Filmmakers strive for period authenticity — up to a point.
Take Ridley Scott’s “Exodus: Gods and Kings.” Set decorator Celia Bobak said she took certain liberties. For example, tables in ancient Egypt were low to the ground — a look that she felt contemporary audiences might find laughable.
Similarly, cinematographer Dariusz Wolski requested the use of silk fabrics to enhance the film’s warm, golden-color palette, even though linen and wool were more period-specific.
Bobak added that materials used for creating the furniture “were anything but authentic,” but were made to look so by a team of painters who paid attention to surface decoration and detail.
Working with production designer Arthur Max, a frequent Scott collaborator, Bobak researched the period by visiting the Cairo Museum and Egyptian archives in Europe. Once the duo established the look of each set, prop makers, graphic designers and carpenters brought everything to life.
Hieroglyphics seen as surface decorations on ceilings, columns and furniture were especially challenging. A computer program helped create them.
Bobak has re-teamed with Max on Scott’s upcoming sci-fi project “The Martian,” currently in production in Hungary.