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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Ceci N'est Pas Cinéma Vérité...

Magritte's Ceci N'est Pas Cinéma vérité

Below the Line: The Design of ‘Anna Karenina’
By Mekado Murphy January 30, 2013 12:39 pm
In his film adaptation of “Anna Karenina,” the director Joe Wright tried to capture the emotional journeys of its characters while conveying the epic scope of their surroundings. But instead of an elaborate (and budget unfriendly) shoot in the Russian locations where the story takes place, he opted to set the movie in a derelict theater, to give the feel of decaying 19th-century Russian society.

Mr. Wright worked with his longtime co-conspirators, the production designer Sarah Greenwood and the set decorator Katie Spencer. The two, designers for all of Mr. Wright’s films, were previously nominated for three Academy Awards, for “Pride and Prejudice” and “Atonement” (both directed by Mr. Wright) and “Sherlock Holmes” (by Guy Ritchie). They now add a fourth nomination, for their work on “Anna Karenina.” They have worked on more than a dozen film and television projects together and spoke about the collaboration by phone from Leavesden Studios in London, where they are designing a new Tarzan film.

“The nice thing is, because we have worked together so long, it does become like second nature,” Ms. Spencer said. “We have an understanding and both have similar visual tastes.”

They both also got their initial training in theater, so Mr. Wright’s concept for this adaptation suited them. The theater where the bulk of the film’s action takes place was built in 12 weeks on a soundstage at Shepperton Studios, outside London. Here is a look at some of the designs and sets from “Anna Karenina,” with commentary by Ms. Greenwood and Ms. Spencer.

The Moscow Burger King

The story involves a number of late night stops at a number of fast food places between Moscow and St. Petersburg. Given the theatrical setting, the designers wondered how they would create a sequence with eateries inside the theater.

“It suddenly came to me one evening,” Ms. Greenwood said, “that you don’t try to take the "burgers" into the theater. You take the theater into the 'Burger King' ”  So the team built a small version of the Teatralnyaya Square Burger King  “We then dressed the shed to look like the Bolshoi nearby. It was great because it gave us a kind of epic quality while still remaining theatrical.”

The St. Petersburg Pizza Hut


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