Gary Frutkoff Q&A: ‘This Is Us’ production designer
“From the get-go, Dan Fogelman wanted a blue collar look,” reveals “This Is Us” production designer Gary Frutkoff during our recent webcam chat (watch above). Fogelman created this NBC series about a large, diverse family through several generations, including Milo Ventimiglia and Mandy Moore as parents raising three children in 1980s Pittsburgh and Sterling K. Brown, Chrissy Metz, and Justin Hartley as adult versions of those kids in present day NYC. Adds Frutkoff, “There’s a grittiness and an earthiness,” to those Pittsburgh scenes, “that’s actually pretty challenging to portray on screen.”
Frutkoff, known for his work on such films as “Devil in a Blue Dress” (1995), “Out of Sight” (1998), and “The Limey” (1999), further divulges that, “it’s very easy to go out and get a couch that’s very high-end and fancy-looking.” Yet the working class couple, “wouldn’t have brand new furniture,” so Frutkoff and his team searched for items from the late 1960s and 1970s. “It’s very hard to get those kind of furnishings these days,” he continues, because, “people throw their stuff out.”
“This Is Us” has proven to be a breakout hit this season, earning Golden Globe nominations for Best Drama Series and Best TV Supporting Actress (Moore and Metz), as well as a SAG bid for Sterling K. Brown as TV Drama Actor. Given the show’s early awards success, could Frutkoff earn his first Emmy nomination for his work?