LOS ANGELES — After a decade working for Ralph Lauren, and a year-and-a-half helping Reed Krakoff overhaul the image at Coach, store designer-turned-writer/director Thomas Bezucha knows it’s all in the details. For his first studio feature, the “dramedy” “The Family Stone,” which opens Friday, Bezucha assembled a dream cast of Diane Keaton, Sarah Jessica Parker, Rachel McAdams, Luke Wilson and Claire Danes. And despite the five years it took to pull it all together, ever the perfectionist, he took an additional eight weeks to find the exact kind of linoleum for the set’s kitchen floor.
But then Bezucha, 41, is no stranger to snow-covered colonial homes like the one in the film. He grew up in Amherst, Mass., and moved to New York at 19 to study fashion at Parsons School of Design.
“I think one of the things that made me good at my job at Polo was my love of movies,” he says. “Ralph is a huge [movie] fan, and film was a real shorthand for everyone who worked there. But at a certain point, I became more interested in the people who occupied the rooms I was designing than the rooms themselves.” So Bezucha moved to Los Angeles six years ago to direct his first film, an independent called “Big Eden” that he wrote while working at Ralph Lauren.
“I feel like I’m finally doing what’s in my heart,” he says. “I was successful in New York, but it didn’t satisfy my soul.” Writing, he adds, is a painful process, but the reward is the opportunity to direct.
Surprisingly, Bezucha’s previous career wasn’t a topic of conversation on the set. Of Keaton and Parker, he says: “Among three people who love fashion, we never talked about it. We were so in agreement on the characters [Keaton plays the indomitable Stone family matriarch and Parker plays the girlfriend whom Dermot Mulroney brings home for Christmas] that we never looked back.”
But he is culling from the past when it comes to subject matter. Bezucha currently is working on another family-driven feature, noting: “Families are fascinating to me because they don’t let you get away with anything. They really take you to town.”