Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Set in New York’s East Village neighborhood, the apartment of David (James Franco), the “yogi from Yonkers” who Liz dates shortly after ending her marriage, is earthy brick-red. With its matchstick shades, distressed pine floors, and a smattering of curiosities, many from an Indian antiques dealer on the Lower East Side, the studio contrasts with the straitlaced home Liz shared with her husband.

The Piazza Navona, one of Rome’s most famous and beautiful squares, is the perfect spot to savor gelato. The gray-blue doors and gates of the Sant’Agnese in Agone cathedral reflect the film’s elemental color scheme. “In Rome, we were taken by the light and air,” says production designer Bill Groom. “Liz takes a breath in Rome. She eats. She tries to reorder her life in some way.”

Liz’s apartment in the heart of Rome has 20-foot-high ceilings, a cream palette, and oversize windows that draw in the light of the city. The ornate chandelier was original to the space, as was the scaffolding, which was even written into the script. It holds the ceiling up, Liz’s landlady quips.

While studying at an ashram in India, Liz befriends Tulsi (Rushita Singh), a 17-year-old girl struggling with her impending arranged marriage. The two friends share a quiet moment in Tulsi’s family home. The production design for elements of fire includes floral garlands, beaded curtains, and a red-striped floor covering made of printed jute.

“Weddings in India are something else,” production designer Bill Groom says. “The entire village turns out.” Hand-strung floral garlands made of marigolds, gerbera daisies, baby roses, jasmine, wildflowers, and herbs add festive, authentic flair. They also attracted crowds during the shoot. “We had local residents showing up for the wedding feast not realizing that it was a film set.

Liz finishes her journey by studying and meditating at the Bali compound of healer and medicine man Ketut Liyer, whose actual home in Bali was used during the filming. Traditional metallic fabrics, available in the local markets, adorn the space.