Color and miniatures define the look of ‘French Dispatch’


It’s no wonder that “every inch” of Wes Anderson’s film production design is examined and discussed. The bespoke world behind his film is beautifully detailed with rich artistry that immerses the audience in the characters, relationships and stories that appear on the screen.

Adam Stockhausen has made several films, including winning an Academy Award at the Grand Budapest Hotel with set decorator Anna Pinnock, and it’s no wonder to collaborate with Autur. In The French Dispatch, the production designer was tasked with curating the visual style of four duel magazine articles written in France. This graces the final page of The French Dispatch, an insert of Liberty, Kansas Evening Sun.

“Reading the script tells us how ambitious it is and how many places and sets we visit. All the explanations are on the page, so I’ll blow a little hair off the details,” Stockhausen said. Talk to the envelope over the phone while filming the next project, “Asteroid City.”

The film features an ensemble cast that includes Bill Murray, Benicio Del Toro, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, Owen Wilson, Jeffrey Wright, and Timothée Chalamet. Each of the four chapters presents a clear palette of colors, moods and contrasts to bring them to life. The “Masterpiece of Concrete” reveals a stylized imprisoned artist on a milky black-and-white background. The “Revision to Manifest” follows the student uprising, mixing subdued pastel and monochromatic tones. The “Police Secretary’s Private Dining Room” is a cheeky crime thriller that evokes French New Wave filmmaking. And “The Cycling Reporter” roams the city vividly on its past and present tours.

In the Tilda Swinton airplane scene, part of the main cabin is used as a practical set, and the rest are miniatures.

(Searchlight Pictures)

Someone is working on a miniature plane for a movie "French dispatch."

Miniature planes are available for the “French Dispatch”.

(Searchlight Pictures)

Design clues are inspired by reference materials such as Albert Lamorisse’s 1956 short film The Red Balloon, Orson Welles’ Referee, Jean-Luc Godard, Jacques Tati, and Genre Noir, which added color to postwar Paris. Got A huge collection of French photographs dating back to the mid-1800s to assist in the decoration of the set, led by Lena D’Angelo.

Production settled in Angouleme, southwestern France, replacing the fictional city of Ennui-sur-Blasé in the film. This decision allowed the team to transform the former felt factory into a sound stage, connecting many places together for its visuals. make up. “When we start thinking about this town and how it looks, you think about hundreds of details — roads, arches, stairs, gutter twists — it’s the big picture of where hundreds of little things start to add together. “” Stockhausen says. “From there, we can understand how individual stories live in the place.”

It took about 130 different sets to accomplish the feat. All of them were carefully designed to match the accuracy of the frame, as the scenes were shot in different aspect ratios. Using an animatic process, we were able to shoot storyboards to imitate the upcoming film and map each story to a real story. For the prison chapter (with Deltoro), Stockhausen created a set in the shell of an empty building. The front door has a cell block, and the upper part was used for an art show where Adrien Brody’s character and his wealthy companions bid on prisoner’s work. The basement combined a laundry room with a separate arrival area, and individual cells were built offsite and matched for continuity.

In the movie scene, a group of people are sitting together in the office  "French dispatch."

Elizabeth Moss, from left to right, Owen Wilson, Tilda Swinton, Fisher Stevens, and Griffin Dunne sit in the editorial department of the movie The French Dispatch.

(Searchlight Pictures)

Two actors are standing in front of the bulletin board.

The French Dispatch Editorial Office was a combination of designs to showcase buildings that have had many uses for decades. In one way, “I have this kind of pegboard partition, and then rotate it in the opposite direction, it becomes a floor-to-ceiling file box,” says production designer Adam Stockhausen.

(Searchlight Pictures)

Anderson’s other distinctive style, miniatures, was scattered throughout the tapestry. Prop maker Simon Weiss, who teamed up with Stockhausen at the Grand Budapest Hotel and the Isle of Dogs, designs them from sketches that combine small realistic props with a full-sized set. The most notable of these is the miniature at the top of the French Dispatch Building, a scene of a Swinton plane with a full-scale store below, part of the main cabin practical and the rest miniature. is.

The film will not be shown in certain post-war European eras, but the set was decorated by De Angelo from works found in flea markets and real estate sales from Paris to Angoulême that fit the narrative framework. .. “We mixed a lot of things. Some of them were from the 1920s, 30s, and even the 1960s, but some of Jeffrey Wright’s story may be looking back from the 1970s.” Said Stockhausen.

Color proved to be a motivational factor, as the muted yellow covered the walls of the Hodge Pod Space to organize the newsroom, especially the office where Murray is the editor-in-chief. The shades are plotted on various storefronts, Citroën vehicles and costumes. Connect them to subliminal.

“We wanted the building to feel like it was being used for a variety of purposes. Today, the French Dispatch lives. Looking in one direction, the magnificent architecture of the building’s desk. Then look in the other direction, you’ll find this kind of pegboard partition, facing away from you, a floor-to-ceiling filebox, “says Stockhausen. “We breathed and grew the space through the project. It puts a lot of energy in it. Also included Javi Aznarez, who illustrated the cover of the French Dispatch, and painted on the walls of the final set. It really lightened it. “

The crew is working on miniatures.

Miniatures are a common Wes Anderson production element, with small, life-sized props combined with a full-sized set.

(Searchlight Pictures)

Man works in a miniature house "French dispatch."

Miniatures are a common filming device in Wes Anderson movies.

(Searchlight Pictures)


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