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Interview with Set Designer of "Money Monster"

"Somewhere in Time" by Robert Riordan.
Selected by Marks & Frantz for inclusion in the film "Money Monster".

"TV stock-market guru Lee Gates (George Clooney) and his producer Patty (Julia Roberts) are held hostage during a live broadcast by a man (Jack O'Connell) who lost his life's savings due to Gates' financial advice. The captor soon forces the pair to probe a conspiracy involving the global economy. Jodie Foster directed this thriller." -Daniel Gelb, Rovi

Jodie Foster leads the helm of this thrilling hostage-crisis-turned-conspiracy-theory film as director, and brings with her the talents of George Clooney and Julia Roberts. Designers Lydia Marks of Mark & Frantz spoke with us recently about the set design for Money Monster and choosing PurePhoto to specify artwork for film and television.

PurePhoto: What types of themes and inspirations were you working with on this film?
Lydia Marks: We were working with clean lines and modern, linear architectural details for New York. We wanted the artwork to be in that vain and not pop too much. For the sets that we shot in NY that were supposed to be in other countries, we contrasted the clean lines with much more colorful works and artwork that was bolder, particularly for our Hacker's home in Iceland.

PurePhoto: How important of a role does the art play in production design?
Lydia Marks: Art is very important to production design because it is a very visible element on the set. It speaks to the character's personality and helps define them - after all, this is what THEY chose to be on their walls. It can be distracting if it is the wrong piece and it can add subtext -which is either good or bad.

"Neon 1: Stripped" by Faith-Ann Young.
Selected by Marks & Frantz for inclusion in the film "Money Monster".

PurePhoto: How do you decide between using original works vs. fine art photographs when specifying art for movies and TV?
Lydia Marks: I love photography and studied it in school, so am always partial to that as decoration. I love to look at photography, so often I lose myself while "shopping" for art for my sets. Sometimes it is easier to use a photo than a painting because the size is easily adjusted to fit the space while a painting just has to work as is. It always depends on what's best for the set though, in the end I let the set tell me what it needs and then I go find the best possible piece!

"Nicholas, NYC" by Jessica Wilson.
Selected by Marks & Frantz for inclusion in the film "Money Monster".

PurePhoto: How was your experience working with PurePhoto to specify art for Money Monster?
Lydia Marks: Pure Photo was the perfect art gallery resource for production work. It is organized in a variety of ways that make it easy to select the options I want to show, it is easy to produce a presentation to email to others or to print out, and the website is open all night! They are very well curated and have a really broad range to select from.

PurePhoto: What kind of turn around times do you usually look for when specifying art?
Lydia Marks: Can be anywhere from a month for a set we are building to overnight for a TV commercial or if there was a change in schedule.

"C-47 on Solheimasandur II" by Mike Kelley.
Selected by Marks & Frantz for inclusion in the film "Money Monster".

PurePhoto: What stands out as the best use of art in a movie or TV show that you can recall?
Lydia Marks: I really love the artwork we created for an jewelry auction scene in Sex and the City 2. We produced the photos as we would produce an advertising photo shoot: studio, hair, make-up, wardrobe, lighting, and several million dollars of borrowed jewelry. The pictures we made were blown up huge for the set and hung throughout the galleries we shot in at Christie's. I thought they were stunning.

"Bokeh Study XV" by Paul Edmondson.
Selected by Marks & Frantz for inclusion in the film "Money Monster".

"Money Monster" hit theaters May 13th.

About the author

Courtney Paulson

Courtney Paulson

Courtney has over a decade of experience in the fine art world. Most of all, she enjoys connecting people with a work of art that they will love and enjoy every day.