Friday, February 29, 2008
Speaking of E's House
Having made mention of E's house, I should show some examples..
We did alot of work on E and her environment very early on. The character was still being designed and the story was still being developed. The material was very rich and everyone loved the concept - this designer of all the costumes and accessories for the 'supers', with exquisite taste and laser-beam vision- so we probably spent more time on it than we should have. We didn't know how much would be portrayed - she might be seen making the costumes, so we did a ton of work designing the stations in the lab; cutting boards and gigantic atomic powered sewing machines and turbo kinetic weaving looms and God knows what. Then Brad started talking about a kind of 'test chamber' that would be 'like when you're at the car wash' that E and Helen would see the costumes being put through their paces. After a few rounds of that, the story guys went to work and alot of the final design was dictated by the boards.
At the same time we did the exterior and interior of her living portions of the house. At first the drawings were parrotting Prairie Style and Bauhaus ideas, and looking at alot of Neutra and Schindler mid century modern structures. After a couple of weeks of that, someone made the suggestion, i don't remember who, but somewhere between Brad, Teddy Newton , Lou Romano and myself, that E would be inspired by classical mythology and that the house should incorporate bits of Ancient Greek art, the Greeks being considered the peak of western culture. That gave us a direction and even better, a metaphor. It ended up in her dialogue ('I used to design for GODS') The first drawings were a bit crude in concept, but Lou provided more refined ideas ( this whole process was spread out over a year), especially in taking it to the Modern look.
As for the final exterior, it was a quick marker rendering bashed out during a working lunch, just before the meeting to decide the thing. Bam, approved. As it turned out, that's all you see of it in the final shot. So all the work and worry of the preceding months didn't matter. That's the process.
The 'hall of mannequins' was originally going to be just posters or photos on the wall (imagine if Richard Avedon had done a series of portraits of superheroes) but eventually became the niches with mannequins and the 'best of' display. E wouldn't have them on display upstairs, because she's supposed to be retired along with the supers, but she's justifiably proud of her own work, so the display became an antechamber/hallway on the way to the lab.