The world created for Little Nicky takes a whimsical romp through the corridors of
Heaven and Hell — not to mention New York City — presenting original, surprising and
highly amusing new visions of each. "We wanted a visual craziness in this film to match
Little Nicky's personal strangeness," says Steven Brill. We used just about every
technique known to filmmaking — from prosthetics to matte paintings to computer generated maps of Hell and we used the best of the best in every aspect."
Brill started by working with production designer Perry Blake, who has worked on most of Adam
Sandler's films, to design Hell. Both agreed they wanted a seriously eerie, realistic depiction of Hell that would contrast deeply with Adam
Sandler's characterization of Nicky. "Seeing Adam Sandler in a gnarly Hell just makes it even funnier," notes Blake. Adds Brill: "We wanted a dark, surreal Hell, not some goofy red- devil suit look. We went against the, grain
and looked at how the world's great artists have depicted Hell, with all its many levels and weird happenings."
For inspiration, Blake and Brill brushed up on the seething visions of Renaissance painter Heironymous Bosch and Dante's "Inferno." "I went into a lot of bookstores and asked the clerks 'where is your section on the Devil,'" recalls Blake. "I got a lot of weird looks and did some very strange reading. Ultimately, what I found is that there are many, many different interpretations of Hell's appearance from every culture and religion. But we stuck with a Western view because that's what people are most familiar with. For me, it was an incredible experience. I mean how many people get to bring their vision of Hell to life?"
Ultimately, Blake turned Little Nicky's Hell into a gruesomely funny place of Human Dartboards, horny blackbirds and
furniture made of burdened Damned Souls. "I wanted audiences to have the sense of really going to a different place, of going to this other crazy world and really being inside Satan's Palace," says Blake.
For Heaven, Blake and Brill went ever further afield. "Heaven has been portrayed so many times in the movies with white clouds and white rooms and I really wanted to get away from that so I came up with the idea that it would be like living inside of a birthday cake. I just figured everyday in Heaven is like your birthday, except you don't get any
older, and this gave us a very lyrical palette of muted pastels and textured icing. It was a lot of fun to create something never really seen before," says Brill.
Costume designer Ellen Lutter faced a thorny challenge for Little Nicky how in the Devil do you design a fresh new fashion palette for such timeless characters as Satan and his demonic friends and family? The answer for Lutter was to rethink everything she'd ever seen about Hell, avoiding all the
clichÃ©s, and to look at Hades as a contemporary Underworld family. Throughout all of her alternately demonic and angelic designs, Lutter enjoyed aiming for a very unusual tone. "What I love about this film is that it's not just a comedy; it's also a fantasy. Which means we were creating our own unique world, inventing our own looks. It's risky and it's a designer's dream," she says.
To start, Lutter came up with a wardrobe for Little Nicky. Lutter knew that whatever she designed, SandIer would make it funny. In Hades,
Sandler wears a long robe emblazoned with heavy metal insignias, baggy satin shorts and velcroed sneakers with horns on the tips. 'The outfit is meant to be somewhat reminiscent of what any teenager would wear," explains Lutter.
For his earthly sojourns Lutter put together a look for Adam Sandler that is "the very height of uncool." While Satan has usually been repre
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