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Rosalie (Tracey Ullman, l.) and her mother, Nadja (Joan Plowright), conspire to put a dead stop to Rosalie's husband's philandering in the comic love story "I LOVE YOU TO DEATH," a Tri-Star Pictures presentation of a Chestnut Hill Production of a Lawrence Kasdan Film. Kasdan directed the film, which was produced by Jeffrey Lurie and Ron Moler and written by John Kostmayer. The executive producers are Charles Okun and Michael Grillo.
About the Production...
Filming began on location in Tacoma, Wash., on April 10, 1989. Kasdan wanted the backdrop of "I Love You to Death" to have an industrial, small-town feeling, much like that of the area in West Virginia where he was raised.
Tacoma rests in a bowl around a harbor. Throughout the city a huge paper mill can be seen pumping smoke into the sky 24 hours a day.
"At times it's very beautiful, this complex of lights and smoke and industry, set against a background of magnificent mountains and water," Kasdan says. "It's a real American scene with the defiling, yet necessary industry happening in the midst of this beautiful country."
Scenes were shot at the triangular Bostwick Building, located at the foot of Tacoma's Antique Row. Reminiscent of New York's famed Flatiron Building, its shape is like an oversized slice of Joey's pizza. Here Joey Boca's Pizzeria, designed by production designer Lilly Kilvert, was constructed as a fully functioning working restaurant. Before filming began, the actors performed their chores in character at the restaurant for staff and crew members, who acted as customers.
The second floor of this building served as the "Villa Rosalie" apartments, where landlord Joey spends his spare time fixing the "pipes" of his female tenants.
The former Elks Club building was turned into a police station where the perpetrators of Joey's attempted murder are detained and questioned. A large old house on Tacoma's northside, with a panoramic view of Commencement Bay and the Port of Tacoma, was the site for the exteriors of the Boca house. Other filming locales included Holy Rosary Church, Stadium High School Bowl and the Java Jive (a unique restaurant/bar shaped like a coffee pot).
Everything in the script was aimed toward rain, since the area is noted for its heavy rainfall. But during the filming there was a lengthy drought with beautiful, sunny weather. Director of photography Owen Roizman was forced to make adjustments to compensate for the lack of rain.
"We were constantly fighting sunlight," Roizman says, "thinking that the next day it would be gray and we were going to match everything to it."