After snagging a Golden Globe and a SAG award, Christopher Plummer seems like a good bet for the supporting actor Oscar for his portrayal of Hal, a 75-year-old retired museum director who comes out of the closet in director Mike Mills' autobiographical "Beginners." Plummer was ably abetted by Ewan MacGregor (who plays Hal's son, Oliver), Melanie Laurent (Oliver's girlfriend) and Cosmo, the Jack Russell terrier, but Los Angeles architecture and design also play key roles in the Focus Features film, now available on Blu-ray, DVD and video on demand.
Mills chose the house not only because it was appropriate for the character but because Neutra's design allowed the director to shoot with natural light.
In an email, set decorator Coryander Friend answered our "Beginners" house questions for this edited Q&A:
What difficulties did you encounter filming in a historic Modern home?
We had to remove all of the books on the homeowner's bookshelves and keep track of the exact order of the books and replace them with all of Mike Mills' art books. The biggest challenge, though, was really just to not cause any harm to the Neutra house and or its contents. Our entire crew was treading up and down on those cork floors in the entryway to the living room with camera equipment, while the original Neutra-designed furniture was roped off with caution tape in a corner. Just thinking about it still stresses me out!
How did you come up with the decor, which feels so worldly yet very California?