AS: The interior Bishop house was all construction?
AS: Yes, although we didn’t have a stage at all -we had a Linens ‘n Things! We were in a strip mall at a defunct Linens ‘n Things. We had a Barnes and Noble on one side of us and a PetCo on the other side. The exterior was a lighthouse in Jamestown Rhode Island but the interior was all set. And the set wasn’t one set, it was five different sets. Each built to cut through a different way.
AS: How was shooting The Darjeeling Limited in India?
AS: Really amazing. Overwhelming and magical. It sounds corny and cliché but everything people say about the place is absolutely true. It’s awe-inspiring.
AS: India has a huge film industry of its own.
AS: It was incredible. Such an amazing crew. I art directed that film and Mark Friedberg production designed it. I stayed mostly in Jodhpur trying to get the train set finished while Mark ran ahead and sorted out all the location sets.
AS: Was any of the train built on a stage?
AS: It was an actual Indian Railways train that one of the producers on the film, Lydia Dean Pilcher, convinced the Indian Railway to loan us. We got this train and stripped it down to the bare steel. We built the entire thing inside of it and the movie was all shot on the real train while it was moving on the tracks.
Because we were moving we had other cars that you don’t see. We had a dining car for the crew where people ate lunch and we had a car full of cast greenrooms, and we had a production car that had offices set up. It was such a fun set to work on.
On a slightly terrifying day in prep we figured out that we weren’t going to go in a circle, instead the train was going to go out in the morning and come back in the afternoon. So you’re going out in the morning and the background’s going left to right outside the cabin window but in the afternoon on the way back you don’t want the background going like that! So we had to make two!
AS: Wow. That reminds me of Jack Fisk making two matching sets of the boy’s bedroom in Tree of Life to get the most out of the natural light. They would actually move set dressing from one to the other depending on time of day that they were shooting it! So you did the same thing, with one train car set facing one way, one facing the other?
AS: Yes! And in the morning we’d shoot one and in the afternoon we’d shoot the other.
This was one of my favorite films last year with some of my favorite actors. I love being able to read about how it all came to life through the production designer and thank you very much for creating a site where aspiring Production Design/Art Directors, such as myself, can come and learn from the best. Thank you!