The 86th Academy Awards
Congratulations to Set Decorator Beverley Dunn SDSA and Production Designer/Producer Catherine Martin on their Academy Award for Outstanding Production Design for the film THE GREAT GATSBY!
For full list of Art Direction Oscar® Nominees click here.
THE GREAT GATSBY
Set Decorator Beverley Dunn SDSA
Production Designer Catherine Martin
"What was amazing to me was the storytelling in the sets. I would notice certain elements that were incorporated into the set, and everything felt so authentic, it made it easy to believe it was real…” …reveals actor Tobey Maguire, who plays key figure Nick Carraway in Baz Luhrmann’s cinematic retelling of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel THE GREAT GATSBY. The compelling visual representation was a collaboration between Lurhmann, his producer wife Production Designer Catherine Martin and Set Decorator Beverley Dunn SDSA.
This Jazz Age cocktail takes us from the hot, gritty, bustling streets of NYC…to the lusciousness of Long Island, the playground of the rich…and into the Valley of Ashes, the dusty wasteland in between.
Carraway is drawn into the captivating world of the super rich, renting an island summer cottage, which is dwarfed by the colossal mansion next door owned by the mysterious Jay Gatsby [Leonardo DiCaprio].
Across the bay is the summer home of the Buchanans, Carraway’s cousin Daisy [Carey Mulligan] and her husband Tom [Joel Edgerton]. The two sides of the bay represent the line between old money and the new. Luhrmann notes, “East Egg was a community of the highborn, of the truly moneyed, of those who would inherit the earth…West Eggers were considered a kind of riffraff…new-moneyed folks who suddenly have all this cash. And that clash between the two worlds is powerful and alive throughout the whole story.”
“The ephemeral fantasia that is Gatsby’s,” describes Martin, is the ultimate representation of new money. The Buchanan estate symbolizes the ancestral wealth of many generations. Martin designed and Dunn decorated the grand manor as an example of the American aristocracy, showcasing a family of unbelievable wealth.
Cary Mulligan shares, “The Buchanan house was my favorite set…You get sucked into the world so easily…it sort of does half the work for you.”
Other sets include a suite at The Plaza Hotel on a sweltering day, and the industrial wasteland that has to be transversed to get there, complete with a filling station & garage, abandoned equipment and a disused train yard, all overseen by a gigantic billboard with the ever-watchful eyes of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg, Oculist. There is also a prominent speakeasy representing the seedy back story of the prohibition era, Daisy’s early family home in the South, and Nick’s psychoanalyst’s office and asylum.
The quiet and simplicity of Nick’s bungalow cottage nestled in a tree-filled garden hugely contrasts with the extravaganzas and wild parties that go on next door, but all are equally given importance of detail, whether spectacle or a small corner. And all heavily researched...
Martin points out, “We were blessed because the photographic image and filmmaking were extremely prevalent in the ‘20s. The time was captured in illustrations and drawings…also extensive photo archives. It’s very exciting because you see the birth of our modern contemporary culture.”
Photos, from top:
Gatsby Mansion, exterior…One of the many extravaganzas Gatsby hosted throughout the summer of 1922…
Gatsby Mansion, foyer…Jay Gatsby [Leonardo DiCaprio]…
The Buchanan Estate, Terrace Drawing Room…The life of the blue bloods…
Jordan Baker [Elizabeth Debicki], Tom Buchanan [Joel Edgerton], his wife Daisy [Carey Mulligan] and her cousin Nick Carraway [Tobey Maguire]…
Suite at The Plaza Hotel, NY…Torpid, smoldering summer day high above the bustle and clamor of the city, yet the heat pervades…
[Tobey Maguire, Joel Edgerton, Carey Mulligan, Leonardo DiCaprio, Elizabeth Debicki]
Photos courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures ©2013 Bazmark Film. Foyer photo by Matt Hart ©2013 Bazmark Film. All Rights Reserved.