David Wasco & Sandy Reynolds-Wasco
DW: So we were prepping a black and white movie.
AS: Which is different…
DW: It’s harder.
SRW: And hard to change mid stream to color.
But there were also two other things. Originally Quentin wanted to shoot all locations. It wasn’t decided that we were actually going to do all the builds until after three weeks of location scouting.
The third challenge involved the centerpiece theater. Quentin really wanted to build something on a Babelsberg stage and burn it down. He isn’t interested in CGI or effects. But these studios are old! The stages had wooden roofs.
DW: All wood, very flammable. And it was a real lobby to the studio to allow us to do pretty big burns within the studio with real fire. Controllable burns were approved right up until the last minute when they decided it would be too dangerous.
SRW: It would have been!
DW: We ended up doing minimal controlled burns in somewhat fireproof sets that were built out of sheetrock within these very dry wooden timber stages. But then we also found this massive clear span empty concrete factory that Fritz Lang actually used in the Twenties. It was a closed, derelict space that had 75’ ceiling spans and it allowed us to build a full-sized duplicate of the auditorium. We were able to do a raging fire burn without burning the building down.
These were the things that Sandy mentioned were the mini-curveballs. Having done virtually all of Quentin’s movies we know that this guy really likes working with practical locations and if he wants to shoot in a little, tiny room, Fine, great. Some of the sets that came out of Quentin’s movies were either because the practical locations didn’t work or we were asked to do an interesting nightclub set like Jack Rabbit Slim’s. But for the most part the guy really likes to work in practical locations so we scouted and we found the perfect French farmhouse. We found all these great locations but after taking Quentin to them he said, You know guys, I’d really like to build this instead. This was then ending up to be five weeks before shooting! We had to scramble to put all this on paper and still find a practical location that we could set the farmhouse in and then duplicate it again on stage. Then we built it yet again where it was cut in half like an ant farm. You could see half-way through the structure and then pan down to see the family hiding.