DREAMING THE FUTURE
Production designer Scott Chambliss on creating a new vision of tomorrow…
Did you reference the original theme park attraction when you were designing the movie?
Oddly enough, we didn’t take any cues from the existing Tomorrowland. In fact, we specifically decided to avoid that. It didn’t suit our story’s purposes at all. The title is a bit misleading in that respect. Because it’s the first thing you would think. But Tomorrowland in our movie is quite its own thing.
There’s a grand history of designing cities of the future. What informed Tomorrowland’s aesthetic?
We started as urban planners. The writer, Damon Lindelof, created this wonderful, 35- page backstory of who in his mind the founders of Tomorrowland were. He posited that the greatest minds of the late 19th century until at least the first half of the 20th century got together to create this different version of city life. People like Edison and Tesla and Eiffel. Thirty different characters over the span of a few generations were supposedly the authors. With that, we started conceiving, “Okay, what would they do together to make a coherent urban plan?” Then we just kept going… If technology continues evolving the way that it does, what we see in Tomorrowland could be a vision of the world 40 to 50 years from now, conceivably.
What were the greatest design challenges you faced?
There were some large collaborative setpieces and locations that weren’t always in Tomorrowland. The Eiffel Tower plays a big role in the movie, and also the 1964 World’s Fair. In addition to the intricacy of all these different periods and styles that we had to manifest in great details – vehicles of the past, present, and future – the hardest thing was to make sure that these disparate time periods and environments worked together as opposed to starting to look like they were from different movies. It’s all about keeping a coherent relationship between all of our times and places.