Navigation Bar - Text Links at Bottom of Page

A DANGEROUS METHOD

About The Design
Cronenberg has long standing relationships with his creative team, most of whom have worked together with him for decades. He trusts his collaborators, which encourages them to give their best, bringing with it a shorthand and confidence.

Cronenberg blocks the scenes with his actors in a private rehearsal, followed by a rehearsal with the crew and time for the lighting set-up before the scenes are filmed. With a career spanning over thirty years, Cronenberg has perfected his shooting style and effectively edits in his head as he shoots. As Cassel elaborates, for both cast and crew there is no ambiguity, "What's really very clear about David is that he is clear. He knows what he wants, and that confidence spreads down throughout the set. And it's always a question: you know, people say, "What are the different styles of this director and different styles of that director?” But with all the really good directors that I've worked with it's about clarity. It's the most important thing. The notes that David gives are concise and he works with a very sort of easy confidence throughout the day.”

The look of A Dangerous Method was very much a shared effort from the production design and lighting, through to the costume and hair and make-up design with each department working together to compliment Cronenberg's direction, Hampton's script, and the work of the actors.

Carol Spier, Cronenberg's long-time production designer, was involved with the technical recces and the designs, before passing the production designer mantle over to another veteran member of the close-knit Cronenberg team, James McAteer. When it came to the actual creation of the sets, McAteer and his team showed Cronenberg study models with scaled furniture to allow him and the other departments to get an idea of the space before drawing up the finished designs. It was decided the sets would be somewhat muted and de-saturated, with Freud's heavy smoking of cigars influencing the design with a cigar smoke patina. This, coupled with the simple color palette of the costumes: black suits, white shirts, pale dresses and grey nurse's uniforms, informed McAteer's design decisions. As he explains, "The key for me was to create a neutral tone behind the costumes so they would be crisp. I basically referred to it as our sense of "being polite”: that is, don't interfere with the wardrobe or the dialogue. The sets sit quietly behind and let those things come to the forefront, which is what it is about: supporting the actors and the dialogue.”

Cronenberg and director of photography Peter Suschitzky have worked together for over twenty years. Much like McAteer, for Suschitzky it was important that the lighting and camerawork complimented the script and actors, as he says, "My concern was to make it look and feel like a film rather than like filmed theatre. We haven't introduced extravagant movements, sometimes we've moved the camera but only when it felt right to do so. We filmed in quite a straight way, an honest way without trying to jazz it up because we have actors of enormous quality and dialogue of intelligence and I think that will carry the film.”

McAteer and his department referred closely to reference photographs for the set design, paying particular attention to Jung's study and Freud's study where many of their ground-breaking theories were conceived. They did extensive research before building the sets and replicating the original rooms, from the furniture right through to the smaller details. The production was fortunate to be loaned Freud's original study chair, which he designed himself. Though the unique chair dates from later than the period when the film is set, it was too exceptional an opportunity to pass up, especially for an actor such as Viggo Mortensen who draws inspiration from the far-reaching research into his characters.

Like the real version, the set for Freud's study was a room full of dark wood and crammed with books, relics, artifacts and antiquities, of which many cluttered his desk. This all added to the claustrophobic feeling during the scene showing the first marathon conversation between Freud and Jung, where they talk together into the night. As McAteer comments, "There was no room to run, and the heavy feeling that we wanted to create with the set worked well for the dialogue, to make it claustrophobic as two people talk intensely.”

This was one of the most important sets for Mortensen's character and his observation of this most intricate of sets was one of immense pleasure, "I've worked with Carol Spier and James McAteer before and they are incredible. The design of the set is amazing and I don't think there's a set that's more interesting in a way. I don't say that just because it's for my character but it is a remarkable job that they've done with Freud's study. Because I know them I could say to them, "I've been to Vienna, made some trips before starting shooting and I found a lot of books.” I did research on what he read for enjoyment and academically, and I found a lot of these books in old bookshops in Vienna, and who knows, maybe one of them was his that would have been in his library.”

A significant design detail which could not be neglected was penmanship as the writing and receiving of letters is a central element of the script, given this is how Jung first made contact with Freud and in large part how their professional relationship develops, as well as the letters that Sabina sent to both men, and received from them. The art department found period pens that worked for the cast to use and created examples of Freud and Jung's writing. In turn, Mortensen made the decision to spend time practicing writing in German in the style of Freud in order to be able to write on camera.

A Dangerous Method is set in a distinct stylistic period, which allowed costume designer Denise Cronenberg to immerse herself in research, along with her assistant costume designer Nigel Egerton in research. Cronenberg was absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity to do this, having spent much of her career designing costumes for films set in the modern day or the future. As she elaborates, "In terms of costume it is fascinating to work with a script that spans this period of time. We cover 1904 through to 1913, and I had all the costumes made for the lead cast at CosProp in London where I chose the fabrics and styles. It was a huge job but wonderful and lots of fun. I've never chosen so many pieces of lace in my life!”

As with the production design there were reference photographs, in particular of Jung and Freud, for Cronenberg to refer to when designing their costumes. For men of their status it was an era of real elegance, though the age difference and their own individual styles meant the two men did not dress in entirely the same way. During the period, frock coats were seen as indicative of status, particularly for men of learning.

When Fassbender put on the spectacles and costumes of his character he was immediately transported to the world of Jung. As he explains, "There was a real elegance about the time and it always helps when you put on a costume. You do all your homework at home and then slowly you put on the shoes that the character wears, and all the intricate little things, like a pocket watch. It helps to give you that certain way of sort of holding yourself, and I love all that.”

When it came to researching Sabina's look, it was discovered that not many photographs of her existed. With Emma Jung being pregnant for much of the film and few photographs of pregnant women available from that time, it meant Cronenberg had to create everything from scratch for

Next Production Note Section

TOP

Home | Theaters | Video | TV

Your Comments and Suggestions are Always Welcome.
Contact CinemaReview.com

2014 26,  All Rights Reserved.

Google

Find:  HELP!

Google