Selecting the right McMansion for Gone Girl

Following up on a post from two days ago, here is how the production designer described finding Nick and Amy’s McMansion in Gone Girl:

HOW DID YOU FIND NICK AND AMY’S HOUSE? WHY WAS THAT ONE PERFECT?
It’s hard to explain without being insulting (laughs). Those neighborhoods, with that style of housing— and without finding any other better way of describing it, sort of that “mcmansion” — they aren’t very attractive. You go, oh geeze do we have to really film this, you know? We found this simple one, and it had all the attributes of that type of house without being too obscene. It felt like it could be traditional, but it was a modern take on traditional. Just the fact that it was on the corner, it gave us good angles for a lot of the scenes with the driving and the staging of the news vans.

DID YOU SHOOT THE INTERIOR SHOTS AT THAT HOUSE, TOO?
We built the entire interior on a stage in Los Angeles. We took the floor plan of the house that we shot on location, and we started adjusting it for our own story and our own camera angles. It was important for me, especially, not to do something where you’d look at the exterior and then you go inside and you’re like wait a second, how could this interior even fit with that exterior? I didn’t want to do that. David [Fincher, the director] and I had long conversations about it. We cheated a few things, we stretched the interior.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE INTERIOR YOU CREATED FOR NICK AND AMY’S MISSOURI HOUSE?
You know those homes are they’re done with traditional elements but in a modern style? They have the built-in cabinets and they have the wooden molding, but there’s something askew about it. The way the moldings are done, they are made out of mdf instead of real wood. It’s that modern construction where they use traditional, classical elements— they put medallions on the ceilings and they have recessed lighting in drywall ceilings instead of real plaster. The spiral staircase isn’t really spiral. It’s curved, and it looks elegant but when you stand there and take it in, you realize there’s something skewed about it.

WHY WAS THAT PERFECT FOR THIS STORY?
It works in the sense that Nick is trying to give Amy the perfect home in the perfect place. It’s sort of like, why wouldn’t you like this? Why wouldn’t you feel comfortable in this large house? There’s remnants of the New York feel, but it’s a little bit offbeat from that.

A few thoughts, question by question:

1. The dislike for McMansions is clear. But, then he notes that the house wasn’t too bad in its attempt to replicate a traditional style. What then marks it as a McMansion? Subdivision. Multiple gables. Square footage. Tall entryway.

2. Even with a home that is already large, they stretched the interior. Does this mean that the home scorned for its size was depicted as even larger on the screen?

3. Commentary on the quality of construction. The style may fit from a distance but someone who knows the older style can spot the problems quickly.

4. Conjecture about what such homes are supposed to symbolize: the perfect house. Looks new, nice landscaping, quiet neighborhood…how did all that violence and coldness end up there again?

Even with all that explaining about the negatives of such homes, it is amusing to see the comments below the story from people who want to replicate the look.

4 thoughts on “Selecting the right McMansion for Gone Girl

  1. Pingback: A McMansion as shorthand for the white, suburban privilege of Brock Turner | Legally Sociable

  2. Pingback: Defining a McMansion, Trait #4: A symbol | Legally Sociable

  3. Pingback: Were McMansions ever for everybody? | Legally Sociable

  4. Pingback: The declining value of shopping mall real estate | Legally Sociable

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