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