The Sandra Bullock-Ryan Reynolds movie The Proposal featured a fabulous cedar shingle and stone house in (what was supposed to be) Sitka, Alaska, but the real thing is actually located in Manchester, Massachusetts. Let’s take a look at the 9-bedroom, 10-bath house where most of the rom-com takes place.
The Real House from “The Proposal”
Director Anne Fletcher says the mountains, green pines, and lighthouse seen here are “all fake.”
There were actually “other houses and brown, dead trees” surrounding the house. The mountains, lighthouse, and many of the trees were added to make things look more scenic. Fake branches with leaves were literally twist-tied to the trees around the house.
Production Designer Nelson Coates says they wanted a house with a rustic feel:
“The script said it should feel like something out of Alaskan Architectural Digest. I was laughing when I read that. What is Alaskan Architectural Digest? The family needed to look like they were isolated from town. Like they needed a boat to get there.”
He took photos of the house, then added mountains, leaves, totem poles and stone with Photoshop before sending the photos to the execs at Disney. “They’re going, ‘Oh, my God, we had no idea they had mountains like that in Massachusetts.’ It was hilarious.”
Most of the scenes were shot inside the house, although some rooms were rebuilt on a soundstage for re-shoots.
The real house is much more traditional in style. They thought it looked “too Colonial,” so Production Designer Nelson Coates built a facade on all of the interior walls of the house to make it looks more Alaskan.
The real fireplace before its rustic makeover:
(Fireplace photo by Jodi Hilton for the New York Times)
In the behind-the-scenes feature on the DVD we see the movie lights overhead:
The Dining Room:
The fireplace stone, wood trim and beams are fake, as are all the walls in some rooms!
We only see the kitchen cabinets in a deleted scene via the DVD’s special features.
The Staircase in the Entry Hall:
The Guest Bedroom:
The house has 3 stories, but the top 2 were off-limits to the film crew.
All of the homeowners’ things were moved upstairs, and they stayed in the guest house during filming.
You can read about the Kanebs, the family that owns this house, in the NYT.
The Wedding Barn:
The barn really exists on the property, so they decided to use it for Margaret and Andrew’s wedding.
They filmed an alternate ending that had Margaret’s plane turning around, and a happy ending on the tarmac.
They scrapped it and filmed a new ending in the Colden Books office where Margaret and Andrew worked:
They used an empty, gutted building in Boston for the earlier office scenes, but the entire set, including Margaret’s & Bob’s offices, had to be completely rebuilt and replicated at Disney Studios in Burbank, CA for the rewritten ending.
The puppy Kevin was played by four American Eskimo puppies named Flurry, Sitka, Nanu and Winter.
The house has a pool but they covered it during filming. You can see it on Bing Maps:
The front of the house, which we don’t see in the movie, looks like this on Street View:
The town scenes were filmed in Rockport, Massachusetts:
You can read about how they transformed the town for the movie here.
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