ADG Perspective

July-August 2021

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5 0 P E R S P E C T I V E | J U L Y / A U G U S T 2 0 2 1 It was January of 2019 and I was sitting in an office in LA, interviewing for Cruella. It was my third meeting for the project and all seemed to be going well. And then I was asked the question, "Will you be able to work at this scale?" I remember taking a pause. Would I? As I sat there it came to me, as long as I could hold on to my process… The funny thing about my process was that it took answering the question in the office to realize I had one that I could identify. As a theater- trained designer, I had never worked in a film Art Department before becoming a Production Designer. I have no idea about the process of other designers. It may be the same as mine or very different. My immediate starting point is always a deep dive into referencing and research with visual reference artist Phil Clark. I credit the work that we do together for giving the visual structure to my films. It becomes the spine that holds up every idea. Cruella had us looking at archival photographs of London in the 1960s and '70s. London is my adopted home, so it was a great pleasure to investigate the changes to the city and to look at the way that such a dynamic time in history permeated the streets. Cruella is very much a film about attitude, and I could see it in the photographs of Notting Hill and Westbourne Grove. That attitude sat in stark contrast to the photographs of Knightsbridge and Kensington with the grand ballrooms and salons. I relished the photographs of empty blocks left for years after demolition sitting alongside grand houses that had been abandoned and run to ruin. These buildings looked like derelict dollhouses with their exposed wallpapers and tiles. They were a perfect playground for three children finding their way in a vast city. A ' 7 0 s C u l t u r e C l a s h T H E D E S I G N O F C R U E L L A B Y F I O N A C R O M B I E , P R O D U C T I O N D E S I G N E R A

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