Production Design Most Worthy of an Exclamation Point
Mother! director Darren Aronofsky’s hallucinatory nightmare about a young, imperiled wife (Jennifer Lawrence) cycles through several metaphors, including Biblical allegories and some blunt commentary on environmental destruction. Her house cycles right along with the movie, inexplicably morphing into the setting for a riot, a rave, and a ground war.
“We called this last part of the movie the fever dream,” says production designer Philip Messina. It takes place in an actual house, not on a green screen, so that the surreal environments would feel real to Lawrence. The crew used the same house built on an 25 x 35-metre stage in Montreal for many of the night scenes, which meant they had to turn it over for each scene as quickly as possible. “We worked in a spiral,” Messina says. “As Aronofsky’s team was shooting, we came in behind them and redressed for the next thing. By the time they got back to us, they had a whole new backdrop to shoot in.”