Oscar surprise: Only 'The Kids Are All Right' shot entirely in L.A.
The Focus Features film "The Kids Are All Right" may not walk away with an Academy Award Sunday night, but it does take the prize for being the only film among the 10 best picture nominations that was shot entirely in the city of Los Angeles.
In a stark reminder of how few prominent films are still filmed in L.A. these days, nine of the best picture nominees were shot either outside of California ("The King's Speech," "Black Swan," "127 Hours" and "True Grit") or only partially in Southern California ("Inception" and "The Social Network").
"I've been be doing this for over 30 years and we used to shoot almost everything here," said Ned Shapiro, location manager for "The Kids Are All Right." "Today, to have a film that's shot entirely in the city of L.A. -- it's almost unique."
The movie, about a lesbian parents and their two children who seek out their biological father, stars Annette Bening, Julianne Moore and Mark Ruffalo. Produced for just $4.4 million, it has grossed $29.5 million in worldwide ticket sales.
"Kids" was filmed over 23 days in July 2009 at homes in Venice and Echo Park (where Ruffalo's character lives), Ocean View Farms Community Garden in Mar Vista, a hardware store in Highland Park and a loft near Dodger Stadium that was converted into a restaurant, among other locations.
WIth a budget of just $250,000 to cover the on-location filming expenses, Shapiro spent a lot of time negotiating discounts with property owners.
"I made deals,'' he said. "I told people this is not a big-budget movie and we didn't have a lot of money to spend and that the two big stars were working for scale, and they went along with it.''
-- Richard Verrier
Photo: Annette Bening (left) and Julianne Moore star as Nic and Jules in Lisa Cholodenko's "The Kids Are All Right," a Focus Features release. Credit: Focus Features.