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When a movie is set in New York City—and if the people making it are savvy—real estate becomes part of the story itself. (Anyone who's ever lived in this place will tell you it's a character, alright.) In Reel Estate, we look at some of the more memorable domiciles to grace the silver screen.
There are plenty of reasons to like Nancy Meyer's 2003 rom-com Something's Gotta Give--heavy-hitting leads Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton, a solid script, the existence of an expensive studio movie actually geared toward women, let alone those over 30--but mostly, we love it for its setting, the quintessential fantasy vacation home in Southampton. (There's a reason Lena Dunham's character on Girls blurts out "I feel like I'm in a Nancy Meyers movie!" after seeing the kitchen of a spacious Greenpoint townhouse in season 2.)
"The look of the movie is important to me in terms of design," Meyers has said in interviews, "because I tend to write movies that take place in bedrooms, kitchens and living rooms rather than on grand landscapes. It’s fun for me to continue to define the characters through the places they choose to live."
And it bears out: the entire plot of Something's Gotta Give hinges on playwright Erica Barry (Keaton) and mogul Harry Sandborn (Nicholson) accidentally ending up at the house at the same time, then finding themselves stuck there after he suffers a heart attack.
Even when the actors onscreen are naked (or close to it), we constantly find ourselves distracted by that house, with its spacious, immaculate kitchen and dining room, the sumptuous all-white decorating scheme, the inspiring home office with windows framing the beach grass and wide sky, and rooms bathed in natural light. (It's got direct beach access and waterfront views, to boot.)
The characters in the movie aren't shy discussing the cost of Barry's Hamptons spread—real estate talk is, after all, a New York pastime—and what it means as a marker of her success. It makes sense: In real life, the house at 576 Meadow Lane in Southampton has an estimated value of more than $22 million, though one wonders if playwrights could afford a house like this now. (Not coincidentally, the street has earned the nickname "Billionaire Lane.")
Since the movie's release, the place has become the stuff of legend for design and real estate buffs, so much so that one fan actually recreated the entire home using The Sims, and families have remodeled their kitchens to emulate the one in the movie. It's worth noting that the Southampton house was only used for exterior shots, though, and the interiors we've all been coveting are actually the work of set designers--everything (even the kitchen) was built on a sound stage, and dismantled after filming.
There are still plenty of Hamptons houses available at a fraction of the price (that are a comparatively good deal stacked up against Manhattan real estate), but if you'd prefer the ludicrously expensive--but tasteful--fantasy versions, check out Architectural Digest's tour of the set, and the full trailer below: