The latter says, “We compared research that we’d assembled.David trusts Carol and me to co-ordinate on a look because we know what he would or wouldn’t like.”Robert Lantos reveals, “David’s brilliant nucleus of distinguished craftspeople will turn down all other offers whenever he makes a movie; their loyalty to him is a fantastic asset for a film and its producers.”Suschitzky notes, “The fact that we all know each other helps cut through a lot of the inessentials that go on in a production.While the cast, setting, and subject are indeed unique for a David Cronenberg film, the crew that convened to help bring the story to the screen is characterized by long-time creative collaborators whose associations with the director began years ago and are still going strong., the concept for Spier’s design was to show two worlds co-existing in London.Spier notes, “We contrast Anna’s middle-class existence - the home where she lives with her mother and uncle, and the hospital where she works - with the more opulent crime world of Nikolai’s ‘family.’”The exterior of Whittington Hospital was an easy enough match for the story’s fictional hospital, but far more important was the Trans-Siberian restaurant; while the exterior is an empty building offering some visual texture and historical detail, Spier designed a lush interior.Denise Cronenberg adds, “As Nikolai, Viggo Mortensen needed to be intimidating, yet there was a limitation because technically he is a chauffeur for the family.So the trick was to dress him in a suit and tie, dress shirt, coat and gloves, and smart sunglasses, all of which had convey that there is more to him.It’s whatever he thinks Catherine the Great might have done.”For the sequence revolving around an extended family holiday feast hosted by Semyon, food consultant Syvena Rowe, a specialist in Russian cuisine, was called in to prepare the meal.“It was like putting together a party,” laughs Spier.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Anna is not really thinking that much about what she wears because she has so much else on her mind.
I combined various elements and images, from lamps to paintings to mouldings to pictures of food.
Semyon didn’t come from that world; he’s trying very hard, so it’s just a little bit off, with a little too much kitsch thrown in.
Syvena is a Bulgarian woman who specializes in Eastern European cooking and has written books on it.
We welcomed the authenticity that she provided because food is very symbolic and emblematic of ‘the old country’ still alive in London. But when we first went looking for this subculture, we couldn’t find it because it’s not quite as cohesive as he has written it.