John Paino Interview: ‘Sharp Objects’ production designer
“Sharp Objects” production designer John Paino wanted to create “a kind of southern gothic” look that didn’t feel like it was just copied from a Tennessee Williams play. “I wanted it to be realistic,” he explains, “but I also wanted it to be lurid and colorful.” Watch our exclusive video interview with Paino above.
Based on the book by Gillian Flynn, the HBO limited series centers on reporter Camille Preaker (Amy Adams), who must confront the demons of her past when she returns to her hometown of Wind Gap, Missouri, to investigate a murder. It was directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, whom Paino previously collaborated with on HBO’s “Big Little Lies,” as well as the films “Dallas Buyers Club” (2013), “Wild” (2014), and “Demolition” (2015).
The centerpiece location for the show is Camille’s family home, a vast mansion owned by her wealthy mother, Adora (Patricia Clarkson). In the book, the house is “white and kind of run-down,” but Paino approached it as though Adora had hired “an interior decorator from Charleston or Atlanta” to make it “contemporary. It would be modern, and it would also be a jewel box for her. It’s her fantasy world.” In that way, “it is different than the washed-out colors of Wind Gap.”
Paino also teased his work on the upcoming second season of “Big Little Lies,” premiering on June 9. Since there was no plan for another installment after the first season wrapped production, “we all had to start from scratch” going into season two. That wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, considering the big question for everyone involved was, “What are we going to do to make it a little different” and show the “progression” of the characters? Certainly the addition of Meryl Streep to a cast that already included Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Shailene Woodley, Zoe Kravitz and Laura Dern helped.
Paino earned an Emmy nomination in 2004 for his work on the original “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.” Both “Big Little Lies” and “Sharp Objects” brought him Art Directors Guild bids in the last two years. And he just finished working on Apple TV’s upcoming series “The Morning Show.”