Anastasia White has cut her teeth in film and TV as a production designer and art director.
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est designs what the crew would need to be able to shoot the sequence. “The whole layout was based on that scene,” she says. “It was meant to showcase the facility where she’s working as soon as possible in the show, so we tried to give a good example of all of the pieces of the building in that one scene.”
Transitioning the story of “Homecoming” from the audio medium of the podcast to the visual one of television allowed White the opportunity to get creative and specific with her set design. “There were not a lot of details in the script,” she says. “All of the stuff on the walls was the art department coming up with things based on research and knowing the tone of the show.”
White and her team utilized lots of organic materials such as driftwood to juxtapose “the wild gnarliness” of nature with the cold artifice created by the Geist Group, the facility where Heidi works. “The way that the writers described how they wanted the interior facility to be, it was decorated in a trying-too-hard-to-be-tropical, homey way, [with] ferns and palms and pineapples and Floridian-type fruits,” she says.
“Homecoming” takes place over two timelines, with the present- day story being told in widescreen, while the “near future,” after the facility has been closed, is in a square aspect ratio. That meant White had to think “vertically” about how to dress certain sets and design frames. She also wanted to rely on “muddied and gray” imagery to further convey Heidi’s own confusion over what went wrong with her work.
And since the treatment the soldiers are undergoing is experimental, White wanted to suggest a sense of them being studied. That’s what inspired her to put a fish tank in Heidi’s office and mount a metallic fish on the wall.
“It played back to the idea that the cafeteria is this fishbowl,” she explains, “where people are all being observed.”