How wedding scenes pay homage to Ingmar Bergman’s 1973 miniseries through design
When a neglected house is a metaphor for the deteriorating marriage of its once happy inhabitants, as is the case in HBO’s new limited series Scenes from a wedding-a lot of thought goes into the creation of its interiors. Jessica Chastain and Oscar Isaac play the slowly breaking up alpha wife, Mira, and beta husband, Jonathan. She is a high level tech executive, mother and breadwinner who travels frequently. He is a non-practicing philosophy teacher with asthma who provides much of the care for their young daughter Ava.
The series is adapted from Ingmar Bergman’s 1973 miniseries, which was later edited into film and blamed for the increase in Swedish divorces. The low-budget sets in the original weren’t inspired, but Israeli writer / director Hagai Levi (In cure, the case) wanted the house in its update to be the âthird characterâ in the story and âlook and feel very different in each episode,â he said. A D. Her ever-changing interiors reflect the sometimes sparkling, sometimes crackling relationship between Mira and Jonathan.
A house in Mount Vernon, New York, was used in the exterior shots as a replacement for the fictitious Brookline, Massachusetts residence of the fictitious family. With its Doric columns, ramped porch and skylight, production designer Kevin Thompson says the two-story house, which he says dates from the 1920s, was chosen more for its location in an “accessible neighborhood. âThan for itsâ melee âarchitecture. style. âWe didn’t want to make the couple too rich, and we didn’t want to make them too poor,â he says.
Sets of Scenes from a wedding were built on a soundstage in the same town of Westchester. Thompson designed a layout similar enough to the real house to be believable, but with a “cinematically friendly” setup to accommodate cameras and lighting. Its open plan with a central hall, staircase, and windows on all sides is âa traditional American style that people are familiar with,â he says.