Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Hollywoodland | SO SoCal

The Western White Houses

May 18, 1997|Mary Melton

Aurelio Ramirez, storage manager for Castle Rock Entertainment, climbs over an immense rolled-up rug emblazoned with the presidential seal. "There's the big chandelier from the East Room," he nods, passing among faux marble busts, a presidential bathtub and vivid oil repros of Calvin Coolidge. When assembled, these set decorations and the 12- to 16-foot-high flats leaning against the walls in this cavernous Culver City warehouse form unnervingly convincing duplicates of cinegenic rooms at the White House. Decorated with precise approximations of the wallpapers and ornate moldings, the flats are labeled "Cabinet Room," "Chief of Staff's Office," "Vestibule," "Press Room," "President's Bedroom." Built for the 1995 romantic comedy "The American President," the sets were based on a research trip to the White House by the film's director, Rob Reiner, and production designer Lilly Kilvert. After the movie wrapped, Castle Rock decided to hold onto the sets and lease them to production companies--good timing, given the spate of chief executive protagonists that have followed. So far, the White House sets have stood proxy as the homes of "acting" presidents Anthony Hopkins, Bill Pullman and Jack Nicholson in "Nixon," "Independence Day" and "Mars Attacks!," and will endure yet another alien invasion in Robert Zemeckis' upcoming "Contact." Though demand for these White House rooms pales in comparison to President Clinton's Lincoln Bedroom sleepovers, Castle Rock's assistant production coordinator, Patti Fernandez, says, "It's pretty active."

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|