Stranger Things 4

Stranger Things 4 VFX Supervisor Justin Mitchell on Creating That Epic Helicopter Crash and the Attack on the Rainbow Room

Following a long COVID delay, Stranger Things 4 finally premiered in May nearly three years after Season 3, with two volumes, no less, to keep in suspense regarding the fate of Hawkins. On July 1, the Duffer brothers unleashed the explosive finale, which saw Eleven and her friends battling an onslaught of evil forces, including Vecna, who was dead set on destroying them limb by limb. Megafans of the supernatural […]

Dennis Lehane

Black Bird Showrunner Dennis Lehane on Apple’s Chilling Prison Series Starring Taron Egerton

Black Bird showrunner Dennis Lehane doesn’t micromanage. It was, truth be told, a major concern of his as he made the leaps from novelist to screenwriter, screenwriter to producer, and producer to showrunner. “You’ve heard a lot of people who are good showrunners are micromanagers,” Lehane told Below the Line during a recent Zoom call. “I’m not a micromanager. When I came on [Black Bird], I started to hire, and […]

Mayor of Kingstown

Mayor of Kingstown Production Designer John Willett on Shooting in a Prison During a Pandemic & Designing Depressing Sets

The fading town of Kingstown, Michigan is a town that’s supported by prisons — seven of them in all, housing 20,000 people, within a 10-mile radius. The prisons, and the economic infrastructure that supports them, have replaced former factories and warehouses. Prison isn’t just a way of life to these people, it’s their entire life… and sometimes, death, too. The Paramount+ series Mayor of Kingstown stars Jeremy Renner as Mike McLusky, […]

Jane Petrie

The Essex Serpent Costume Designer Jane Petrie on Putting Cowboy Couture Into Her Period Creations

The Essex Serpent, streaming on Apple TV+ is a mixture of forbidden love with a hearty dose of folklore. Based on the novel by Sarah Perry, the six episodes center on London widow Cora Seaborne (Claire Danes), a passionate paleontologist, who moves to the coastal town of Essex to investigate reports of a mythical water serpent spreading terror among the villagers. While consulting with the dashing married town pastor Will […]

Elie Smolkin

The Offer DP Elie Smolkin on Recreating the Classic Look of The Godfather While Putting His Own Stamp on the Paramount+ Series

Growing up, Elie Smolkin loved movies. He and his family shared a routine, wherein Elie, his brother, and their mother would drop by their local Blockbuster, and each got to pick one new movie from the expensive aisle and four from the 99-cent aisle. On weekends, they’d sit and watch all the movies. “We had such different tastes,” Smolkin told Below the Line during a recent conversation. “I was obsessed […]

Jenny Lumet Alex Kurtzman

Jenny Lumet and Alex Kurtzman on Star Trek: Strange New Worlds and The Man Who Fell to Earth, and How They Handle Criticism

Interviewing Jenny Lumet and Alex Kurtzman is almost as entertaining as their current projects, Showtime’s The Man Who Fell to Earth and the Paramount+ series Star Trek: Strange New Worlds. Lumet and Kurtzman are longtime friends and frequent collaborators who serve as both writers and producers on the two shows. Kurtzman, of course, is also the current boss of the Star Trek television universe, which includes not just Strange New […]


Hacks Costume Designer Kathleen Felix-Hager on Making Jean Smart Look Fabulous as Deborah Vance

Season 2 of Hacks just finished streaming on HBO Max last month, and once again, creators Lucia Aniello, Jen Statsky, and Paul W. Downs have outdone themselves regarding what happens with the relationship between Jean Smart’s aging stand-up veteran Deborah Vance and Hannah Einbinder’s younger and more idealistic comedy writer Ava. Over the course of eight episodes, the two women hit the road to test out new material for Deborah’s impending […]

Keri Smith

Keri Smith, Costume Designer for The Goldbergs and Live in Front of a Studio Audience, on Using Fashion to Honor the Past

Keri Smith is living in the past, and she loves it. The veteran Costume Designer has worked on contemporary shows and movies, including I Hate My 30’s, My Boys, Answers to Nothing, and Happy Endings, but she’s spent the better part of the last decade happily ensconced in the ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s thanks to her work on The Goldbergs, Schooled, and ABC’s Live in Front of a Studio Audience specials, […]

Daniel Pemberton

Composer Daniel Pemberton on Scoring the Apple TV+ Shows The Afterparty and Slow Horses, Plus the Animated Pic The Bad Guys

Composer Daniel Pemberton has been exceedingly busy the past few years despite the world being fully immersed in a pandemic for the last two. Since 1994, Pemberton has been one of Hollywood’s go-to composers for film and television, and in 2021, he was nominated for his first Oscar — not for one of his terrific scores but for co-writing “Hear My Voice” with Celeste for The Trial of the Chicago […]


Peacemaker VFX Supervisor Betsy Paterson on Creating John Cena’s Flying Sidekick and Other Wild Things for James Gunn’s Hit Series

Betsy Paterson has been working in visual effects for over 25 years, but she has found a niche for herself of late as VFX Supervisor for television shows like Marco Polo and Carnival Row. After finishing last year’s movie, The Suicide Squad, filmmaker James Gunn decided to spin-off John Cena’s Peacemaker character into his very own HBO Max series, and Paterson signed on as VFX Supe.  There were many visual […]