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Episode 35 · 1 year ago

SPIDER-MAN (2002) with Supervising Art Director Steve Arnold

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Parth and Trent discuss Spider-Man (2002) with its supervising art director, Steve Arnold. They also put one of their film school rivals on blast... 

Edited by Parth Marathe

So part. What have you been eating? Thanks for asking, Trent. I nice to see it. You're too sweet to me. Settle Down, all right, proceed. Okay, I had spaghetti and Eggplant Parmesan. I'm Dan, if you will. Yeah, I see. Yeah, our Italian accents tend to come out whenever, you know, Italian cuisine is discussed, but it's how it's it's how they talk. WHO prepared it? My Dad and my brother made it yesterday. So this was reheated, if you will, microwaved. Well, the the egg plant Parmesan, like, the Eggplant Parmesan part of it was microwaved and then we boiled some new spaghetti. A big problem I have in my life since I've started living alone is that whenever I live with my parents, if I was about to put something in the microwave, like, no matter what it was, I would ask them and for some reason, as people who've been on earth for fifty years, they knew exactly. And now that I'm out of my own, I have no idea how long to put these things in the microwave for. Like, yeah, some things are one minute and some things are like four minutes and some things are between. WHO's right? Like my parents. That's who. It's a scary world out there. So sometimes I call them on the phone and I'm like do you actually what do I do? Well, I still need to microwave food. My who else would I call? My landlord or like are you? I mean you could just make the trial and are out the Trino Chicago seven. Yeah, you could try out the Chicago seven your food. And that's a segue into the fact that we are a podcast. Part what have you been eating? Oh, thanks for asking, Trent. I just had some spaghetti and eggplant Parmesan Bym Jah no, if you will. So, Trent, what have you been eating? Thanks for popping the question. My cornerstone of attempted health and high school was, do you know, like the little like grenades of like naked smoothies? Sure, so, my parents gave me those year after year and they're just like don't look at the label and because that, like the word naked, was too much. No, no, as in, if I looked at the amount of like added sugar, I we oh, okay, we couldn't. We couldn't live in the facade that it was healthy. Yeah, you couldn't in good conscience say that you were, you know, eating healthy. Yeah, so drink I had. I had that. Well, I had one of those today because I you know, it's a hard habit to break. And I also had a rice cake with some peanut butter on it, because I guess if it's bland and it tastes like nothing, it must must be good for you. You know. Speaking of bland things, let's cut to something that's not blend at all. In fact, very cool, our program Q, The intro. That was good, right, sure, how about you bring us back in? All right, ready. Well, I feel like you never do. I never do. I want to hear your voice, Trent, please bring us back in. Welcome back to craft services, the PODCAST, our show where we talked about the movies. Each week, you know, we pick a film we like and we interview someone who worked on it. This part, I haven't know. You keep going, keep going, I'm keeping this all in. Spider Man Week is among us. Am I wrong? No, I would say you're very correct. So we interviewed the ART director, Steve Arnold. Who did you enjoy it? Part? I thought this...

...was a great interview. Yeah, we talked spider man, we talked fear and loathing. What else was discussed there. We talking Maltese Falcon. Yes, we did. He showed us his Multese Falcon replica off air, so we're sorry. You'll be able to see it in the eventual instagram post for when this episode gets uploaded. All right, but don't tell anyone. So we'll see. It's just between us, the humble viewers of the show. Speaking of which should we should we let the humble viewers listen to this interview were or should we just be like no, we'll keep it to ourselves? Steve Arnold, you know, spider man's art director is much smarter, much better, much cooler, much calmer, much more collected than us, and he his things are much more insightful. So let's go to him. You know, right, right, let's yeah, yeah, I think we should just you the interview. It's give it away to Steve. He deserves it. He worked on spider man, Goddamn it. Does that mean nothing to you? Part Hello and welcome to our interview with Steve Arnold. He's worked on many projects you have probably heard of, such as forrest Gump, unbreakable and mind hunter. He was also the supervising art director for our film today, Sam Ramy Spider Man, thank you so much for being here. Oh my pleasure. So we like to start our start off our interviews by just asking what got you introduced into the film world and how you got started in the industry. A little bit of a circuitous route. I was a design major for theater when I was in college, did scenery for theater productions and things like that, and when I was in Grad School I was back in Pittsburgh at Carnegie Mellon University and the head of the Design Department came to me one day and he said I'm doing this small movie. It's a television movie and since he was a professor he didn't have time to devote his entire day to it. He said, would you be my assistant and help me out on the on the little movie, and if you do this you I will give you credit, you don't have to come to class for this spring semester and on top of that, the company is going to pay you. And I said cool, I'll do it. And like a lot of things in Pittsburgh, it was a fairly small market of people who did film and television commercials and things like that, and so once I got on a crew list. Then I just started getting calls after that for small films, commercials, you know, variety of different things. I still was thinking I would ultimately go to New York and still stay in theater, but theater does not pay very well and it's a tough it's a tough, tough business and although I loved it, I really I just kind of stayed in in film and ended up getting some, you know, some pretty good sized projects, Mississippi burning being one of them, and then a few little things in Pittsburgh, and then I finally decided I'm going to end up in California, I might as well just go there and get it over with. So I got in my little car and drove to California and I've been doing ever since. We talked with Steven Tobalowski, who was in Mississippi burning, so that a nice little...

...connection. Yes, so when you got to California in your little car, what was your first major project you worked on there and what was your position? So I was lucky, I guess. I didn't know anybody really. I knew I had a few few names of people. I went for an interview and this was about six days after I arrived and I was told that, well, they don't really have a position for for anybody. That were just being polite talking to me, but they said talk to this other person, he's going to have he's got a job. And I started on general hospital at the very bottom of the ladder, just being a set designer there and I worked for six months until another Allen Parker movie came along and I never went back to, you know, daytime television, gladly. We were wondering, because you've worked in a in a few different as, a few different positions, if you could explain the difference between a production designer and art director and a set designer and just what the hierarchy of that yes, so, yeah, generally, in the old days, back when there was a studio system, the very bottom level in the art department was somebody who basically just ran blueprints and they would have a big room of set designers or kind of either architecturally trained people or people who had, you know, had a background and drafting and and so the blueprint person was just someone who ran blueprints for all of these set designers and they would learn from looking at the drawings and, you know, being around other people who were drafting things. So nowadays the the beginning level, or kind of the bottom, is a set designer. Really it's it's somebody who is able to do architectural drawings. Now it's mostly digital. People use various program sketchup and Rhino and Maya and autocad and all these different programs, and they're the ones who really do a lot of the design work. They're overseen by Assistant Art Directors and art directors, which are the next levels up. Some people come in as an assistant or even an art director and don't have the background as a set designer or a draftsman, but I always think it's really important to have that foundation in that skill because later on you're going to be asked to read drawings and to interface with the construction department and various other departments, and if you can't read a drawing, then you're you're kind of at a loss. So the next level ART director or assistant. There's some flexibility there is art directors normally supervised like all the people who are in the art department. They kind of run the art department. There's an art department coordinator, is kind of a secretarial type job. There are graphics people who get hired who do things for signage and book covers and record jackets and you know just all kinds of graphic work. And then our directors are people who really interface with all the other departments,...

...the construction department, the paint department, the picture vehicles, locations, sometimes special effects, just just all the different groups that are their costumes. But but then the production designer is really overseeing all of that. And when people ask me what I do as a production designer, my shorter answer is when you watch a film or a television series, everything that you see on the screen that is not a costume or an actor, I probably had something to do with choosing it, designing it or influencing it in some way. So we as a production designer, you will go with the director and you will scout locations, because not everything gets built. Sometimes you're in a situation where you can use existing locations and you we did House of cards. We use a lot of existing locations in and around Baltimore that doubled for Washington DC, very beautiful majestic buildings that would cost too much to duplicate from, you know, scratch. So you start out with doing a lot of location work. You kind of set the tone for the the feeling of the show, the kind of the emotional depth of the show, the Palette, whether it's dark and gloomy and or it's if it's a comedy, it's bright and cheerful, and you know you kind of control that part of it working with the director a lot of times, like with David Fincher, he has very, very specific ideas and he has a very specific kind of look and feel that he likes to use and a certain Palette that that pretend to use when I work with him. But you know, I supervise all the the people in the art department and I'm very hands on with construction because I have a background in that, and the painters. I was a scenic painter when I was in theater, so I do a lot of supervising of those craft people who do that. So for all three of those positions, like on set, after you've set the stage, show to speak, and everything is where it's supposed to be and you step back and the people start acting, what's like? What's your job to just start working on the next one, or is there are there any additional responsibilities, like what once the set is constructed, there are always things that come up, there are always changes, there are always, you know, additions. Can we can we change this? Can We? We've decided to rewrite this part. We're going to need a door here, we're going to need a you know, a basement that never was written into the script or something like that. I've been very lucky since I've been designing to have a wonderful onset dresser person who is part of the set decorating department, but he's there on the set as it's being shot and he's kind of my eyes and ears. And if somebody comes in, particularly in television you have multiple directors, a lot of times, you know, director will direct two episodes and then someone come with new will come in to do the...

...next two episodes, something like that, and he will text me or he'll email me and he'll say, well, the directors asking for a lamp over here, you know, or the DP might be. Can you direct me to what would be the appropriate one or, you know, do you want me to make that choice or whatever? So I've been really lucky to have somebody who is quite quite brilliant at at watching the the filming unfold and being able to make a contribution that helps the the look of the film or television. So, pivoting a little bit, we to get into the main topic of the day. We just want to ask how you end up getting involved with spider man to come too. So the designer, Niels Be Zach, was someone that I had done several other films with and he and I got along very well, and he called me he said I've got this show. I was on. I might have been unbreakable or something at the same at that point he said who, who do you want to come in early, because I couldn't come right then, and I recommended Tony Fanning, who was somebody that I had also worked with and and knew very well, to come in and kind of work in between the time when I was going to be starting and and then I finally was done with the other show and came along and we got started on that and you know, we did scouting in New York, because we did end up shooting a fair amount in New York, and, you know, starting to hire the crew, and that's another thing that the art director normally gets involved with. We might I might be able to be in a position to choose the construction coordinator and the painter and people like that, or sometimes the designer will do that. But as a supervising art director I was involved in some of that. So I read that Sam Remi like made a lot of his own storyboards for like all three of the movies. So did you, like, how were you able to like look at those or or use those for reference? And if so, how did it, how did it affect you? In truth, SAM hires about eight or nine storyboard artists and so and that's a lot of storyboard artists for for a show. But they would they would all work in a room with him and he's great with coming up with new ideas. Some of the storyboard artists also come up with ideas and and yes, we would go through we would have meetings where he would sit down with Neil and myself and special effects department and the Visual Effects Department and, you know, a lot of the other locations, people and picture cars and all of that. We would talk about a big car chase sequents or something else, and those are the kinds of things that really get stored story boarded very, very carefully because they're so complicated to shoot. S to get into a few specific scenes if you could talk about the sets and things like that. We'd like to start with the cage match, which is like his first, I guess. So I saw. Yes. So what was the construction? was that a set or was that...

...was just that was a set. It was all built on stage over its Sony and I think it might have been on stage twenty seven. I can't remember was this was twenty years ago, but it was all built. It was there was a lot of special engineering. The the bars in the cage had to be a certain softness and a certain flexibility so that they didn't, you know, like take somebody's front teeth out or, you know, do a real physical harm. But yeah, it was a big there was a lot of engineering that went into that where the all the pieces come together and they go up and down and all the rest of that. So a lot of special effects involvement there. And I'm trying to remember what we did for extras in the crowd there. Sometimes we use, in those days, before the a lot of the digital work. We would use inflatable people which you could get and you could put them in any costume you wanted and they would just be populated with a mixture of a real extras so that, you know, you didn't have to have thousands of people. You could just have, you know, a couple hundred people and make it seem like it was full. So the next one we were curious about, speaking of scenes that may have been shot in New York, the upside down kiss and what it and I'm sure you had to like work with a lot of rain machines on that and what that was all about. Yes, that was shot. I believe that was shot on the backlot at Warner brothers and and yes, there was. There was a lot of issues with the upside upside down rain getting in their noses, in their face, in their mouths, in there whatever. But but yeah, that was that was on a backlot. I was listening to the director's commentary and apparently it was actually toby McGuire and that they made some sort of mechanism for him to quickly like go off screen down the alley and then he was actually the person who's upside down. And I would have I would have always thought that it would have been either a cut or an extra, but it was a continue with him. Yeah, it was him. Yeah, one of my favorite sets in the movie is Jay Jonah Jamison's office or like the whole of the daily Bugle. Yes, because I think it's just it's like wonderfully like comic bookie type feel to it. And Yeah, I was wondering if was what the process was on building that. So we originally had planned on building that on stage. That was a previous script that had the green Goblin crashing through one of the windows and flying around the daily bugle offices and all the rest of that, and we literally started building it and it was based on the flat iron building in New York, big triangular building that was one of the early skyscrapers way back in the I don't know, teens or s or something. It's the continental in the John Wick movies. It's been in a lot of movies. It's been a lot of movies. If you should happen upon my facebook page, you will see me standing on the top edge of the flat iron building and we were up there taking photographs for some big backings, some big translates that we were shooting and Richard London and I were had climbed up a ladder from the top floor up...

...onto that roof and literally I'm standing right on the edge of it and it's a very, very, very windy little corner right there. Somehow it just the wind comes through there. And that was the wintertime, so I'm all like totally bundled up and everything. But ultimately, or to get back to your question, they decided to not build it on stage and we ended up using a building downtown in Los Angeles, the Pacific Electric Building, which was kind of a very popular location. We did a bunch of face off inside there. It was used for many, many, many films. It had great old interior corridors and you know, when you were doing a police station or a office, old Sam spade kind of thing, that's where you would go. And it has these big curved radius windows up at the top. And so when we ended up doing the Bugle, we built it into that existing space downtown and we had to do quite a bit of work because it was an older building that had just been used for filming for many, many years. It's been turned into loft condos now, but it was I remember the ceiling was falling apart and we had to do a lot of retro fitting to bring it up to when the Green Goblin like Keyli burst in and the wall sort of explodes. How did you did you explode that? You like break the real wall, or did you go know, we had fake we had fake walls and a lot of that was, you know, sort of piece together after the fact. Yeah, so with some of the fully animated sequences, whether it be just like some of the various montages or like the opening or spider man just swinging through the city, did do you play any role in that or is that like all visual effects? If there aren't tactile like constance of it's probably mostly visual effects. I think when we were in the high school cafeteria and there were some shooting of webs and things like that, as I recall, there were some some special effect things, some practical things that were rigged to fly around and to get snapped and things like that. But generally, if it would have been something that the our department was involved with, then maybe Neil, as a designer, might have you know, they might have come to him and said, you know, we need we need something to do this or move or whatever, but I can't recall right now anything specifically that that. All that stuff with the the stuff in time square where the balcony collapses and all of that. That was all built in with hydraulics and a lot of a lot of real engineered elements and and planned and practiced and all of that. Yeah, like Trent, I also listened to the commentary track beforehand and with like Sam Raymi, and he talked a lot about how lots of New York is sort of stitch together with like fake elements, like that balcony doesn't exist, but it has to look like it's part of Time Square. And we were wondering, especially around two thousand and two there's like a big vfx boom, and so we were wondering, like, when you have to get all these elements together, does that make your job more difficult, when you have to coordinate with like fake backgrounds and...

...and different things shot at different places, like the time square thing or the ending battle on the bridge? I don't know that it makes it more difficult. I mean it requires a lot of planning. So shooting, we had originally planned on shooting quite a bit in Time Square. Shooting in Time Square is really, really hard and twenty years ago it was it was still hard. It's so busy, there's so many people. It's so hard to control everything. So we ended up building a mockup of time square in full size in this giant parking lot down in Downey where a lot of other films work, because it's just this nice big flat empty space, and we built the bottom story of basically all the shops and all the buildings around time square, and then the top of all that was extended with visual effects and we could make time square the way we wanted it to be to match, as you said, the the big hotel with the balcony and things like that. That was, you know, something that we could then manipulate and make it our own, basically. So I think the bridge fight, I'm just curious about how that was if that was primarily green screen, if you guys were actually on the top of a bridge at any point. That was primarily green screen. We built a portion of the bridge on stage, like the elements of the structure of it, and and then it was all green screen, primarily. Trent, do you want to move on to David Fincher? Yeah, I think it's proximately fincher o'clock. Yeah, pop the question. Wonderful. So thank you for talking about Spider Man, but you've worked with a few of our favorite directors, one of them being David Fincher, you mentioned previously and we were wondering you. On Your IMDB it says you started working with him for reshoots for grow with the Dragon Tattoo, and then you worked on house of cards and mind hunter and we were wondering, what's it like working with the man and how did that relationship evolve? It's very interesting. I I had got a call that they needed somebody to come over and help out and I was I had started designing at that point but I didn't have a job designing anything and so I said, okay, I'll come over and art direct and they said, Oh yeah, I knew I knew the other art director there and they were doing quite a bit. It was a fairly extensive reshoot. They really rebuilt the little house, the little cabin where they hide out, and you know, the the the dock with the boat and the hillside and they built a lot of stuff and but it was a it was a an eye opening experience to get thrown into the middle and they don burt, who was the production designer who works with David primarily with films that he does. He took me aside one day and he said, David wants you...

...to see if you can come up with a scenario for this whole evidence wall that is in the you know, the little house. And they tried it a couple of different ways and shot things that he, David, didn't feel were very successful. And so I put together a couple of version and a couple of three different options. And and then, and I'd only been there like two or three days, and and then Don Burt said, well, I'm going to have you go in by yourself with David. Is that all right? Will you be okay if I'm not there? And I thought about it for a second and I was like yeah, I guess, I guess I'll figure it out. And and then I went in and I showed him three things. He picked one of them and and then not too much later down bird pulled me aside and he said, David really likes you. That's high praise from the man himself. And and so, you know, we hit it off. We're both super perfectionist type people, I mean meticulous to a fault, and I totally get I totally get him and I love working with him. Because, I mean he makes you he makes you better, he makes you do your best and you know he's he's tough. He's is a tough guy, but he knows everything about everybody's job. He knows everybody's job better than they do and there is nothing, there's nothing about technology or cameras that he does not know. He's on the cutting edge of all of that. Lenses and he was a photographer years ago and you can see it in his work. Every frame on a film is a use a photograph really, you know, and there's nothing left to chance. Nothing is on the set the shouldn't be there. There's a reason for it. It's got it's got some logic involved and I love I love working with him. He's he's the best and I've worked I've worked with many. I'm a huge mind hunter fan and I just wanted to ask, because obviously that's a show that's sort of set in the past, how much of your production design on that was influenced by the real life like FBI offices and jail cells, and how much of that was sort of artistic and creative freedom, or what was the push and pull with that? So we were fortunate enough the series, Mine Hunter is based on the book by Douglass, John Douglass, and he's a still very I guess he's still alive. He's quite old, but he was when we when we started the show, and he was a he's part of he's part of the show, like a producer, executive producer, something like that. And because he's so well liked, we were able to go to Quantico David, myself, Don burt came with us because he was kind of transitioning along with us, and Jos Donnan and all the producer types and they gave us like a backstage tour of Quantic Co. We got to go places where...

...you would never get to go and we went in the classrooms and we went all went through all of that and I'll have to say we copied most of all of that FBI stuff as closely as we could possibly. I'm a stickler for period things and because I'm an old guy, I kind of know all that stuff. I was alive during it, I went through it, I was there, survived. So yes, so so that was, you know, something that we could really, you know, focus in on the reality of it all. But many, many times and and going into the show. David had said he didn't want to do. He said this is you know, s this is the period. He didn't want to do boogie nights. HMM, you didn't want to do this over the top, over in the s you know. So we're going to do every s cliche that you ever seen. He wanted it to be the real s sort of the mundane, every day these people are not special. They don't you know, they don't have like the top of the line, sorry, you know, furniture and all the you know stuff. It had. It had to be real and have a reality about it. So and shooting in a place like Pittsburgh, which has many, many small towns around and things like that that are caught in in the past. So it was very, very easy to come up with a lot of the props and the furniture and vehicles and all that stuff is there. So for Dragon Tattoo and night of the museum, you did exclusively reshoots and we were wondering, outside of proximity, outside of you know length, where there any are there any major difference when you compare reshoots to like the main production? Not a whole there's not a whole lot of difference. But reshoots many times you're kind of you already know either what went wrong, so you are correcting something that you know you're trying to fix, or you know you've been in the project for a while and you you have the depth of understanding that it's not just picking up the script for the first time. Many times there's changes. I'm working right now on some reshoots for a series I did up in Vancouver and they had a sequence that they thought I think they felt at the time it was too expensive or to elaborate or too complicated, and so they went another way when they finished the series. And now Netflix has decided, you know, that idea that you originally had, let's see what that how that works. So we're going back to, you know, kind of square one again and I'm designing a bunch of things that I had originally designed, but we're kind of thrown away because we decided that they couldn't afford it, didn't want to or whatever. So so,...

...yeah, do you have a little more insight maybe in reshoots? So moving along to another movie that you've worked on, you were an assistant art director on forrest gump and we were wondering how had you get involved with that. What was that like and you know anything you could say on that? Yeah, that was a fantastic experience. We I had worked with the ART director. We had done Leslie McDonald was the art director and and we had done together a couple of other films with Dennis Gassner, the designer who's been doing a lot of the bond films lately, and so so she knew me and she brought me along and I had a fantastic time the the gump house. We designed and built that because we looked and looked and looked at various locations around in the south and never found something that was quite right. And you know the whole the whole business with run, forest run. So one of the reasons that we picked the location where we built that house was the driveway with the big trees. There are these big old oak trees and their Spanish Moss in them and the beautiful and so that particular location was a very large, I think it was threezero acres, piece of land that had been a plantation at one point and we ended up shooting not only the house there but the Jenny's farm, which we was a little it was actually a true slave shack and that was on the property that we moved into the middle of the field and then we planted. We planted the crops, we planted the tobacco, the cotton, we planted all that at from seed and I was there with the agriculture agent or whatever it was, and we we I was there to supervise. And also a couple of other locations were on that same piece of property. A lot of the Vietnam stuff was there, and also the large tree that as children they play under the tree and then in the end Jenny gets buried under the tree. That was on the land, and so I was kind of in charge of that whole world of forests house and Jenny's farm and all of that, and I went there every day for like four or five months where while we built that house. That house was finished inside and out. It was air conditioned, insulated, it had real brick fireplaces and originally they had thought they would shoot some of that on stage, the upstairs part, or Sally Field Dies and you know, Jenny dies, all that, and then Bob Zamechas was like, even though we built it all on stage, is like, you know, we really want to see out the window. Let's just finish the inside of the upstairs of the House that we built on location. So and one interesting note, it's a small note. There were two big magnolia trees on either side of an empty split space...

...right by the river where there had been a house and I don't know if it burned during the civil war or what, but their house was no longer there and we one out one day with the director and we had some story poles and we had some elements that we could hold up and kind of move around and decide where we were going to put the house when we built it. And we finally decided on, okay, this is where we like it. It is overlooking the river, it's this far from the road, it's all of that. And months later we had built the whole house and I had hired a mason, a brick mason, to come in and do some the stairs in the fireplace and things like that. And we start digging down in front of the porch and we dig into the dirt and we find the bricks from the original stare from the House that had been there. I don't know, hundred hundred years before or how many years before it was quite amazing that it was exactly the same spot. So so for for a scump like you just described, was your entire responsibility. Like you never left the farm, because I'm sure that the production like it had a bunch of other locations, but it is that a thing where it's sometimes your role is just to stay in one spot and focus on the on the crops growing and stuff. Yes, and that particular location was quite a ways away. It was at least was close to an hour away from Beaufort, which is where we were all living in our offices were, and we had a couple of other assistant art directors, one Guy Jim Fang, who did the jungle Vietnam part, which was on Frip island and a couple of other areas down in there, and then Tony did the savannah part, which was basically the park bench, and you know things like that. So the next movie I wanted to ask you about was fear and loathing in Las Vegas and we are wondering if you had any relationship with the book prior or if you use the Ralph steadman illustrations for influence and anything you could say. That's a very interesting project. I didn't start that project. There was another art director, but you feel let it who left the WHO left the project, and Alex McDowell I was. I was friends with Nancy Hay, who's the decorator on that show, and she told Alex that she that he needed to hire me, and so I got called on like a Friday, I think it was, and I met Alex and he said we're going to Las Vegas. I fly out there on Sunday. I The teamster picks me up at the airport with my suitcase. He drives me to downtown Las Vegas and I'm dropped off with my suitcase on the sidewalk and I'm introduced to Terry Gilliam. Wow, and Terry says, Oh, I'm so glad you're here. Here's what I need, and he gave me this whole list of things and I ran around and, you know, got things going. It was it was one of those projects that was fraught with a lot of I don't know if you are familiar with lost in La Mancha, the doc about another Terry Gillian Film. That is is just classic. There's a lot of chaos and a lot of things go wrong. Is that the Don Quixote yes, you matter. And if you've never seen it, they screened it at LACMA years ago and Terry was there and he...

...had lost control of the film and he was trying to get the rights back and he was pleading with anybody to try to help him get it back. But yeah, that's a if you've never seen it, it's a it's a classic. What can go wrong with the project? So another picture you've worked on. That's one of my Dad's favorites move my Dad's one of my dad's favorite movies is get shorty and and yeah, any berry son and fell stories would be welcome. Any anything about it? Really a very, very interesting note on that. So I had worked with a decorator in Chicago. It was a new New York decorator who knew the designer and the designer was a New Yorker and and had never had not really worked in California and needed an art director and so Leslie suggested that Peter Call me and we hit it off. He was an oldtime theater designer and but just a strange little note about that was Barry Sonenfeld was one of a long list of possible directors for forrest gump. Really believe it or don't. And somewhere along the line he was, I'm just is a you know, Apocryphal store. I don't know if this is true, but he was like at an airport gift shop and picked up a book get shorty, and he read it and he's like this is the movie I want to make and somehow he left the project and and instead of doing for his gump, he did get shorty several years later and fortunately Za meticas did forrest gump, because I guess we got two great movies out of it. He was he was the right guy for it. Yeah, so you were uncredited as a set designer on waynes world too, and we were wondering what that was all about. And I'll also I watched a video about all the the the the waynes world production designer talking about all the wacky gadgets they had to make for that movie. So it seems like it would be a very zany set to design for. So again, we all know each other in the business kind of. That's kind of a small circle of people. I was very good friends with the art director on that show and I was waiting. I'm trying to go back and think now because I don't have my chronology probably exactly right, but I was waiting for it might have been forrest gump, it might have been hot sucker proxy. I think it was forrest camp. I knew I was going to get this job but it wasn't going to start for like two months or something, and so when rich toy on called me, he said would you come and draw for a while, I went in and was a draftsman on Wayne's world and I think I drew this huge sort of warehouse kind of set. That's that's about all I...

...re I remember, because I was never there when they were shooting. I left long before it was even built. I think I just came in, worked for, you know, a few weeks or maybe month and a half or something like that, and finish the set and then went on to do the next film. That happens sometimes. So you worked again another one of my favorite tractors, Steven Soderberg. You worked on Celaris. Yes, and yeah, any stories from that would be an amazing, an amazing project. You know, Stephen is is so involved because he really does operate the camera. I mean he really is the guy who shoots the film, and so I was. I'd come off of another project and I knew again. I knew the art director and he's that we need another art director and I knew the designer fill. So I went in and because it was all futuristic, it was all space related, I think we ended up getting a lot more money from the initial budget then you would ordinarily get on a movie that size, because we built an amazing number of futuristic sets for that and I think they turned out looking beautifully. So yeah, it was. It was very construction intensive. Can you just, out of curiosity, like Steven Soderbergh's like process on set, as you like? A lot of takes, gies you, a few take sky somewhere in between. You know, I was not on the set as much as sometimes I am, and it seems like as I have gone I've gotten higher and higher in the hierarchy. Sometimes I end up spending less time on sets, particularly when I'm doing television series and things like that, because you're always trying to jump ahead to the next you know, the next episodes or whatever. But no, I don't think he's like fincher where he does many, many takes, but I think he knows what he wants and you know a lot of times it's it's up to the actors, you know, and he had very good actors, so you don't necessarily need a lot of takes. I was just going to ask just because you brought up fincher, because he's kind of such a perfectionist and, like you said, you are as well when you're on set. Does that like, spending all that time? Do you start like on set changing things? I mean, I guess you just said that you spend less time on set, but just wondering. I I watch. I watch it all very, very carefully and, as I said, I was very lucky to have this onset dresser, Nikolai Leveckas, who would be my eyes and you know, visually, you know, steer the ship, but but I still am the guy who will walk on and I will see that little thing that you're I'm always shocked and amazed that the camera guy didn't see it, the director didn't see it. This is with fincher. Fincher sees everything, but you know, most other people I'm like, what's that? What's that little thing sticking out over there that shouldn't be there? Or why is that picture crooked or why...

...didn't they turn the lampshade around so that we're just not seeing this big dark scene? You know, I just am I'm a very visual person and I'm always it's sort of drives people crazy a little bit, but it's what I do. So this is sort of a general question, but let's say your tasked with like decorating a living room. So our is there like a massive prop house that you're going to walk into and say I want that, that and that, or are you going to like go out to like paunt, go out to like antique stores and try to find a specific lamp, or are you just write down on a piece paper like I want a red lamp, someone else go find one. So what we didn't talk about and what is a very, very important part of the art department is the set decorating department. So set decorators are more than like interior designers. They are people who handle all the the elements that maybe are not construction usually, you know, all the furniture, all the drapery, all the carpet, all the small things, the chatchkeys, the lamps, the lighting, the all of that kind of stuff. They are tasked with finding all of that and they normally have buyers that work with them and they provides a crew of people who come in and set everything up. Sometimes, if you're doing the White House, the Oval Office or something like that, maybe those things are out there to rent. You know the bust of Lincoln and you know that. You know all of these kind of foe remington sculptures and historical elements that are in a place like that. But a lot of times you have to find things. As I said, in Pittsburgh it was kind of a really great place to find stuff from the s, to find that great furniture or that fantastic lamp or or an old cigarette machine or a you know, jute box or something like that. That stuff was was very easily gettable there. And normally how it works is the decorator will bring photographs to me and we'll discuss, you know, the general vibe or the feel that a particular set should have. Are they you know, blue collars? It very sophisticated, whatever? Normally that's a parent in the script and then they'll bring me photographs or send me photographs of this is a couch or several sofas that I like. Here's a couple of chairs that go with that. This is the draper fabric I like. Do you think this is a right color scheme? They'll go back and forth and, you know, we work together on it some some of them are much more independent and have a very strong idea themselves. Other Times I'll be, you know, more involved and say this is exactly what I want. Can you find me some more of these hanging fixtures that look like this? You know, that's great. So I guess we'll just ask about one more movie and then, Trent, you want to ask the the question. Indeed. So last movie we want to talk about is face off, directed by John Woo. What was that like? So that was that was a lot of fun. It was the first time I had worked with nils be ZAC, who was the designer on that. We had both graduated from the same university and so we knew some people in common. And you know,...

I had come. I was just finishing of a film in Toronto, the Long Kiss Good Night Randy Al Renny Harlan and Gina Davis and Sam Rami, or Samuel Al Jackson, I mean and and I got a call. Can you come to California? I'm doing this big this big John Wull movie, and so I came down and and yeah, that was that was a fun one. You know, we did this whole big prison thing and we got to go to an oil platform off the coast just up the up the bay here and again the building that I was talking about downtown that we used to use it for shooting a lot, the Pacific Electric Building. We built that whole sort of Panhouse, fancy big apartment interior thing there and we John Wu a lot of shootouts, a lot of big awesome action, elaborate stuff. You know. Actually want to ask the big so the Kahuna, so the big COHUNA, as part is built up, is what's the last great film you've watched? And it could be a first viewing or Rewatch, but something that really hit home. It can also be TV last great film I've watched. I'm an old film buff. Sure, I really like you know, I've I don't know how many lot times I've watched the Maltese Falcon, you know, or or Casa Blanca or any of that old stuff. I still I still enjoy it. There's a there's sort of a gem out there that I hadn't seen in a long time, but I think it's really, really interesting and a great film, and that's to kill a mocking bird. HMM. Wow. Yeah, Classic, classic movie. You know, it's a classic old Oldie, but a goodie, but gregory pack and those kids. It's just it's just a really it's got some message movie. It's black and white. It's right at the point when they stopped kind of making black and white movies and started making more like what we have today. But that and I had I hadn't seen this king to do too here, just please, because I hadn't seen this in a long, long time, and a friend of mine, younger person, who had never seen it, and I said, you have to see this movie. Chinatown. Yeah, Roman Polansky, it's it's a classic. It's just Robert Town. I it's considered like one of the one of the few perfect movies like up there with back to the future and stuff, just in terms of like plot efficiency. Yeah, Yep, and it looks great. It's, you know, it's well designed. And Yeah, and and just if you're not aware, David fincher is working on and I believe it's with Robert Town, Hey, prequel to child town. Oh, Oh, he, oh my God, this is quite quite an announcement to make. Well, it's I'm not announcing it because it's...

...out there. It's yeah, it's yeah, you can, you can find info on it, but he's seen been in the works for a little while and it's something that's, you know, looking forward to see what happens with it. Well, yeah, I think that sounds like a logical conclusion. Thank you so much, Steve Arnolds, for coming on. Yeah, very well, he's worked on, you know, spider man and unbreakable and forrest gump and fear and loathing and a bunch of other stuff you've heard of. Thanks so much. We appreciate your time. My pleasure. Thanks, guys, Trent parth. was that a good interview, one of one of the best, dare I say? Yeah, I think. I think two thousand and twenty one. We've been we've been getting some pretty cool people. Is this season two, officially, I guess. How do you measure seasons on a podcast? I kind of considered the end of season one to be, you know, the the start of of the new calendar year. Okay, that's fair, but, as I'm sure our our listeners may have noticed, the the start of the year was a very female guest dominated, which was very it was because during the the the the origins of the show, we were there was accidentally too many men and there in a row and we were like many white man taken control, much like this podcast. We were like, ironically, this is very reflective of the film industry, but we're glad we could change it up. But speaking, Steve Arnold is a white guy and that's great. So are some of us on this podcast. Well, part of what when a tease out what comes next? Did we interview someone recently, someone who wrote a movie? We I think we should keep the surprise of which movie and which writer, but let's just say it might star somebody who you might see on a weekend. Update. Oh Up, I see what you did. There are saying it's the first screenwriter. Guess we've fund in the show. So, beside all the jokes, we're at pretty excited. Yeah, so are we? What are we doing next week? Oh, next week we're discussing SAM remies, two thousand and two spider man with our friend and film school rival, Alex. friend is a strong word. Okay, yeah, do you want to insult Alex on Mike now, or do you want to save it for next week. I'll give one insult. Are you ready? Yeah, he's so smelly. Actually, let me give to sure Alex Lane, more like Alex Lame. Do you think Alex listens to the show? Definitely not. Definitely not, and neither should not. I should you. Neither should you. That's why we're canceling the PODCAST. Remember the interview? We just said that we had it. We're just gonna dump it in the in the digital archives, never to be seen again. Sorry, guys, we would have liked for you to have seen it or heard it. I guess I'm I hate to cancel the show during spider man week, but guy, I guess that's not happening. Bummer. Sorry, Alex Labe.

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