The Production Design Shines On The Set Of Artemis Fowl
It’s been a long time coming for the film adaption of Artemis Fowl. Originally, the adaption of the first book in the popular children’s series was supposed to arrive in theaters last year, but due to various circumstances that we are all too familiar with, Artemis will finally arrive on Disney Plus on June 12th.
I traveled to London to visit the set of Artemis Fowl, and while there I was blown away by the amount of work that the team had put into recreating the world of the books, in particular the care that went into Artemis Manor. For those who have read the novel, Artemis Manor is the stately home of the Fowl’s, a mansion that has been in the family for generations.
The Manor is as much a character as Artemis Fowl is, and it has been lovingly brought to life by the production team. Set Director Celia Bobak had this to say about the design of the manor:
It changed per century and then maybe it was renovated in the 18th century when the family had some money and finally we arrive in the 19th century, where we imagine this house was built. And then, into that brings a more modern lens to bring us through into the 20th and 21st centuries. But always in the back of my mind there has been the thought that we’re in Ireland and you have to got a warmth in the house and it’s a family and it’s got to be a really cozy place for Artemis to, and so, velvet curtains, the use of fabrics and warm Persian carpets to give it a really good family home and this is sort of inspiration and his quirkiness comes.
Let me tell you, when it comes to the production design of this manor, the team just doesn’t miss. I was hoping I could move into the house, even if the plumbing was non-functional. Outhouses can’t be that bad can they? Every inch of the place was done up to perfection, with the kitchen and the library being particular favorites of mine.
One part of the house that I would have to redecorate is the hallway which housed the portraits of the Fowls and the Butlers. A little backstory, in the original series the Fowl family has been served for generations by the Butler family. In fact, the Butler’s are so good at their jobs, that every butler in the history of butlers takes their name from this particular family. It gets better, the Fowls, at least those shown in the hallway are coded as Caucasian, while the Butler’s are all of African descent; albeit with white hair and blue eyes, like male versions of the X-Men’s Storm.
It will be interesting to see how this relationship is tackled in the actual film, as such care has gone into the production on every level. Each of the various magical races in the film have been researched and developed down to the last detail. The Lower Elements Police clothing and equipment has been designed to reflect their culture and the unique way in which a fairy police force would operate. On the opposite side of the spectrum, Josh Gad’s dwarven character, Mulch Diggums, a dwarf who digs through the earth, has been designed to reflect the idea of someone who eats his way through the world. Makeup designer Alexis Continente on Mulch’s design:
Mulch belongs to that dwarf family. … His beard comes alive, he’s going to be able to open the safe pulling the hair out of the ears. Another characteristic is he can tunnel in. What he does is to put the mouth in the ground and he can make a tunnel. What we did in that case, we wanted to show how the hair was coming out of the ears, so we applied a little wire there. Our friends from visual effects obviously made that alive. In that case, when he transformed to a normal look, the big mouth, what we have done is to add a few teeth.
Adding a few teeth is the same as saying they added a few books to the Fowl’s library, where they sourced over twelve thousand tomes to fill the space. With such care being taken to the production, I’m sure that the same care is being shown to the characters and their various relationships. We will have much more from our set visit coming up, and check for Artemis Fowl on Disney Plus on June 12th.