Sunday, May 27, 2012

Creating the Period Interior: Hemingway and Gellhorn

Creating a period interior is always a challenge, particularly when you have to design nine countries over several decades. Such was the case for the designers of the HBO film, Hemingway and Gellhorn, starring Nicole Kidman and Clive Owen as the star-crossed lovers.

First, a quick history lesson. While we are all familiar with the life and times of acclaimed Pulitzer Prize winning author Ernest Hemingway, Martha Gellhorn often remains a footnote in history. At a time when women were married and raising families, she became a war correspondent and witness to some of the biggest battles of the past century -- Spanish Civil War, World War II and Vietnam. She was also Hemingway's third wife.

Production designer Geoffrey Kirkland (The Right Stuff) and set decorator Jim Erickson (Water for Elephants) were responsible for the film's 30s and 40s designs that ranged from houses in Key West and Cuba to a war torn hotel turned hospital in Madrid and all shot on location in San Francisco.

You can read more on the period designs for Hemingway and Gellhorn in my article in Architectural Digest. The film premieres Monday, May 28th at 9 PM. Happy Memorial Day and here's to the start of a great summer!

Clive Owen as Hemingway at his home in Key West

The couple's house Finca Viga in Cuba

Photo Credits: Karen Ballard/HBO