David Bomba interview: ‘Ozark’ production designer
Production designer David Bomba had wanted to work with Jason Bateman and interviewed with him for HBO’s “The Outsider.” Unfortunately, he did not get the job. “His people reached out to my people like, ‘We’ll be reaching out down the road,’ and I was like, ‘Yeah, sure,’” Bomba recalls during our Meet the Experts: TV Production Design panel (watch above). “That’s a nice ‘thank you but no thank you.’”
But they, in fact, did reach out — about doing the third season of “Ozark.” Bomba signed on, marking his first time not only doing a continuing TV series (he previously worked on the Netflix limited series “Godless”) but one that was already in the middle of its run with established settings and a look. What piqued his interest were the two big new elements in Season 3: the Missouri Belle riverboat casino the Byrdes were now running and the sprawling compound of cartel boss Navarro (Felix Solis).
Going against the show’s trademark blue hues, Bomba employed shades of red, orange, gold and tans for the casino and Navarro’s HQ, the latter of which is actually a mausoleum in an Atlanta cemetery. Diverging from “Ozark’s” usual aesthetic was something Bateman, who directed the first two episodes in which the new sets were introduced, wanted as well.
“I asked him, ‘Are we doing the blue, gray, cloudy, ‘sun never shines in the Ozark’ look?’ And he said, ‘No, I wanna break away from that. We have that established look and I want to expand what we’re doing,’” Bomba shares. “That was very, very exciting for me to be able to kind of do that with the Missouri Belle and introduce reds and golds. And then with the Navarro compound, that was really exciting for me.”
Bomba, who earned an Emmy nomination for his work in the premiere, is returning for the fourth and final season, filming for which is underway. “We go back to Chicago, back to where Wendy (Laura Linney) comes from, and we learn more about her, and some interesting things happen with Byrde Enterprises,” Bomba teases. “There was a big gala that took place towards the end of last season where Wendy’s brother Ben (Tom Pelphrey) attacks Marty, so the Byrde Foundation is spreading, it’s looking for investors, it’s looking for people. And we learn what that foundation does and how it’s going to further the Byrde family and what their relationship with Navarro is.”