveal Sophie (Stone) as a fraud before she marries into the wealthy American Catledge family.

Colin Firth and Emma Stone

Images credited to Jack English, 2014 Gravier Productions, Sony Pictures Classic as printed in Architectural Digest unless otherwise noted. 

For the Catledge family estate, Allen chose Villa La Renardière in Mouans-Sartoux. The design team filled the gardens with wisteria and blue hydrangea. Set decorator Jille Azis noted to AD, “The exterior shots in the gardens were a crucial element in the film to portray the charm and beauty of the South of France in the 1920s.”

Emma Stone and Hamish Linklater

Sophie the psychic and her suitor, Brice Catledge (Hamish Linklater) are shown in the living room of the villa. I found this room especially stunning. According to AD, this is the only interior of the estate that was used for filming. Production designer Anne Seibel said, "Woody and I liked the walls covered with a hand-painted wallpaper representing battleships at sea." This is Seibel's third collaboration with Allen. She was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Production Design for Midnight in Paris (2011). That wallpaper is truly breathtaking on a large screen!

Marcia Gay Harden and Jacki Weaver

Seibel researched the period magazine Riviera when designing the set's interiors. The design team used it as inspiration when creating a copy of the publication Côte d’Azur, as read by Sophie’s mother (Marcia Gay Harden) to Mrs. Catledge (Jacki Weaver).

Hamish Linklater and Jacki Weaver (l. to r.)

Lush gardens surround the incredible Catledge estate.

Emma Stone and Hamish Linklater

Sophie conducts a séance in this scene. Seibel told AD she “wanted to give the actors the feeling that this room was mysterious and to make them believe that ghosts and witches were around.” She chose dark, rich tapestries in burgundy, red, silk and velvet. 

Colin Firth in character as "Wei Ling Soo"

Colin Firth in stage character as the great magician Wei Ling Su. As an aside, I have been a big fan of Colin Firth ever since his days as Mr. Darcy in the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice, so I just had to throw this one in there!  

Living Room Set

The designers chose a mix of European styles for the home of Firth's Aunt Vanessa (played by Eileen Atkins), as she is an Englishwoman living in Provence. Seibel told AD, “Ceilings were hand-painted in the beginning of the 20th century by Italian painters passing by.”

Guest Room Set

A bedroom in the Catledge estate is filled with Parisian furniture and flea market finds. “The guest rooms in the mansion were dressed to reflect the charm and elegance of a wealthy American family at the time. We used blues and creams inspired by the sea and sky of a South of France summer,” said Seibel.  

Party Scene

A party scene was filmed outside the Eilenroc Villa in Antibes. Set designers hung 150 Chinese lanterns on dimmers in the trees. I would very much like to attend this party! Looks like it could be at Jay Gatsby's home. 

Villa Eilenroc

Villa Eilenroc

Villa Eilenroc

According the local Tourism and Convention Bureau, the Eilenroc Villa is known as the jewel of the Côte d’Azur: 

"Built at the end of the 19th Century on the plans of the famous architect Charles Garnier, the architect who designed Paris and Monte-Carlo’s opera houses, the Eilenroc Villa is surrounded by a sumptuous eleven hectares park. Since its creation, it has received many celebrities, such as Leopold of Belgium, Greta Garbo, Rudolf Valentino, the great Duke Nicholas of Russia, and most recently the president François Mitterrand. In 1982, the property was bequeathed to the City of Antibes Juan-les-Pins by its last owner, Mrs L.-D. Beaumont, so that it would welcome guests and prestigious events. During events at Antibes Juan-les-Pins’ Convention center, the Eilenroc Villa can be let to the organizers for galas in collaboration with the services of the Tourism and Convention Office."

I hope you found these images as breathtaking and inspiring as I did. If you can't take your own trip the Côte d’Azur right now, you can at least see the film!

1 comment:

  1. Brilliant Villa, Brilliant Film, Brilliant Director.


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