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Production Design on “Isle of Dogs”: A Chat with the Fantastic Mr. Paul Harrod

Paul Harrod says one of his favorite sculptors is August Rodin. It’s not a name you’d imagine getting love from the Portland co-production designer of Wes Anderson’s stop-motion animation Isle of Dogs. But considering that the visuals of this phantasmagoria jointly styled with Adam Stockhausen are a breakthrough in the art form, it’s no wonder the virtuosity behind them involved the study of a master. Harrod’s more direct influences came from stop-motio...

Stanley Tucci's “Final Portrait”: A Conversation with Production Designer James Merifield

Final Portrait is an artist’s studio tour and you’re on the invite list. The artist is Swiss sculptor, painter, draughtsman and printmaker Alberto Giacometti, and the studio, as writer Jean Genet put it, is “a milky swamp, a seething dump, a genuine ditch.” Plaster busts and bony figures haunt the space amidst a mess of tools and splatters. It’d be downright spooky were it not for the creative spirit infusing the ruins. That legendary Montparnasse hovel is w...

Production Designer Hannah Beachler Relives “Black Panther”

Been to Wakanda? Hannah Beachler has, and her production design for the fictional country at the heart of Black Panther proves that vibranium exists. How else to explain such a radiant spectacle if not daily doses of the African El Dorado’s magic metal? The Marvel Studios actioner follows T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) finding his way as Wakanda’s new warrior king and superhero Black Panther after the death of his father T’Chaka (Atandwa Kani). Presiding over un...

Interview with "Julieta" Production Designer Antxón Gómez

There’s nothing pretty about heartbreak and guilt or abandonment and loss. But Spanish auteur Pedro Almodóvar has a knack for gussying up even the darkest themes, and Julieta brings his latest example.  The film is constructed from three Alice Munro short stories — Chance, Soon and Silence — gathered in the Canadian author’s Runaway collection. A fair bit of running away goes on in Almodóvar&rsqu...

Production Designer Hannah Beachler Beams on “Moonlight”

Moonlight, the new film by Barry Jenkins, follows a gay African-American’s quest for identity in a disadvantaged section of Miami. Just as the moon projects no light of its own, but bounces reflected sunlight off its surface, so too the cypher at the core of Jenkins’ drama derives his earliest sense of self from what others make of him. Yet Moonlight is richly illuminating. The production designer Hannah Beachler was tapped to visualize its three distinct phases. Drawn f...

New York Film Festival's "Experimenter": How Production Design Tells the Stanley Milgram Story

  Michael Almereyda's Experimeter follows the stirrings of social psychologist Stanley Milgram, beginning with his "obedience experiments" at Yale. To get a bead on the film's visual strategy, read on:       ...

Tour "The Grand Budapest Hotel" with Production Designer Adam Stockhausen

With each new Wes Anderson film, audiences get not only a highly stylized world, but also a chance to wonder how he concocted it. Now The Grand Budapest Hotel, which is playing in New York and Los Angeles, is the object of such head cocking. Set in Eastern Europe from the pre-war years through the Communist 60s, the film traces the decline of a legendary spa hotel. Of its fragrant and fastidious concierge Gustave (Ralph Fiennes), the narrator says, "His world had vanished long befor...

Bob Shaw's Lairs for "The Wolf of Wall Street"

The history of money is strewn with hoaxes and the anti-heroes who rise and fall by them. Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street sends up an especially bracing example based on the bestselling memoir of Jordan Belfort, played with Oscar-nominated flair by Leonardo DiCaprio. To convey the debauched life and times of this high-rolling shyster who conned unsuspecting investors into forking over $100 million plus in the late '80s and '90s, the filmtakes us deep into the lairs ...


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