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‘Stranger Things’ Production Design: 7 Things We Learned from Chris Trujillo’s Interview with Interiors

The dream of the '80s is alive in Atlanta.

Stranger Things

“Stranger Things”

Netflix

The “Stranger Things” era continues unabated. Production designer Chris Trujillo spoke to Interiors about bring the Netflix show’s vision of Spielberg-inflected ’80s Americana to life. Here are seven highlights from the exchange, which you would do well to read in its entirety:

 

Trujillo landed his gig after working on ‘Honeymoon,’ an indie horror film directed by Leigh Janiak — the wife of Ross Duffer. “The first time I heard of ‘Stranger Things’ was over brunch with Leigh and Ross. At that point, the project was still called ‘Montauk’ and it was little more than a glimmer in the Duffers’ eye. It seemed like too awesome an idea, like a perfect pipe dream.”

 

His secret to achieving the show’s ‘lived-in’ ’80s look: “fastidious estate sale pillaging. Every weekend in the suburbs outside big cities there are time capsules being opened up for the discerning decorator to dig through. One dead man’s junk drawer is another man’s period perfect set dressing.”

READ MORE: ‘Stranger Things’ Demogorgon: Meet the Man Behind the Upside-Down’s Faceless Monster

Why the show was filmed in Atlanta: “The world we wanted to create should be ubiquitous, instantly familiar to everyone; Anytown, USA. Suddenly, Atlanta was an obvious choice. It served us so well because Atlanta proper and the various towns that surround it really represent a broad spectrum of archetypal Americana.”

Stranger Things Season 1

“Stranger Things”

Curtis Baker/Netflix

The importance he ascribes to the main house: “From the earliest outlines of the story, it was clear that the Beyer house was going to have its own, very intense, trajectory…before you get through the front door you start to know who the Beyers are and maybe what Will has been through.”

 

On the process of transforming that house into something more sinister than suburban: “With the Beyer house there was the added fun of building to accommodate an invading monster and a mother with an axe and christmas lights, coming unhinged, tearing the place apart in an attempt to communicate with her son trapped in another dimension. Also, we had to do a version of it completely covered in the membranous tentacles and slime of the Upside Down.”

READ MORE: ‘Stranger Things’: How the Netflix Drama’s Sonic Environment Was Created

And the inventive work it required: “One of my favorite replacement walls was made by printing our wallpaper pattern directly on sheets of latex.”

 

How the Cold War influenced the show: “It was important that Hawkins Laboratory feel like an imposing, threatening entity looming secretly in your backyard. In that way, it works as a physical reflection of the Reagan Era, residual Red Scare, Cold War anxiety that’s lying just under the surface in Hawkins, Indiana.”

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