[WATCH] ‘Saints and Strangers’ production designer takes you inside ‘chaotic’ Mayflower set

“The twin decks area on the Mayflower, which is where the Pilgrims spent most of their journey, is very chaotic and one of my favorite sets,” says “Saints and Strangers” production designer Cristina Casali in National Geographic Channel’s video featurette (watch above). “It really sets the tone for the start of their adventure.” Dish “Saints and Strangers” with Hollywood insiders in our notorious forums by clicking here.

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The production design team being submitted for the limited series at the Emmy Awards are Casali, Lisa Hart (Art Director) and Irma Van Heerden (Set Decorator). While all three would be new additions to the Emmys, Casali does have a prior BAFTA TV nomination to her name for “Red Riding: In the Year of Our Lord 1974” (2009).

“To create the scenes on the Mayflower — interior and exterior — we used an existing ship and we built onto it to make it feel smaller,” Casali notes about the massive production obstacles. Putting herself into the mindset of the Pilgrims, she adds, “They come out very ill and sick and tired and weary, and have to face life on a planet that they don’t know anything about.”

Nat Geo Emmy submissions: ‘Saints and Strangers,’
‘Story of God’ below-the-line category placements

At this year’s Emmy Awards, “Saints and Strangers” is eligible in the relatively new category of Best Production Design for a Narrative Period Program. Both “Boardwalk Empire” and “The Knick” won this Emmy race last year in a tie while the other nominees were “Downton Abbey,” “Mad Men” and “Masters of Sex.”

“Saints and Strangers” aired on Nat Geo over the Thanksgiving holiday and tells the story of the Pilgrims crossing the Atlantic on the Mayflower and their subsequent struggles with the Native Americans during their first year in the new world. “Mad Men” star Vincent Kartheiser plays William Bradford, the leader of the settlers whose great faith in a divine plan helps inspire his people in their new home of Plymouth, Massachusetts.

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If “Saints and Strangers” earns a nomination as Best Limited Series, it’ll be a first for the network in this category. Previously, Nat Geo contended in the Best TV Movie race for “Killing Jesus” (2015) and “Killing Kennedy” (2014). Make your Emmy predictions right here. You’ll compete to win our contest prizes for best picks — $500 (first place), $300 (second place) and $200 (third place) in Amazon gift certificates — a place of honor on our leaderboard and a starring role in next year’s Top 24 Users (the two dozen folks who do the best predicting this year’s Emmy nominations). Be sure to read our contest rules.

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