Sarah Greenwood

Sarah Greenwood

And that house was a listed house but it wasn’t National Trust -it was empty. The woman who had inherited it had to sell off all the furniture to pay for the roof and other renovations so it really was a blank canvas. There was no furniture in it and there was no wallpaper, there was nothing. It wasn’t derelict but it was empty. Which was just brilliant for us and we just moved in.

AS: You always wonder how much of those places were like that and how much was brought in.
SG: It varies. On Pride and Prejudice we did this whole thing to the Bennett House that was a listed house so you couldn’t touch the walls. What we ended up doing was kind of cladding the hall and some of the stairs and then building within the room. We rebuilt all the paneling, within the room, so we could paint it. Which was quite extreme. Ordinarily you might have built that on a stage because the interior was quite small, but Joe wanted the interior and the exterior to work together. That was just such a fantastic house. And again, it wasn’t lived in so we were given kind of carte blanche as long as we didn’t affect the actual fabric of the building.

AS: In Sherlock Holmes, his amazing office doesn’t feel like a set -it feels like a real place.
SG: What was interesting there was the set had to say so much about Sherlock. Every single thing had to have a reason and a rationale. So we dressed it and we showed it to Robert and he just said, I want more. The philosophy was that he would have rented those rooms and that the wall-coverings and the key pieces of furniture would all be in there from Mrs. Hudson. And then it’s what Sherlock did to the room. Which is de-construct it in a way and then layer it up with all the things that he would have done: past cases, rationales, disguises, you just build on and on and on. Frankly what we’ve done on Sherlock II is even more extreme! I looked at that set and I don’t know how they could shoot it. Because you couldn’t walk in it, let alone take a camera in there. They did. And also Philippe Rousselot is an amazing DP. The way he works with the set and the way he lights really brings it to life.

AS: Is the second Sherlock in a similar color palette, with a similar feel?
SG: What we’re not doing is we don’t stay in London quite so much. We move to Europe. And as opposed to the first Sherlock where we stay in London and we kept coming back to Baker Street on this next one we are constantly moving forward. You know, we go to Paris, then we go to Germany, and we end up in the Alps, and so down and dirty industrial London doesn’t feature as much. You obviously get a sense of it but it’s not part of the story as much. As far as the feel goes, in some parts we go quite light in colors. We end up in the Alps at the top of a mountain at a fortress which we had to build. We shot in Strasberg about three days but the rest of it we shot in the UK. The rest of the journey across Europe, I’m not joking, we shot within twenty-five miles of London. In fact this weekend they’re up in Wales. It worries me extremely that they’re up in Wales shooting a sequence that’s supposed to take them from Paris to Germany! You’ve got to keep off the hill because otherwise it will look like Wales.

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About the Interviewer

Tom Lisowski is a production designer who has designed swamp mazes shot in China, crumbling cliffs in Utah, future arenas in South Central, dilapidated tenements and twisted laboratories under luxurious mansions... William Anthony is a Los Angeles-based commercial and editorial photographer specializing in portraiture, lifestyle and documentary imagery... Guest photographer Nelson Cragg is an award-winning cinematographer who shoots and directs television, feature films, and commercial projects. Contact ArtStars: tom@artstars.us