[WATCH] ‘Mercy Street’ costumes & production design: ‘We had to pull out all the stops’

“It’s amazing how beautiful and thorough the design was. We would walk through and see surprise after surprise,” says actor McKinley Belcher III about the sumptuous period designs of the PBS drama series “Mercy Street,” which takes place in a Virginia hospital during the Civil War (watch the behind-the-scenes featurette above). His co-star Josh Radnor concurs, adding that “you don’t have to do that much to imagine the time. It’s right in front of you.” Dish “Mercy Street” with Hollywood insiders in our notorious forums by clicking here.

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Production designer Stephen March explains, “We do a lot of research,” and that research continued even as the first season was in production. “We took that hospital apart and put it back together again, painted every single square inch of it … Nearly everything in the show is very accurate to exactly 1862 or before.” Marsh has been entered in the Emmy race for Best Period Production Design. He has one previous nomination: Best Movie/Mini Art Direction for “Citizen Cohn” back in 1993.

As for the costumes, “I think these actresses have done a marvelous at incorporating the corsets and everything they had to deal with into their characters,” says designer Amy Andrews Harrell, an Emmy contender for Best Period/Fantasy Costumes. “The ball is an exciting challenge because it takes our characters out of their day-to-day existence and puts them in their finery. We really had to pull out all the stops.” Actress Donna Murphy remarks about one of her character’s elaborate dresses, “It’s perfect for her because she’s someone who would care about each and every detail.”

Andrews Harrell is already an Emmy champ. She won Best Movie/Mini Costumes for “John Adams” in 2008. Then she picked up an additional bid in the same category for “Killing Lincoln” in 2013.

‘Mercy Street’: Will PBS’s Civil War drama follow in Emmy footsteps of ‘Downton Abbey’?

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