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Interview with Oscar Nominees Stuart Craig and Stephenie McMillan On Designing Harry Potter Films

Posted by: Stephanie_J
January 27, 2012, 03:39 PM

HitFlix blog has published a lengthy interview with Stuart Craig (production designer) and Stephenie McMillan (set decorator) following their Oscar nomination in the Art Direction category for "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2." Craig and McMillan have also worked on the previous 7 Potter films.

The pair discuss how they got the job on the first "Harry Potter" film, working with different directors, building the sets for the final battle and the changes that took place throughout the series.

The complete interview can be read at this page, while some excerpts are published below:

At times, the developing story meant they needed to work in particularly new and creative ways. McMillan found the most exciting transformation was turning the Great Hall into the setting of the Yule Ball in "The Goblet of Fire," for which they were nominated in 2005. “How do we make it into an ice palace," she reminisces. "Originally we thought silver curtains, silver table cloths and an ice dance floor, but it just went on and on. The drapes man eventually said, ‘Why not just stick the fabrics on the wall?” While an enormous amount of work, the degree of pleasure and pride is palatable in McMillan’s voice. It therefore shouldn’t be surprising that “The Goblet of Fire” earned the duo a trip back to the Kodak after missing for “The Chamber of Secrets” and “The Prisoner of Azkaban.”
Along with the changing story and expanding sets, the duo also had to contend with changing directors. Criag, for one, relished the changes that came with different men at the helm. “Each one of them managed to find a different take," he says. "It kept the whole thing vital and alive."
Both comment on the fact that Chris Columbus’ strengths lay in working with the child actors, while, Alfonso Cuarón (who directed "The Prizoner of Azkaban," which signaled the change in aesthetic signature for the series) had a very visual sense. “He wanted to make films much more magical and he really pushed all of us,” McMillan says. They also add that Mike Newell’s film ("The Goblet of Fire") was really about teenage angst and fun. McMillan says he “liked the boarding school aspect of it” while Craig says the director wanted to inject more humor into the proceedings.

The Art Directors Guild will also be honoring these two individuals with an honorary award for Outstanding Contribution to Cinematic Imagery.

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80450 Points

I really hope they win!

Posted by Won_Two on January 27, 2012, 11:08 PM report to moderator
926 Points

I don’t see any reason as to why they shouldn’t win. Good Luck! :D

Posted by Grindylow_101 on January 28, 2012, 05:04 AM report to moderator
28416 Points

I hope that they win too, they have done some fantastic work over the whole series of film. If they hadn’t got the ‘look’ right, the films wouldn’t have felt like the Harry Potter world, and no matter how good the scripts or acting, if the settings were wrong I really don’t think it would have worked. Just think back to some of the iconic places: Diagon Alley, the Great Hall, The Gryffindor Common Room, The Burrow, Malfoy Manor, Hogsmeade, The Hog’s Head, The Leaky Cauldron, The Three Broomsticks, the Room of Requirement in it’s many guises, and the Ministry of Magic to name but a few. Fantastic work throughout, and both Stuart and Stephanie are genuinely friendly and lovely people. I shall be more than a little disappointed if they don’t finally get the recognition that they deserve.

Posted by moglet [ITC!] on January 28, 2012, 10:03 AM report to moderator
10471 Points

You know, they deserve a lot more recognition than they get. They really bring the films to life (them and everybody who works on the films), I’m so glad they’re nominated! CONGRATS AND WISH YOU THE BEST OF LUCK! They should win. . . .

Posted by . on January 28, 2012, 04:00 PM report to moderator
467 Points

this is just amazing! They are really worth being recognized! And just looking back at Goblet of Fire, it made me realize that the details are just exquisite! Congrats to them!

Posted by lovelle on January 29, 2012, 06:40 AM report to moderator
5439 Points

Have the best of luck!

Posted by Fleur-de- Lily on January 30, 2012, 04:03 AM report to moderator
4138 Points

They need to win because they definately deserve it!

Posted by Calum Wilson (RuneDream54) on February 11, 2012, 05:20 PM report to moderator
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