Interview with Oscar Nominees Stuart Craig and Stephenie McMillan On Designing Harry Potter Films


Jan 27, 2012

Posted by John Admin

HitFlix blog has published a lengthy interview with Stuart Craig (production designer) and Stephenie McMillan (set decorator) following their Oscar nomination in the Art Direction category for “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2.” Craig and McMillan have also worked on the previous 7 Potter films.

The pair discuss how they got the job on the first “Harry Potter” film, working with different directors, building the sets for the final battle and the changes that took place throughout the series.

The complete interview can be read at this page, while some excerpts are published below:

At times, the developing story meant they needed to work in particularly
new and creative ways. McMillan found the most exciting transformation
was turning the Great Hall into the setting of the Yule Ball in “The
Goblet of Fire,” for which they were nominated in 2005. “How do we make
it into an ice palace,” she reminisces. “Originally we thought silver
curtains, silver table cloths and an ice dance floor, but it just went
on and on. The drapes man eventually said, ˜Why not just stick the
fabrics on the wall?” While an enormous amount of work, the degree of
pleasure and pride is palatable in McMillan’s voice. It therefore
shouldn’t be surprising that “The Goblet of Fire” earned the duo a trip
back to the Kodak after missing for “The Chamber of Secrets” and “The
Prisoner of Azkaban.”

Along with the changing story and expanding sets, the duo also had to
contend with changing directors. Criag, for one, relished the changes
that came with different men at the helm. “Each one of them managed to
find a different take,” he says. “It kept the whole thing vital and

Both comment on the fact that Chris Columbus’ strengths lay in
working with the child actors, while, Alfonso Cuarón (who directed “The
Prizoner of Azkaban,” which signaled the change in aesthetic signature
for the series) had a very visual sense. “He wanted to make films much
more magical and he really pushed all of us’ McMillan says. They also
add that Mike Newell’s film (“The Goblet of Fire”) was really about
teenage angst and fun. McMillan says he “liked the boarding school
aspect of it” while Craig says the director wanted to inject more humor
into the proceedings.

The Art Directors Guild will also be honoring these two individuals with an honorary award for Outstanding Contribution to Cinematic Imagery.

7 Responses to Interview with Oscar Nominees Stuart Craig and Stephenie McMillan On Designing Harry Potter Films

Avatar ImageWON_TWO says: I really hope they win!Avatar Imagezaucwrkexun says: I don't see any reason as to why they shouldn't win. Good Luck! :DAvatar Imagemoglet says: I hope that they win too, they have done some fantastic work over the whole series of film. If they hadn't got the 'look' right, the films wouldn't have felt like the Harry Potter world, and no matter how good the scripts or acting, if the settings were wrong I really don't think it would have worked. Just think back to some of the iconic places: Diagon Alley, the Great Hall, The Gryffindor Common Room, The Burrow, Malfoy Manor, Hogsmeade, The Hog's Head, The Leaky Cauldron, The Three Broomsticks, the Room of Requirement in it's many guises, and the Ministry of Magic to name but a few. Fantastic work throughout, and both Stuart and Stephanie are genuinely friendly and lovely people. I shall be more than a little disappointed if they don't finally get the recognition that they deserve.Avatar Imagekyrstalkris says: You know, they deserve a lot more recognition than they get. They really bring the films to life (them and everybody who works on the films), I'm so glad they're nominated! CONGRATS AND WISH YOU THE BEST OF LUCK! They should win. . . .Avatar Imagelovelle says: this is just amazing! They are really worth being recognized! And just looking back at Goblet of Fire, it made me realize that the details are just exquisite! Congrats to them!Avatar ImageFleur-de- Lily says: Have the best of luck!Avatar Imagewandmastercalum says: They need to win because they definately deserve it!

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