When the movie “It’s Complicated” hit theaters in late 2009, I posted a few photos of the Spanish-style ranch that Meryl Streep’s character Jane lives in. Since then, I have gotten numerous requests for more photos, including ones of the sumptuous bakery that she owns. All of the sets were pretty incredible, so I think it warrants the full Movie Monday treatment.
Writer and Director Nancy Meyers calls this “The Santa Barbara movie we filmed in New York.” The house they used for exterior shots was in the Hidden Valley area, which is about an hour south of Santa Barbara (“Filming in Santa Barbara would have been too expensive”), and the interiors for the houses and the bakery were built on a soundstage in Brooklyn.
Everything looks so warm and sunny in the movie that you’d never would guess that it was actually cold and snowing outside these soundstages during much of the filming, would you?
The painting over the fireplace was done by artist Mitchell Johnson.
Jane’s friends were played by Mary Kay Place (amazing on “Big Love” as Adaleen Grant, and a long-time friend of Nancy Meyers’), Rita Wilson (who is Meryl Streep’s friend in real life), and Alexandra Wentworth.
The large armoire opens to reveal a TV for the family to watch on Movie Night:
SPOILER ALERT! I will be discussing major plot points from this point on. Look away if you haven’t seen the movie yet!
You can see the living room behind Jane and Adam (Steve Martin) as they chat in the kitchen. Martin plays the nice guy who is courting her, unaware that her ex Jake (Alec Baldwin) is trying to win her back.
Meyers says she was influenced by old screwball comedies like His Girl Friday (one of my all-time faves!) where the exes fall in love again and it complicates things. In “His Girl Friday,” Rosalind Russell is all set to marry nice-guy Ralph Bellamy when her ex, played by Cary Grant, reenters the picture and decides he wants her back. Poor Ralph doesn’t stand a chance.
Meyers says that after “It’s Complicated” came out, someone said to her, “You let Ralph Bellamy get the girl!”
Jane’s grown children looked to me like they were plucked right out of a J. Crew catalog.
John Krasinski played Harley, engaged to Jane’s daughter Lauren. Meyers enjoyed working with him so much in “The Holiday” (he had a small role as Cameron Diaz’s assistant) that she cast him again in this one.
Did you know he married Emily Blunt in Italy over the weekend? Loved her in “The Devil Wears Prada.”
The food in the movie was as drool-worthy as the sets were, thanks to Food Stylist Susan Spungen. You can read an interview with her about how she made everything look so fabulous here.
Meryl Streep only looks like she’s sitting in a tub full of water here. She’s actually dry, sitting under a shelf that was built around her. There’s a Tupperware bowl with water on top of the shelf that she uses to dip her washcloth into.
The setup was Streep’s idea, who didn’t want to sit in water for the 2-3 days it would take to film the scene.
Garden & Yard:
When Adam staked out where the addition would be, I was gobsmacked. It’s going to be HUGE. And I’ll admit I still don’t entirely understand why she even needs a new kitchen, when the one she has is already so lovely, and she’s living alone.
But it works for the story, I guess, and brings Adam into her life. I just hope there’s a sequel so we can see how it all turns out!
When Jane tells Adam he can choose anything from her bakery’s menu, and then she makes him that divine-looking chocolate croissant, I was ready to marry her myself! Every time I see the movie I go away from it hungry.
Did you think Jane ended up with the right guy in the end?
I was glad she didn’t fall for Jake again, which would have been a little more predictable, but I thought Adam was a bit dull. I wish he had been more like Newton Davis, the architect he played in “Housesitter” (one of my favorite Steve Martin characters–photos of that movie here).