Eve Stewart

Eve Stewart

AS: Then you started to do film work in school?
ES: No, I did design in theater for Mike Leigh and then he suddenly asked if I wanted to work on a film and I said yes because it sounded fun. I didn’t realize it would be such hard work! But it is fun.

AS: Is the ability to work hard a characteristic you need to have as a production designer?
ES: You have to work all the time! You have to be so fascinated by everything because you’re doing everything from what the wheels are like on a carriage to what they’re eating. What the lighting is, controlling the colors, working with the cameraman, the director, the costume designer, and the makeup designer as well. I think it’s very interesting that one minute you’re drawing a picture and the next minute someone’s throwing three million quid at you to hire carpenters and painters and everything. You’ve got to be a good politician as well. And good at adding up.

AS: In terms of how much money is being spent?
ES: Yes. You’ve got to stay all over it.
AS: When you are hiring all the craftspeople what kind of characteristics are you looking for?
ES: That they’re really good-humored mainly! That you can have a laugh. And that everybody gets on. The people that I tend to use also have a very theatrical background. They’re very skilled. They’ve not only done film. They have an appreciation of real life and real characters.

AS: Jon Myhre told me if he ever walks on set and hears people complain about something he says, “Well, Goodness Gracious, we’re working on a Movie! Isn’t that fantastic?”
ES: Why make it work? And you’re thrown into a really intense working relationship with people for a very long time and you’re with them 12, 14, 16 hours a day. If you’ve got some misery stomping about it disrupts everything.

AS: You said while doing Les Mis some of the tattooed crew members would sing the songs while building?
ES: Yes, they would start singing the songs while they were working! But then they did the same on the Muppets! They love it!

AS: Do you always work with the same crew?
ES: Yes.

AS: Have you only worked in England?
ES: I’ve worked a lot in Spain. The British do a lot of commercials in Spain because of the weather. And I’ve done an awful lot in Eastern Europe and Italy. And a little bit in the U.S. but not much.

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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