Variety Streaming Room: Television FYC
As typically goes with literary adaptations, “Lovecraft Country” executive producer, writer and director Misha Green began with Matt Ruff’s novel, which served as the series’ launching…
As typically goes with literary adaptations, “Lovecraft Country” executive producer, writer and director Misha Green began with Matt Ruff’s novel, which served as the series’ launching pad.
“We said, ‘OK, let’s take everything that’s super dope and amazing in this and now let’s get a bunch of writers together and build on that,” Green told film and media reporter Angelique Jackson in the Variety Streaming Room presented by HBO. They were also joined by production designer Kalina Ivanov, costume designer Dayna Pink and special visual effects artist Kevin Blank.
“I think the morsel was reclaiming genre spaces for people of color,” Green added.
From costumes to monsters, the “Lovecraft Country” visionaries were encouraged by Green to take their creativity to the next level. However, to stay true to the story, they “always talked about grounding the series in the 1950s reality,” Ivanov explained.
“You do have to be faithful to your characters and to the lives they live as Black people during the Jim Crow era,” Ivanov said. “We also agreed that historical places, like Tulsa, would be really accurate, but then we can go off the period, then off-script any time the genre took us to a new place.”
For example, for costuming, Pink explained that by using pieces that were accurate for the period, they could also incorporate a modern garment, but still have a decade-appropriate look. In a nod to Emmett Till, a young boy in Episode 3 wears a a white shirt and black-and-white striped tie similar to the one Till wore in a photo. The boy’s name is also Bobo, which was Till’s nickname.
In addition, the successful development of the monstrous shoggoths was all due to collaboration. It was a balance between imagination and sticking to “Lovecraft” lore. Blank began by presenting Green with various mood boards, which evolved into a “tiger-gorilla covered in eyeballs with a tail that could pierce people.” And in light of its fearsome set of chompers, Ivanov “wove that theme of teeth throughout the whole show.”
“To me, the devil’s in the details,” Green said. “That’s what I love about the crew that came together for this show because everybody is a devil’s-in-the-details person.”