Laurence Bennett interview: ‘The Offer’ production designer
“It’s one of the icons of contemporary American cinema and I felt a tremendous responsibility,” declares Oscar-nominated production designer Laurence Bennett (“The Artist) about the challenges of designing “The Offer.” “The first time they called about seeing if I was interested in designing the project, I told my agent no, I was not interested because it just felt like there was great risk involved with messing with the classics,” he admits, adding for our recent Q&A, “I just found so much humanity in all the individual stories and everyone had so much investment in the project; it was incredible.” We talked with Bennett as part of Gold Derby’s special “Meet the Experts” Q&A event with 2022 Emmy Awards contenders. Watch our exclusive video interview above.
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“The Offer,” is a 10-episode limited series streaming on Paramount Plus, written by Oscar nominee Michael Tolkin (“The Player”), with episodes directed by Dexter Fletcher (“Rocketman”) and Emmy-nominated actor Adam Arkin among others. It focuses on the behind-the-scenes story behind the making of the iconic American cinema classic “The Godfather,” from the perspective of the film’s producer Albert S. Ruddy, an unsung hero on the film who tangled with executives, politicians and even the mafia to clear a path for legendary filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola and company to execute their vision for the film. Miles Teller (“Whiplash”) stars as Ruddy, the man who ultimately picked up the Best Picture trophy on Oscar night back in 1973, alongside British actor Matthew Goode as Paramount’s charismatic head of production Robert Evans. The series also features Dan Fogler as Coppola, Patrick Gallo as “Godfather” author Mario Puzo, Juno Temple as Ruddy’s then-assistant Bettye McCartt, Burn Gorman as Paramount’s notorious corporate overlord Charlie Bluhdorn and Giovanni Ribisi as mafioso Joe Colombo.
Bennett says that few movies come wrapped in as much lore and myth as as the Coppola masterpiece, so it meant a great deal to him as an artist to pay homage in this way to the legends behind that film. This was notwithstanding he had the mammoth task of recreating late sixties and early seventies New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and even Sicily all within the confines of modern-day Southern California. “It was the biggest concern, the biggest challenge,” he admits. “Just doing period Los Angeles is tough as well because Los Angeles has not been very kind to its culture, its architecture, and it takes nothing to pave over or raise anything.”