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Craft Spotlight: Changeling

Accurately re-create the look and feel of 1920s L.A.: That was the challenge facing (production designer) James Murakami and (costume designer) Deborah Hopper, and that’s so hard to do authentically with scope and no money,” says producer Brian Grazer of this Clint Eastwood-directed film, based on a historical incident.

It helped that both artisans had teamed with Eastwood on earlier period pieces, including “Letters From Iwo Jima,” and were familiar with the director’s aesthetic, style and attention to detail.

After both researched archival stills, the Emmy-winning Murakami (“Deadwood”) — who cut his teeth with Eastwood’s longtime production designer, the late Henry Bumstead, as set designer on “Unforgiven” — did extensive scouting to unearth suitably unspoiled, vintage locations near L.A. in San Dimas, San Bernardino and Pasadena, and then employed a muted color palette to re-create the period look of interiors and exteriors.

Hopper, who also costumed Eastwood’s “Flags of Our Fathers,” had to be equally inventive to clothe the nearly 1,000 cast members of “Changeling.” Scouring vintage clothing houses from L.A. to Canada, she found cloche hats, roller skates and fur-trimmed coats for Jolie’s character, snappy dark wool suits for the detectives, dropped-waist dresses for the women, and jumpers, knickers and long socks for the boys.

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