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HomeCraftsArt DirectionA Look Behind The Chicago Franchise

A Look Behind The Chicago Franchise

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Rick LeFevour
Rick LeFevour

Famed producer, Dick Wolf, has said that it’s been a literal dream come true to have his three shows in the Chicago franchise working in concert. The new charter kicked off with Chicago Fire in 2012 and has given birth to a trio of hits. Due to the nature of these emergency based shows, there is a constant need for stunt work. Their chief stunt coordinator, Rick LeFevour has worked on such massive epics like Christopher Nolan‘s Batman Begins (2005) as well as The Dark Knight (2008), citing dealing with the bat mobile as a highlight.

As stunt coordinator on Chicago Fire, Le Fevour marveled at how lucky he is to have a cast that can handle all the physicality in their scenes. “They really are athletes.” His specialty is huge stunt fires. “What you see is 99% real. In the second season alone, we had over thirty windows on fire at the same time. The crew dropped a whole building – there were people hanging from the third floor.”

Gregory Van Horn
Gregory Van Horn

And where there’s fire, there’s naturally Chicago PD. After a few characters were introduced in Chicago Fire, production segued to the next protraction of Dick Wolf world. When production designer, Gregory Van Horn set about his research process, he knew where to turn since “Dick was interested in a specific police district station. The one he loved was Hill Street Blues, so we used that exteriors and took architectural cues from there.” The big challenge was creating that look within six weeks time. His proudest work on the show, however, was creating a state’s attorney’s office. He worked closely with Dick Wolf and his team to create a sense that the working office was “carefully worn down.”

Patricia Schneider, who has been nominated for an Excellence in Design Award (for the series, The Playboy Club), worked to further “recreate the havoc of the state’s attorney’s office.” After working with cartels and a vastly different environment last season, she was ready for any challenge. She laughed that, “some days it’s like, okay now we’re going to create a casino.” After feverishly working on the state department set, even her technical advisors were blown away by what the crew could accomplish in such short time. Working closely with the props department, graphics and the art department, the team was able to bring Wolf’s vision to fruition.

Lex DuPont
Lex DuPont

Chicago Med followed suit in 2015 and the crew went about redesigning the main set around the fourth episode. Cinematographer, Lex DuPont, managed to work around the construction. Originally producers felt it was too big of a space for hospital rooms and that specific environment. Given four blank walls and a vision, he’s proud of making the medical exam rooms look interesting and believable whether it’s supposed to be day or night. With only eight days to shoot per episode, they “don’t even do a break out second unit.” Originally from the east coast, the DP has worked on a myriad of high profile projects from Twin Peaks to John HughesHome Alone. When asked if he was related to the DuPonts, he laughed, “Well if you’re from Wilmington, Delaware, you better be related to the DuPonts.”

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