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Technicolor PostWorks Helps Make ‘Maggie’s Plan’ “Sparkle”

"It’s sweet and romantic, but with a light touch. It’s colorful in just the right way," says colorist Alex Bickel.

For postproduction on director Rebecca Miller’s romantic comedy Maggie’s Plan, Technicolor PostWorks New York furnished suites and systems to picture editor Sabine Hoffman and her crew. The company also provided resources for dailies processing, editorial finishing, color grading, sound mixing and deliverables.

Maggie’s Plan tells the quirky story of independent, 30-something Maggie (Greta Gerwig), whose plan to have a baby as a single mom is derailed when she falls in love with “ficto-critical anthropologist” John (Ethan Hawke) and destroys his marriage to the brilliant Georgette (Julianne Moore).

Maggie (Greta Gerwig) and Georgette (Julianne Moore). Photo by Jon Pack/Sony Pictures Classics.

Cinematographer Sam Levy, collaborating with Miller for the first time, captures New York City in warm, glowing tones. “I spent a lot of time with Rebecca during preproduction, breaking the script into its elements,” Levy recalls. “She described the look she wanted as ‘awake’ and I intuitively knew what she meant. It should sparkle and glow.”

Levy drew inspiration from California still photographer Janet Delaney, whose work employs color in a striking but nuanced way. In preparing for the shoot, Levy shared one of Delaney’s photographs with DI colorist Alex Bickel, who referred to it in preparing a camera LUT that was used on the set and in dailies production.

Bickel says of the aesthetic Miller and Levy were aiming for, “It’s sweet and romantic, but with a light touch. It’s colorful in just the right way.”

Director Rebecca Miller. Photo by Jon Pack/Sony Pictures Classics.

Bickel says that the grade is realistic, except for a few times where it becomes more stylized and artistic to underscore points in the story’s emotional arc.

After the film was shot and edited, Bickel worked with Miller and Levy to refine the look during postproduction finishing sessions. “Alex and I would work on a reel, and at the end of the day [Miller] would come in to review what we’d done,” Levy recalls. “Alex is a brilliant guy with a wicked sense of humor, so we had a lot of fun … and just enough time to produce a great film.”