Curt Beech Interview: ‘Hunters’ production designer
“I’m really just trying to nail a tone and a vibe more than any specific set or look,” reveals Curt Beech, the production designer on the drama “Hunters.” The Amazon Prime series follows a group of vigilantes hunting expat Nazi’s who are trying to start a “Fourth Reich” in 1970’s America. In our exclusive video interview (watch above), Beech describes his process for creating everything from a 1970’s recording studio to a concentration camp.
Beech began his pitch for “Hunters” by focusing on the contrasting homes the two main characters: Meyer Offerman (Al Pacino), the uber-wealthy leader of the vigilante group, and Jonah (Logan Lerman) the Brooklyn teenager who stumbles into the vigilantes’ ranks. “We’re talking about the Upper East Side in 1977 versus Jonah’s Brooklyn in 1977,” Beech explains. “That’s a nice place to start because thematically they’re covering two very different areas of the show.” The designer made sure to include a sense of damage in many of his set pieces. “Every character in [“Hunters”] either damaged in some way or inflicting damage in some way.
Because the show features multiple flashback sequences set in Nazi concentration camps, Beech did exhaustive research to “capture the tone and the mood of the camps” rather than recreate each camp in detail. “It’s hard to do these things exactly,” he says, “but we’re not making a documentary. We’re making a show that feels more like a graphic novel.”
Beech began his career as a high school theater teacher. After attending graduate school at UCLA studying theater and opera design, he began working on film projects, to the point that he gave up working in the theater. Beech describes himself as being “fairly choosy” about what he takes on, and finds little engaging in contemporary procedurals. He prefers working on period pieces because of their inherent challenges. “When given the more difficult projects, people tend to rise to the occasion,” Beech declares.