The dirt on the ‘It’s Complicated’ vegetable garden
Photo credit: Melinda Sue Gordon / Universal Studios
December 31, 2009
Ever since “It’s Complicated” was released in theaters last week the online garden community has been buzzing about Jane’s (Meryl Streep) vegetable garden, above. Its lushness, colorfulness, perkiness … well, it’s almost pornographic. One doesn’t know whether to envy it, or to be concerned about anyone that eats from it.
“The idea was it was meant to look like a real cook’s garden,” said Jon Hutman, the film’s production designer, speaking on the phone from a hotel room in Italy. “We try to make the movies look real, but a very delicious version of real.”
Hutman, who does not garden, relied on the talents of greensman Dan Ondrejko, whose previous credits include “Jurassic Park,” “Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events” and “Land of the Lost.” After perusing countless garden books they settled on a French potager garden design, which makes sense for the character — a baker who got her training in France.
While there are no CGI cabbages or rhubarb special effects in the film, this is still not a garden that is humanly possible, even for Martha Stewart. The vegetables were grown in a greenhouse for two months before the garden scene was shot, and any plant that looked a little scrubby was not used.
There was also a little enhancement. “I probably shouldn’t tell you this,” Hutman said, guiltily, “but those tomatoes were wired to the vine.”
Honesty appreciated, Jon.