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Tuesday, 10 June 2014 22:24

A Look Inside the Production Design for The Fault in Our Stars

Written by  Thea Green
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The craft of production designer can be one of the most meticulous and detail oriented jobs on set. The job often calls for recreating intricate details of a place the production designer has never visited in person. 

The recent novel-adapted-film, The Fault in Our Stars, brought a little bit of Amsterdam to Pittsburg for a pivotal scene that takes place inside of the Anne Frank house. Though the exteriors were shot on location at the real Anne Frank house in Amsterdam, the interior shots needed to built on a set in Pittsburg.

Amsterdam Canal HomesDirector Josh Boone (Stuck in Love) and Production Designer Molly Hughes (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, War Horse) were interviewed for Variety about the experience and how they managed to shoot this essential scene in the film while making it feel as real as possible.

At the beginning, Boone was unwavering in his attempts to shoot inside the house, even though no feature film had ever rolled camera inside. “We wrote so many letters,” Boone stated. “Phone calls were made. For us, there was no movie without it.”

The film’s crew was granted a mere two hours to shoot the house’s first floor entrance and outside entryway, which served as an opening to the scene, but the cameras weren’t allowed to ascend into the upstairs area of the house. The project was forced to bring the upstairs to life though recreation and construction under the vision of Hughes.

Hughes created three different sets in Pittsburg, each of which served as a floor of the house.  Without the opportunity to visit in person, Hughes relied on Tumblr, some sample placards, a patch of white wallpaper from one of the walls, and the help of a local architect who sent her handheld shots of the space. He was allowed one hour to shoot the upstairs of the house on a handheld camera.

This footage was particularly useful in designing the house’s details. “My art director Greg Weimerskirch and I watched it probably 100 times, pausing on details,” Hughes remembered. Once Hughes finally had the opportunity to visit the house and noticed that the intricacies they’d captured like the light switches and staircases, she realized just how much they’d gotten right. (Variety)

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