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Los Angeles for Beginners

Posted June 01, 2011 to photo album "Los Angeles for Beginners"

Beginners not only writes a poignant postcard to contemporary Los Angeles, but maps out a personal landscape for writer/director Mike Mills.

Los Angeles According to Mike Mills
Richard Neutra Lovell Health House
Biltmore Hotel, 506 S Grand Ave
Elysian Park
Los Angeles County Art Museum (LAMCA), 5905 Wilshire Blvd.
Glendale Narrows
Tacos Arizas, Sunset and Logan
Cosmopolitan Book Shop, 7017 Melrose Ave
Billboard, Alvarado and Sunset
Richard Neutra Lovell Health House

Richard Neutra Lovell Health House

The Health House was commissioned by the Lovell family and built in 1927. It is one of Richard Neutra’s most famous houses. But that is not why we picked it. It is gorgeously situated and the natural light that comes through is just amazing. It made sense, character-wise, that you would have this art historian man living there––and that would be the family house. Also I wanted to shoot in all natural light. And Richard Neutra is like the best gaffer in the whole world, with the light that comes through those windows. He has these built in sconce lights, and they create this amazing soft light. I love modern America architecture, and I know all about Neutra, so when Chris [Miller], my locations manager, showed me the house, I was, “You can’t be showing me the Richard Neutra Lovell House –– we can’t get in there.” But luckily the recession really helped us in that we could afford something’s we couldn’t normally afford. The Topper family has lived in there for, I think, like 40 years. So the house has a real patina, a real accumulation of stuff, like a real family has. The checkered bedspread that is in one of the scenes –– that is just the Topper’s actual bedspread. All the stuff that is in the kitchen, along the shelves, that is just the Topper’s stuff. I love going in to locations and treating them in a documentary way.