Production Designer Arthur Max on ‘The Martian’, Ridley Scott, and Stanley Kubrick

     December 26, 2015


While we post a lot of interviews with actors, directors, and producers, the staff and I decided it’s time to make a point to talk with people who don’t necessarily get the spotlight. The fact is that a movie is only as good as its “below the line” crew, and all of us at Collider have long felt that they aren’t given enough credit. To try and rectify this, you can look forward to more interviews with costume designers, production designers, composers, editors, cinematographers, and other craftspeople that work to bring these stories to life.

In this spirit, I recently sat down with The Martian production designer Arthur Max. Unlike most interviews where we tend to focus on one film, I used my time with him to talk about the job as a whole, and what goes on behind the scenes. Of course we also talked about making The Martian, collaborating with Ridley Scott, developing their own gravity wheel that recalls 2001: A Space Odyssey, an unannounced 15th century medieval fantasy movie he’s working on instead of the new Alien movie, and more. If you’re interested in what it’s really like to be a production designer on a big movie, you’re going to love this conversation. As usual I’ve listed what we talked about below the video.

The Martian will arrive on Blu-ray/DVD January 12th. You can click here for all our previous coverage on the film, including clips, our review, images, trailers, and more.

Arthur Max

  • When did you realize The Martian would be a special movie?
  • What is the biggest misconception that people have about what you do?
  • How soon are you on a movie and when do you leave?
  • On collaborating with director Ridley Scott.
  • On the constraints of the science and technology behind the story.
  • On his interest in rockets and ‘50s and ‘60s space movies.
  • Discussing the inspiration of Stanley Kubrick’s work for The Martian, and developing their own 2001: A Space Odyssey-esque gravity wheel.
  • What’s the hardest part of your job and the most rewarding?
  • When did you decide that you wanted to be a production designer?
  • On leaving architecture for production design.
  • How did you break into the industry?
  • On The Knight, an unannounced 15th century medieval fantasy movie he’s working on instead of the new Alien


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