Art doll

Video interview with Diane Lederman, designer of the “Russian Doll” production

production designer Diane Lederman faces all kinds of pressure to shape the look of the second season of “Russian Doll”. Not only did she have to take over for Michael Bricker, who won an Emmy for her work in season 1, but she also had to find locations and design the different time periods in season 2, including 1940s Budapest, 1960s East Berlin, and 1980s New York. “In Budapest, we were shooting two or three locations a day,” Lederman says in an exclusive new interview for Gold Derby, discussing the many challenges she faced. “Our whole schedule was very compact.” Watch the full video chat above.

Time travel was the main feature of the season, with Nadia (Natacha Lyonne) and Alan (Charlie Barnett) having the ability to literally put themselves in the shoes of their ancestors. Nadia spends much of her time in the 80s in the body of her mother, Lenora (Chloe Sevigny), and Lederman was tasked with transforming modern New York into the New York of 1982, complete with telephone booths and piles of trash bags. “We…didn’t want to go too kitschy, but we wanted to understand where we were and when we were,” notes the designer. For Lenora’s apartment, the designer took inspiration from the 1986 film “Blue Velvet,” with pink walls and dark green moldings, while hoping to reflect the character’s “erratic” behavior by decorating it with artwork. art that haven’t been hung yet.

One of Lederman’s most impressive design feats involved Nadia looking at herself in a mirror and seeing her mother looking at her. Although this could have been accomplished through visual effects, she chose to do practically everything, constructing a double set where Lyonne and Sevigny could act opposite each other. “We customized many elements up to an artwork that I designed, then printed upside down for the mirror side of the set,” says the designer. “It was very scary walking into this set before you shot it and not being able to see yourself through the hole where a mirror should be.”

Lederman’s work is on full display throughout the season, from finding a Brutalist building that was about to be demolished for the East Berlin scenes to securing the use of a water cistern. Budapest for the “Void” in the final. Despite the many difficult tasks she faced, the designer was ultimately rewarded with the experience. “With all the many challenges, this was probably one of the most satisfying projects I’ve had the pleasure of working on.”

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