HAPPILY EVER AFTER
ABOUT THE DESIGN AND LOCATIONS
From the earliest stages of envisioning
IMAGINE ME & YOU, writer-director Ol Parker knew he wanted the film
to be not only a love story but also very much a London story, with the
kinetic energy and beauty of the city serving as a constant backdrop to
Rachel's battle to follow the rhythms of her heart. He set the narrative
in his own locality, the trendy yet bucolic Primrose Hill area in the
North of London, with its grassy parks and city panoramas set off by friendly
pubs, hip cafes and stylish, youthful denizens.
"Primrose Hill is a spectacularly beautiful
and romantic area and it has that kind of village-like feel that allows
for the many coincidental meetings that are important to the story,"
explains Parker. "It was nice that I also happen to live there --
but I really couldn't conceive of anywhere else to shoot this film. The
first time I saw the location where we put Luce's flower shop, it took
my breath away. It was exactly how I had imagined it in my mind."
In designing the film, Parker collaborated
closely with director of photography Ben Davis, a lauded commercials cinematographer
who recently shot LAYER CAKE, and production designer Eve Mavrakis who
co-designed LOCK STOCK AND TWO SMOKING BARRELS. Together, he and his design
team came up with a distinctively soulful look for IMAGINE ME & YOU
that owes more to gritty dramas than standard romantic comedies.
This was especially true when it came to
the cinematography. "I wanted a look that would be more real and
bittersweet rather than something plastic and shiny," explains Parker.
"Ben Davis and I were very much on the same page."
Producer Balhetchet was especially pleased
with Davis' contributions to the film, which add another layer of charm
and emotion to the film. "Ben was ingenious," she says. "Ol
and I had conversed extensively about the look and feel of the film -
all the details we wanted in the colors, the lighting, the angles that
would give it the right mix of comedy and honesty. But what we did was
theoretical. Ben came in and made it all happen."
Despite the fact that IMAGINE ME & YOU
marked Parkers' debut as a director, those on the set seemed to unanimously
agree that it was his ease and passion that set the tone for everyone
- and kept the emphasis on the optimism, magic and light-hearted fun of
Rachel's love story.
Meanwhile, Parker believes that a large
part of the film's success lies equally in the group of people he chose
to surround himself with, both in front of and behind the camera. He recalls:
"A few days before the shoot, my wife and I were hanging out, and
she suddenly said, 'You're about to start directing your first movie.
You have no idea what you're doing. Why aren't you terrified?' I thought
about it for a while, and said, 'Because smart people have got my back.'
Truth is, I had the time of my life directing this film. I couldn't eat,
I couldn't sleep, but most of all, I couldn't wait to go to work each