Production Designer Hannah Beachler On ‘Black Panther,’ Her Job + Advice For Black Creatives [Interview]
The wonderful Danielle Scruggs gets some choice time with production designer extraordinaire, Hannah Beachler, as they talk about Marvel’s Black Panther, the importance of her job and offers advice to fellow creatives for @Okayplayer.
The past three years for production designer Hannah Beachler have been charmed after having worked on critically acclaimed movies such as Creed, Fruitvale Station, the Academy Award-winning Moonlight and Ryan Coogler’s forthcoming, wildly anticipated adaptation of Black Panther.
(Not to mention she was responsible for the set designs of eight out of the 11 videos for Beyoncé’s LEMONADE.)
Make no mistake: Beachler’s story is not one of overnight success. She has been grinding in a field that has been none too friendly to women—let alone black women—for the past 15 years. But now Beachler is a highly sought after artist whose precise attention to detail and work that requires knowledge and execution of a blend of disciplines (urban planning, architecture, construction and painting just to name a few) have brought various worlds to life that say as much about any given character as the dialogue does.
Think of the kitchen where black women of various ages, shapes and shades prepare a meal in a kitchen filled with natural light in the prologue to the “Freedom” video from LEMONADE; the Philly bar drenched in red light where Bianca (Tessa Thompson) and Adonis (Michael B. Jordan) have a flirty reparteé in Creed; the half-painted white and pink walls in the apartment of Juan (Mahershala Ali) and Theresa (Janelle Monae) and the crown on the dashboard of Black’s (Trevante Rhodes) car in Moonlight.
All of those details were brought to life by one person—Hannah Beachler. Additionally, her job also requires breaking down the script, working closely with the director, managing the set decorator, costume designer, prop master, and construction workers and even long-haul road trips from time to time. She is so sought after that we are ecstatic to exclusively announce that Hannah Beachler has signed on to work with Nicolas Winding Refn’s new series, Too Old To Die Young for Amazon Studios.
As busy and in-demand as Beachler is, she was kind enough to grant @Okayplayer an interview, which has has been edited and condensed for clarity.