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Jess Gonchor: Production Design in Action

Posted January 06, 2010 to photo album "Jess Gonchor: Production Design in Action"

The designer of the Coen brothers’ A Serious Man shows us how he works.

Slide 1: Jess Gonchor, Production Designer
Slide 2: A Serious Man
Slide 3: A Serious Man
Slide 4: Burn After Reading
Slide 5: No Country For Old Men
Slide 6: Away We Go
Slide 7: Production Design as storytelling
Slide 4: Burn After Reading

Slide 4: Burn After Reading

In Burn After Reading, Gonchor designed the mood for the Coen brothers’ spy comedy, a story in which spies turn out to be as befuddled and boring as the rest of us. In creating the look of CIA offices, Gonchor emphasized their inhabitants’ powerlessness. “The offices,” he explained, “just held with the character development of who they were. They were supposed to be top brass at the CIA but really who were they.” As he points out their attitude was more apathy than patriotism: “‘Don’t call me. Sweep it under the rug,’ they say. So the production design had to support that dialogue. Make these people so that we don’t know how high or low on the totem pole they are.”