Aaron Haye interview: ‘The Stand’ production designer

“Long form offers us new challenges but also opportunities to tell bigger stories,” explains production designer Aaron Haye. After a career designing for films like “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” and “Star Trek,” he made his first foray into television with the Paramount+ limited series, “The Stand.” Haye looked to honor the original Stephen King novel while making the story “fresh and contemporary.” Watch the exclusive video interview above.

Haye’s most gargantuan set piece in “The Stand” is New Vegas. The evil Randall Flagg (Alexander Skarsgard) takes over Sin City after an apocalypse wipes out most of humanity, and turns it into his own twisted dystopia. The designer crafted the Inferno Casino, Flagg’s home base, as if it was infected with evil. A large pillar of glass sprouts from the body of a real Vegas hotel. “The same way that Flagg inserts himself into vulnerable people,” notes Haye, “we wanted to insert this parasitic architecture into the casino.”

SEE Jake Braver interview: ‘The Stand’ visual effects

The location was eventually named Inferno Casino because of the design aesthetics Haye incorporated into the space, particularly the hotel atrium where much of the action takes place. “Dante’s Inferno was a big inspiration from the beginning,’ he claims. This can be seen in the large chandelier of rings that hovers overhead and in the levels of the club itself. “It was conceptualized that way, as a sort of stratification of society in a visual way,” explains Haye. The lower class dwells on the bottom levels, with the caste system extending up until it reaches Flagg in the penthouse. Haye even orchestrated the space so that the crew could shoot continuously from the basement level, up through the atrium, and into the upper tiers of the casino.

“I love building worlds in whatever capacity,” admits Haye. A project like “The Stand” allows the freedom to dream up apocalyptic fantasies. But he could be just as happy recreating historical environments. He believes his work is ultimately about “creating a canvas, an environment, for the actors to feel immersed in a world.” The space should always be in service of the story. Haye counts his work as a success when he has “an actor walk onto set and feel like they belong there.”

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UPLOADED May 23, 2021 8:54 pm