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#MovieMonday: Bridge of Spies Production Design

By Anton Adianto

At the 88th Academy Awards this year, Bridge of Spies received six Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for Mark Rylance. The Steven Spielberg film starred Tom Hanks, who played an American lawyer tasked with facilitating the exchange of a Soviet spy for an American plane pilot during the Cold War. The man who handled the authentic Bridge of Spies production design is the winner of the 2014 Oscar for Best Production Design for The Grand Budapest Hotel, Adam Stockhausen. He collaborated with location manager Jason Farrar to make a script breakdown and select two major film locations, New York and Germany.

Stockhausen and his team discovered a lot of spots in New York that suited the grim, ice-cold setting descriptions in the screenplay. He ensured each location has multiple vantage points and allows for the geometry of the film. In Germany, Stockhausen focused on finding the few buildings that still have 1960 Eastern European architectural influences. The team also travelled to Poland as a part of their location scouting.

The next step towards a periodically accurate Bridge of Spies production design was creating the interiors. The bedroom and bathroom areas in the Donovan’s home are all clad in warm earthy tones to exude the typical vibe of a Brooklyn home in the 60s. For the Supreme Court scenes, Stockhausen utilized the Federal Hall National Monument, a historical site whose restrictions required the shoot to occur during closed hours. To make sure a few other locations received the proper visual transformation, he and his team worked together with the duo set decorators, Rena DeAngelo and Bernard Henrich who handled the US portion and the German locations respectively.

The Brige of Spies production design team collaborated well and overcame the most difficult aspects of the making of the Cold War thriller, from scouting locations to recreating spaces.

Photos by 20th Century Fox

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