Guy Hendrix Dyas 2
AS: Did you use CNC routing to industrially print any of your elements? For example, the tiles in the wall of the bar that have the silhouette of the ship in them? Or the curved walls of the observation deck?
GHD: Most of this honestly is wood frame with MDF on top and some very skilled painters giving me beautiful automotive finishes on the top of everything. Some people are blown away by some of the finishes we have. They think it’s CGI but it’s not.
AS: You mentioned being influenced by the bar in The Shining. Is watching films for reference part of your process?
GHD: Not always. However, with Morton we latched onto Silent Running and The Shining. That relationship between Jack Nicholson’s character and the barman had huge similarities emotionally to what we were creating between Chris Pratt’s character and our barman. The Art Deco bar was a beautiful red and gold jewelry box in the middle of this antiseptic spaceship. There was a seductive need to go there. And the barman had to have no legs so he couldn’t leave the bar. If Jennifer and Chris want this synthetic relationship they have to go to the bar and meet this guy.
We were lucky we had a script that called for an ocean-liner in space. I could indulge with my Art Deco bar, romantic French restaurant, swimming pool, and an amazing, weird-looking observation room for people to look out to space. The amphitheater set looks to me like the inside of a 1930’s race-car. A lot of people think it’s all CGI, which is a little heartbreaking! I started with this idea of orbiting planets and then translated that into these amazing alloy ribs, all made from wood with amazing paint finishes but you’d never know it. I finished it off with a Japanese Zen garden in the middle. It’s really a place of meditation and contemplating life and the universe. It becomes a sanctuary for Aurora to write in. When she’s going through the horrors of realizing she will die before she reaches her destination.
AS: When we last talked we discussed Christopher Nolan’s involvement with production design -how involved was Morton Tyldum?
GHD: Every director’s different. You have directors who really want to be involved while other directors say, This is your thing- you just go design something brilliant for me and I’ll tell you if I don’t like it! But because this was Morton’s first big budget film he was very excited. I was very lucky to have him to spend a lot of time with me in the art department. It was like two little boys encouraging each other to design the most outrageous spaceship they could ever come up with! I’d show him a design and he’d say, Give me more of this! Or, Can you make this more crazy? He was always trying to push the envelope. That’s food for me. Chris Nolan is the same. I love the challenge when a director pushes me and encourages me to take an idea even further. I attribute a lot of his encouragement to why the sets turned out so imaginative and