are people who know all the books, and they know all these
specifics, and if you screw up, you know, they get really
upset. So, I finally found this amazing book that sort of
reinforced my thoughts of how the brownstone was. Before building
all the sets, I worked up the whole floor plan.
A&E: The set is so elaborate, you can shoot from any
direction. How did you start? Where did you start? And why
is it so much like a working, living brownstone in every possible
direction? Not flat like so many sets, but real rooms?
LHB: Well, for Nero, you know, that's his life. I think
to portray him accurately, it was important to create this
huge brownstone. He's kind of a larger than life character,
and I think it has to be believable. There's a lot being shot
in each room. You know, Fritz (Nero's personal chef) has a
desk in here, and he has his table there, so everything is
as per written.
What kind of a building was this before you created Nero's
brownstone out of it?
LHB: We are in a warehouse. It was somewhat converted
by another film company before, but essentially it's a warehouse.
So, there are sound baffles everywhere, and everybody has
to be quiet. We can't build sets while they're shooting, so
we have to sometimes start at four in the morning to get them
stage we were in before had no columns. And now, because we're
adding all these sets, we needed a much bigger space. I had
to kind of squeeze the set into the only space that would
allow for it with the grid of the columns. I was very lucky
the way the columns worked. The module fit the set, which
was very lucky, so we didn't have to rebuild too much of it.
Everyone's really excited about the project. What's it like
working with Tim Hutton as a director?
LHB: Oh, Tim is incredibly smart. I enjoy it because
he's very visual. Not all directors I've worked with are visual.
He has an idea of how the thing should look, so he can pick
up the added dimension that Rex Stout was trying to get at
when he wrote these books. Things are a little odd, a little
quirky, and we're both on the same page as far as that's concerned.
Now, you have the responsibility of bringing to life these
descriptions. You get to realize every reader's favorite fantasyto
get into a book and bring it to life. You're reading the book,
and actually get to make it into 3-D. What's that like?
LHB: I love it. It's fantastic, especially with characters
like Nero Wolfe and Archie. They're such strong, vibrant characters,
and they're so specific in the way they live. It's great to
be able to bring it all to life.
How closely do you work with construction?
LHB: Oh, all the time. I have to focus on the construction,
and I have to understand how the set is to be built, bearing
in mind the constraints of time and money. I do drawings and
sketches, and then we have it all drawn out, and the carpenters
build from there. I'm constantly supervising and making sure
everything is built to specs. We have a great construction
department, so it's really cool.