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Designing the Sets for Fox’s ‘Last Man on Earth’

Production designer Bruce Robert Hill loved the pilot that Will Forte wrote for “The Last Man on Earth,” the new Fox post-apocalyptic comedy set in 2020 in which Forte stars.

A deadly virus has wiped out most of the world’s population, and Forte’s character, Phil Miller, chooses to live in a treasure-filled McMansion located in a hot, dry and desolate Tucson. “That speaks to his nature,” says Hill. “It’s got a larger-than-life, pumped-up aesthetic that says, ‘Look at what we’ve become — excessive and materialistic.’”

Hill digitally altered photos, removing cars and people, to inform his solitary designs. The home’s loosely draped windows allowed d.p. Christian Sprenger to maximize natural light and capture the rich interior tones created by Hill’s team, offsetting the desert’s neutral color palette.

Working with set decorator Bob Gould, Hill also incorporated the personalities of the mansion’s former inhabitants into its various rooms. Layers of filth and decay will become increasingly noticeable in upcoming episodes, he says.

Hill’s team also created a virtual set replicating the neighborhood’s cul-de-sac and large, foreboding rocks — suggesting a future that’s a lonely, depopulated version of the past.

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