Eve Stewart

Eve Stewart

In that way they work in a similar way. With Tom you heighten it. You’re very rigorous about making sure it’s historically accurate but in the end we’re making a musical. You’re allowed to heighten it. That’s the difference. Where Mike wouldn’t do that. Although on Topsy-Turvy I often tweaked it a bit. But not to the degree anywhere near.

AS: Are you talking about realism vs being more stylized and theatrical?
ES: Not so much stylized and theatrical -just sort of raising the bar all the time. It’s just exaggerating slightly. Not going into the world of the fantastical but if you’ve got a red room just making it more red than you would naturally have. Or extra cold or the wood slightly more decrepit. Just sort of pushing the limits up a bit.

AS: On The King’s Speech you said a lot of it was locations. How was your role different?
ES: None of the locations were actually as you saw them. And we felt very strongly it would be good to work in the real places. We found his treatment room very near Harley Street in London. Plus the reality is that we didn’t have as much money. I don’t want to spend the money on building a wall if one exists and you can decorate it.

AS: Speaking of walls there was that one wall in The King’s Speech that was so amazing.
ES: The King’s Speech was quite a theatrical piece when I first read it. Tom and I though there would be a lot more of just looking at Lionel Logue and the King in one room. So we thought the room should be really, really interesting! The script developed as we went along but we kept that interest. We also thought what was really great to start painting it really theatrically -kind of a Shakespearian tan.

AS: Do you do a lot of sketching for every movie you work on?
ES: Yes, because I’m quite quick. I do tons. I did a whole sequence of watercolors and paintings for Les Mis. It gives you something to talk about with directors. Even if something is wrong at least it’s a starting point.

AS: Do you ever have set designers do sketches too?
ES: No. Although I sometimes get them to do a visual if it’s a big street scene or something because studios like that sort of thing. But no, primarily with Tom he will happily work from my watercolors.

AS: Did you go to art school?
ES: Yes, I went to the Central Saint Martins in London. I did theater design and I worked in the theater for about eight years before I started doing films. I did the sets and the costumes when I did theater.

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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