Welcome to Movie Monday, when we look at the houses from our favorite TV shows and films. Last week we toured the sets used on the original television series “Bewitched,” so I thought it would be fun to feature Nicole Kidman’s charming California cottage in the 2005 movie remake, too.
In the movie, Kidman plays Isabel Bigelow, a real witch who is cast as Samantha in a television remake of the original series. Will Ferrell plays Jack, the movie star cast as Darrin who is determined to make the show all about him. But then he falls in love with Isabel and finds out she’s a witch and, you know the drill–complications ensue.
When Isabel sees the house she wants, she puts a “For Rent” sign out front:
Nora Ephron came up with the concept of the movie after producers called and begged for help. Nicole Kidman had agreed to consider doing the film, and they needed a pitch.
There were a stack of rejected screenplays that had piled up over the years, including one written by Richard Curtis (the writer behind Notting Hill, which I featured a few weeks ago–I’d love to see what his version of Bewitched looked like!).
Ephron sketched out the idea for the remake, suggesting that Nicole play an entirely new character instead of reprising Elizabeth Montgomery’s Samantha. Kidman liked the idea and signed on.
This house was chosen for Isabel by director Nora Ephron because it belonged to friends of her parents, and she visited it often as a child. Coincidentally, those friends were Larry Berns and his wife, Sandra Gould, who played the second, better-known Gladys Kravitz. (Alice Pearce, who played the first Gladys Kravitz, died after the second season.)
Isabel’s home was set in a tree-lined Valley suburb of modest A-frame houses and white picket fences.
Nicole Kidman went to the Broadway musical Wicked and was so blown away by Kristin Chenoweth’s performance as Glinda that she begged “Bewitched” writer Nora Ephron to create a part for Chenoweth into the film. Ephron wrote the role of Isabel’s next-door neighbor Maria Kelly for her:
Production designer Neil Spisak explains the thinking behind the design of Isabel’s house:
Our idea was that since Isabel is desperately searching for normalcy, whatever that might be, she’s moved into a charming, simple house in the Valley, finding a lovely place for her to start her life.
Nora quite liked the exterior of the house we found and, based on that, we designed an interior. The concept was to maintain its simplicity but to play up a certain appealing femininity in the furnishings and details. So, like Isabel, her surroundings are a little naïve, a place that is neutral but warm and comfortable.
Note the magnetic spice holders hanging on the wall behind her (under the microwave) in this shot:
Isabel in her bedroom:
Isabel’s living room:
Isabel has her friends over to discuss what to do with her “Jack problem” (she’s figured out his scheme to be the star of the show and cut her out as much as possible):
Aunt Clara arrives–down Isabel’s chimney:
Brunch on Isabel’s patio. Aunt Clara has an idea: “Let’s put a hex on Jack.”
Casting a hex on Jack that will teach him a lesson. (In Isabel’s backyard. I wonder what the neighbors thought of this?)
Isabel’s bedroom (I read that they tucked a photo of Elizabeth Montgomery into the mirror frame, but I never saw it):
Isabel on the phone in her kitchen at night (why does this photo make me think of that scene with Drew Barrymore in Scream?):
In the opening credits of the “Bewitched” remake, Darrin is the star of the cartoon–Samantha’s face is never even shown:
The role of Jack/Darrin was originally supposed to be played by Jim Carrey, which I think may have worked a little better. Can’t you see him mugging the way Dick York used to? And Will Ferrell’s Jack was funny, but he was too goofy and over-the-top to ever take seriously as Isabel’s love interest. (Carrey chose to make the movie Fun With Dick and Jane instead.)
Isabel wears a heart-shaped necklace as Samantha on the remake, just like Samantha did on the original TV show:
Elizabeth Montgomery as Samantha on the TV show wearing the heart necklace:
Samantha and Darrin’s kitchen on the new set of “Bewitched:”
Samantha and Darren’s bedroom on the set of the new “Bewitched:”
Isabel and her dad Maurice:
The roles of Iris (actress who plays Endora on the TV remake in the movie) and Maurice (Isabel’s warlock father) were played by Shirley MacLaine and Michael Caine. According to Bewitched fansite Harpies Bizarre:
The role of the warlock father was reportedly crafted by the Ephrons with only Michael Caine in mind. Shirley MacLaine told the press that she “wasn’t much of a fan of the TV series,” but had taken the film role because she “wanted to play a witch.” It is assumed that Ephron catered to MacLaine’s request and allowed her character to be a sorceress, since the April 2004 script copy had the Iris character just written as a mortal diva actress cast as the new TV Endora.
The exterior set of the “Bewitched” house for the TV show:
At the end of the movie, Isabel and Jack move into a home that looks almost identical to the one on their television show:
The numbers above the door of their new home are 1164–Samantha and Darrin lived at 1164 Morning Glory Circle (Westport, Connecticut) in the original TV series:
The house is a private home in the Hancock Park neighborhood of Los Angeles (via Seeing Stars):
If you liked this post, you may also enjoy photos from the original “Bewitched” TV series and photos of Nicole Kidman’s Beverly Hills home where she lives with husband Keith Urban and their daughter Sunday Rose.
Visit my TV/Movie Houses page for links to all the others I’ve featured.