Jeannine Oppewall
Art director
Jeannine Oppewall
Jeannine Claudia Oppewall is an American film art director. She has worked on more than 30 movies in such roles as art decorator, set decorator and production designer, and has four Academy Award nominations for Best Art Design for L.A. Confidential, Pleasantville, Seabiscuit and The Good Shepherd. Many of her film sets represented different time periods within the 20th century, including movies from the 1930s like Seabiscuit, from the 1950s like L.A.
Biography
Jeannine Oppewall's personal information overview.
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News
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Bookings & signings - Variety
Google News - over 5 years
... Knew," Jeannine Oppewall on Warren Beatty's untitled pic for Paramount, J. Michael Riva on Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained," Geoff Wallace on Chris Nelson's "Gay Dude," Mark Hutman on Fox's "Glee" and Lester Cohen on USA pilot "Over/Under
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Google News article
Quick Takes: New Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences database - Los Angeles Times
Google News - over 5 years
Among the highlights in the database are animation cels for the 1949 Oscar-winning Pepe Le Pew cartoon "For Scent-imental Reasons" and production designer Jeannine Oppewall's drawing of the Victory Motel for 1997's "LA Confidential
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Google News article
Production Designers, Set Decorators to Wrap with Hallmarks of Great Work, 5/16 - Broadway World
Google News - almost 6 years
Special guests will include production designers Lilly Kilvert ("Valkyrie," "The Crucible"), Alex McDowell ("The Watchmen," "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory") and Jeannine Oppewall ("The Good Shepherd," "Seabiscuit") as well as set decorators Jim
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Google News article
Production Designers and Set Decorators: It's All About Collaboration - SHOOT Online (press release)
Google News - almost 6 years
set decorator Lauri Gaffin ("Iron Man," "The Pursuit of Happyness"), production designer Alex McDowell with set decorator Anne Kuljian ("The Terminal," "Minority Report"), production designer Jeannine Oppewall with set decorator Leslie Pope
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Google News article
MOVIE REVIEW | 'HOW DO YOU KNOW'; Disappointed in Softball, but Will She Be Disappointed in Love?
NYTimes - about 6 years
In ''How Do You Know,'' a romantic comedy about missed opportunities, scripted and otherwise, Reese Witherspoon wears an industrial-strength smile and a laser twinkle that looks as if it's set on kill. Although she's routinely cast in frothy fare, Ms. Witherspoon comes with a hard, intimidating edge that most directors ignore. Maybe she prefers
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NYTimes article
MOVIE REVIEW | 'THE HAPPENING'; Something Lethal Lurks in the Rustling Trees
NYTimes - over 8 years
The knives had been out and sharpened long before M. Night Shyamalan's latest movie, ''The Happening,'' opened on Friday. A fine craftsman with aspirations to the canon, this would-be auteur has, in the last few years, experienced a sensational fall from critical and commercial grace, partly through his own doing -- by making bad movies and then,
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NYTimes article
FILM REVIEW; Company Man: Hush, Hush, Sweet Operative
NYTimes - about 10 years
''The Good Shepherd,'' a chilly film about a spy trapped in the cold of his own heart, seeks to put a tragic human face on the Central Intelligence Agency, namely that of Matt Damon. The story more or less begins and ends at the Bay of Pigs. In between there is a spicy, lively interlude in the 1930's at Yale University, where little boys are made
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NYTimes article
AT HOME WITH: Jeannine Oppewall; Thoroughbred Modern
NYTimes - over 13 years
FOR 10 years Jeannine Oppewall lived in a dark one-bedroom bungalow built here during World War II for aircraft workers at McDonnell Douglas. And, she said, for those 10 years, she never invited anyone over. Nor did she consider this behavior odd. Ms. Oppewall, who designed the sets for ''Seabiscuit,'' was raised a Calvinist and accepted a certain
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NYTimes article
FILM REVIEW; Scrambling To Victory
NYTimes - over 13 years
AT the peak of his celebrity in the late 1930's, Seabiscuit, a runty, crooked-legged racehorse rescued from obscurity by a California car dealer, was the most famous mammal in America, surpassing even Franklin D. Roosevelt in media attention and popular esteem. In her best-selling book, ''Seabiscuit: An American Legend,'' published two years ago,
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NYTimes article
FILM; When Pilots Were Stars and Airlines Glamorous
NYTimes - about 14 years
NOT long after the teenage con man played by Leonardo DiCaprio decides to pose as a Pan Am co-pilot in Steven Spielberg's ''Catch Me If You Can,'' he shows up at a T.W.A. counter at Kennedy Airport hoping to catch a ride out of town. The ticket agent looks up at him and chirps, ''Are you my dead head?'' Mr. DiCaprio, as Frank Abagnale Jr., is taken
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NYTimes article
NEIGHBORHOOD REPORT: KENNEDY AIRPORT; An Airport Landmark, When It Was Young
NYTimes - about 14 years
The fate of Eero Saarinen's T.W.A. Flight Center at Kennedy Airport may hang in the balance, but the 41-year-old landmark is passing the time by enjoying a second childhood. While preservationists and the Port Authority argue over the terminal's future, it has been living out a bit of its past, celluloid style, as a setting for Steven Spielberg's
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AT THE MOVIES
NYTimes - about 14 years
Juggling Pieces Of Life's Puzzle In ''Confessions of a Dangerous Mind,'' Sam Rockwell takes on the daunting task of playing Chuck Barris, the television producer (of ''The Dating Game''), master of ceremonies (of ''The Gong Show'') and, at least according to Mr. Barris in his fanciful autobiography, cold-blooded assassin (for the Central
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NYTimes article
FILM REVIEW; Taking to a Gullible World Like a Mouse to Swiss Cheese
NYTimes - about 14 years
Here in the land of opportunity, we pride ourselves on taking one another at face value. That's why in a culture that falls all over itself to invest glamorous images with substance, any quick-witted trickster can have a field day pretending to be what he's not. In the opening scene of ''Catch Me if You Can,'' Steven Spielberg's supremely
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NYTimes article
FILM REVIEW; Terrorism That's All Too Real
NYTimes - over 14 years
''The Sum of All Fears,'' which imagines the detonation by terrorists of a nuclear bomb on American soil, couldn't have been better timed to coincide with the country's jittery mood. It was just days ago that United States officials suggested that suicide bombings are inevitable on American targets. And as the film's fictional depiction of events
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NYTimes article
Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Jeannine Oppewall
    FIFTIES
  • 2006
    Age 59
    When Oppewall was assigned art director for the 2006 spy film The Good Shepherd, it took her a week to organize the number of set locations due to the large amounts of settings in the script, which included Cuba, Guatemala, LĂ©opoldville, London, Moscow, New York and New Haven, Connecticut, among other places.
    More Details Hide Details Although the vast majority of the movie was filmed in New York, the only scenes that are actually set in New York take place in a house in Far Rockaway, Queens. As a result, many sets had to be constructed under Oppewall's direction, including a Skull and Bones headquarters and the Berlin set, which was built on the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Oppewall built sets based on Skull and Bones, Central Intelligence Agency and other clandestine organizations after she consulted with a former CIA operative and researched books of interviews with spy agency insiders. Since the lead character played by Matt Damon originally aspired to be a poet, Oppewall incorporated many visual poetic symbols into the film, including a large number of mirrors to represent the duplicity of the CIA, full rigged ships as symbols of the state and eagle symbols, which were used in ironic situations such as suspect interrogations.
  • 2002
    Age 55
    She was part of the team that won an Art Directors Guild Excellence in Production Design Award for the 2002 film Catch Me If You Can; Oppewall also received nominations for the same award for the films L.A. Confidential, Pleasantville, Wonder Boys, Seabiscuit and The Good Shephard.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 1997
    Age 50
    Oppewall has been nominated for four Academy Awards for Best Art Direction for L.A. Confidential in 1997, Pleasantville in 1998, Seabiscuit in 2003 and The Good Shepherd in 2006.
    More Details Hide Details
  • FORTIES
  • 1996
    Age 49
    Gary Hoblit, who directed the 1996 Oppewall-designed film Primal Fear, said he particularly appreciated her flexibility and versatility: "While she may prefer a world in which less is more, she can still create an opulent and gooey world that is appropriate for someone unlike her."
    More Details Hide Details Part of the set for Seabiscuit was set in Tijuana during the Prohibition era, Oppewall and her staff consulting vintage postcards in order to create the set; she said this part of the film was especially difficult to research because, "A Tijuana Historical Society didn't exactly exist back then." She also built a replica of the ranch owned by Charles S. Howard, the owner of the racehorse Seabiscuit, out of fir planks. Actor Jeff Bridges, who played Howard, was so impressed with the set that he made an unsuccessful attempt to buy it and have it shipped to his property in Montana, despite Oppewall's assurances that it was just a set and was not built to last. In a similar episode, the owners of the Santa Anita racetrack were so impressed with her design for a tote board that they wanted to keep it.
  • THIRTIES
  • 1983
    Age 36
    One of her earlier movies was Tender Mercies, a 1983 film about an alcoholic country singer played by Robert Duvall.
    More Details Hide Details Director Bruce Beresford praised Oppewall as "absolutely brilliant," especially for her attention to very small details, "going from the curtains to the color of the quilts on the floors." A large portion of the movie was filmed in the home of Duvall's character, which Beresford created from an old house that had been sitting abandoned by a highway in Waxahachie, Texas, where the majority of the movie was filmed. Oppewall said of her career, "What I do for a living is not dissimilar from what an actor does. I have a different set of tools, but it's the same process. The reason that it's fun to design sets is that it allows you to try on personalities that you'd never otherwise experience." Gary Ross, director of Pleasantville and Seabiscuit, said of Oppewall, "Jeannine doesn't suffer fools gladly, and she hasn't suffered me gladly when I've been a fool. She's fastidious, restrained and refined, and yet she has this impulsive side where she just takes off and chases butterflies."
  • 1981
    Age 34
    She began her career as a set and production designer in the early 1980s, with such films as the 1981 Brian De Palma thriller Blow Out.
    More Details Hide Details Oppewall was responsible for overseeing the finding of locations for her films and the design and construction of sets and interiors; according to a profile in The New York Times, she was "responsible for everything an actor walks in front of, sits on, drives through or picks up."
  • 1979
    Age 32
    Oppewall began her film career helping Paul Schrader on his 1979 film Hardcore, for which she was credited as a "project consultant."
    More Details Hide Details Oppewall and Schrader were divorced sometime after the film's release.
  • TWENTIES
  • 1969
    Age 22
    Oppewall obtained her master's degree from Bryn Mawr in 1969 and moved to Los Angeles, California.
    More Details Hide Details At age 22, she was given a job answering phones at the Venice studio of Charles Eames. According to some sources, Paul Schrader arranged an interview between Oppewall and Eames when he was writing a magazine article about the Eameses. Oppewall, however, has claimed she got the job while visiting the Charles Eames office as a guest and, upon leaving, casually asked a secretary whether there were any jobs available. Upon taking the job, Charles Eames told Oppewall, "I can teach you how to draw, I cannot teach you how to think or see. If you can think and you can see, you can stay." Oppewall worked with him for eight years, during which time Eames, in Oppewall's words, "saw something in me I didn't know was there." By the end of her time with Eames, she was helping design and organize Eames museum exhibits. Eames made more than 100 small personal and educational films in that time and, as a result of her exposure to them, Oppewall said she got into the film business "by accident."
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1946
    Born
    Jeannie Oppewall was born on November 28, 1946 and was raised in Uxbridge, Massachusetts with a Calvinist upbringing.
    More Details Hide Details Her father was a tool and die maker Garrett Oppewall and her mother was Eva Boutiler. According to The New York Times, Oppewall was determined to be "the family intellectual." Oppewall attended and graduated from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where she met future husband, Paul Schrader, who would go on to become a film director and screenwriter. She then studied medieval history at Bryn Mawr College in Lower Merion Township, Pennsylvania. There she discovered the furniture of designers and filmmakers Charles and Ray Eames, which inspired her to switch her focus to modern design. Oppewall said of the Eames designs, "I was so attracted by the contemporary feeling, the shapely sexy lines: totally different from the Sears, Roebuck middle-class stuff I'd grown up with. I looked at it and said, 'This is me.'"
Original Authors of this text are noted here.
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