When asked during our recent webcam chat (watch the exclusive video above) about the critical and audience acclaim for “Stranger Things,” production designer Chris Trujillo divulges, “I’d like to think that the world we created physically is a part of that success.” Created by Matt and Ross Duffer (credited as the Duffer Brothers), this Netflix original series centers on a group of children in a small Indiana town in the 1980s investigating the mysterious disappearance of their friend. The sci-fi/horror show won the PGA award for Best Drama Series and the SAG Ensemble prize for its large cast, which includes Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Matthew Modine, and Millie Bobby Brown.
While the show plays tribute to such nostalgic classics as “E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial” and “Stand by Me,” Trujillo branched out from those titles for inspiration. “I always come from a little bit grittier, more textural side,” he explains. Such films as the blue collar “Silkwood” and the mind-bending “Altered States” were particularly influential. “I feel like that’s also part of what makes it special,” he adds, “being able to bring some of the realism of indie filmmaking to the magical wonder of that sort of early ’80s world.”
Trujillo cut his teeth in independent film, with such credits as “Match,” “White Girl,” and “Nerve” on his resume. He reaped his first Art Directors Guild nomination in the Period/Fantasy category for “Stranger Things.” Are the Emmys next? Check out our full interview above for more on his work.
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