AS: Do you spend a lot of time with the location managers and scouts?
ES: Yes. But having grown up in London and done an awful lot in London I’m pretty good at knowing where stuff is now.
AS: Do you ever just go out on your own scouting?
ES: I don’t go out on my own scouting but I’ll certainly know where to suggest quite quickly. What would be a good area or what type of building would work.
AS: When you first get a movie what is one of the first things you do? What is your process at the outset?
ES: I’ll always read it and start drawing all over the script. And I buy a new sketchbook and start drawing. I’ll sit in a room with the director drawing and thinking. Looking at research and pulling out books and images.
AS: I hear you’re involved in a Frankenstein movie?
ES: Yes! I did the Muppets Most Wanted and then I did another Call the Midwife television series and now I’m doing Frankenstein.
AS: A historical period film?
ES: Yes. It’s all set in the 1800’s. It will be another big historical thing but given that I’m now doing the research I’m learning how to bring someone back to life. I should have it licked by the end of the year.
AS: Is that another attribute a production designer needs to have? The ability to bring people back to life?
ES: Yes, it’s a useful extra skill!
AS: Say someone’s starting out in the business. Any advice?
ES: Learn to smile all day! Be positive. And learn to draw. For God’s sake learn to draw! It’s the only way you’ll ever get in your own way.