Mark Worthington Interview: ‘Mythic Quest’ production designer
“I’ve never done half hour comedy before, it’s really fun,” declares “Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet” production designer Mark Worthington. Watch our exclusive interview with him above. He continues, “Comedy is a hard thing to do well. To me it’s a more intellectual form in a certain way. Our half hour comedies are where we have a dialogue about who we are as society when you think about it. ‘All in the Family’ was a social and political conversation going on for years. The design has to follow.”
“Mythic Quest” is an Apple TV+ comedy series about the team behind a best-selling multiplayer video game. An example of how it delved into a social conversation was in the critically hailed ‘A Dark Quiet Death’ episode. Worthington explains, “Episode five was about the development of a game in the 90s. It’s bold and interesting; dealing with commercialism, compromise and how that intersects with personal lives. It’s complex and comic. We had to reuse the set, because they occupied the space that ‘Mythic Quest’ came in and used. That had to be redesigned with that in mind. Comedy is a challenge but I love it.”
The series is co-created by Rob McElhenney, who also stars as Ian Grimm. On designing the office, Worthington adds, “It is the most popular game in the world. In comedy you have an opportunity to go a bit bolder and bigger with stuff. So we were able to take what would otherwise be a boring office, and make it a little more interesting. That was super fun. Ian’s office is raised above everybody else. It was combination of Rob and I coming up with that. Ian’s this egomaniac and narcissist; one of those characters that Rob does so well. He has this platform that he lords over everybody. It’s such a simple idea in a way, but it worked beautifully. And they used it all the time in the show.
A key feature of the workspace is a huge super-graphic image of a medieval avatar from the game. There is a window from Ian’s office, that he often pokes his head out of, which happens to be situated in the avatar’s crotch. Worthington confesses, “When we put it together, we stuck the gaming character on top of a wall. The window landed in a very specific place. It was accidental. But when we saw it, we thought we had to do that. We just had to. That was great and worked out really nicely. There are happy accidents all the way through!”
The designer has won three Art Director Guild awards (“Ugly Betty,” “American Horror Story” and “Umbrella Academy”) and he’s been nominated for eight Emmy awards. He explains “In film everything is laid out for you. In a series you are not going to have all the writing at the beginning. You are making a permanent set. You think about things they might need outside of the pilot script. I do that to give them opportunities down the road. To open it up and give more staging opportunities. For ‘Mythic Quest’ I realized you would need a lounge in the kitchen. It gives you another area to play scenes and now you see it used a lot in the show.”