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Creating the Kranks Neighborhood


Cue the Weather

Stover's next challenge was approximating Chicago weather. To establish the season, "There had to be snow present from the beginning of the movie, and by the end of the movie everything is covered with snow. We used several different things," he outlines. "For snow that was far away we used cotton snow blankets that give a contoured, round look, and we put fake snow on top of that. Everything has to biodegradable so it's made from starch or soap or cellulose. We used several different kinds of falling snow-foam snow, that's blown out and falls like real snow, and cellulose and starch. But the starch was so fine that we had this mist of starch in the air constantly."

The snow is long gone, but Hemlock Street is still standing, available for use in other movies, TV shows and commercials. Even though it lacks structural foundation, "it was built to code," Stover says. "There's an infrastructure for electricity, for water, for drainage," noting how pleased the crew members were that their handiwork would remain intact. His own satisfaction comes from solving an enormous logistical problem. "What makes any given movie more interesting is how big of a challenge it seems and how you conquer the challenge," he says. "It was a great luxury to be able to design that street exactly how I wanted it to look."