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Tom Foden

Prod'n designer creates mindscapes

Growing up in Chester between the twin British working-class cities of Manchester and Liverpool, Tom Foden dreamed of being a racecar driver, however, this alumnus of the Rolls-Royce design department has found his career as a production designer on the fast track after his eye-popping dreamscapes for Nine Inch Nails’ “Closer,” Madonna’s “Bedtime Stories” and Tarsem Singh’s feature debut, “The Cell,” to his credit.

Although the visual and emotional vistas he creates are indelible — the sensuous sand dunes of “The Cell,” the stark, white spaceship in Michael and Janet Jackson’s “Scream,” which won him an MTV Video Award for art direction in 1995 — he describes his work as “changeable.”

In his most recent project, longtime musicvideo collaborator Mark Romanek’s “One Hour Photo,” he moves away from the retro feel of his work in Gus Van Sant’s “Psycho” and the otherworldly tableaus of “Cell” to create the three worlds surrounding Sy Parrish, a photo developer who becomes obsessed with the lives of his longtime customers, the Yorkins. He designed a clinical workplace and a home environment devoid of color to contrast the warm, modern home of the Yorkins.

“One of the challenges of the movie, because it’s present day and not really supposed to be too out there, was taking these three separate looks and having them balance colorwise. It was quite a challenge,” says Foden.

Although “One Hour Photo,” slated for a 2002 release, probes strange psychological ground, Foden does not see himself confined to the thriller genre. Married for a decade to production designer Deborah Evans (“Remember the Titans,” “Con Air”), he still hopes to someday do a movie that his daughter can see.

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