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Production designer John Goldsmith reflects on the 140 locations of ‘Perry Mason’ [EXCLUSIVE VIDEO INTERVIEW]

“Overall, there was something like 130 or 140 locations, which is a crazy amount of locations and we had four stages with I think 26 stage builds on them,” reveals production designer John Goldsmith about the first season of the “Perry Mason” reboot with Emmy Award winner Matthew Rhys starring as the iconic detective in early-1930s Los Angeles.

Despite HBO reportedly spending an extravagant $9 million per episode, Goldsmith notes in an exclusive interview with Gold Derby (watch the video above), “There was also a reality to what we had you know what people call how much sand was there in the sandbox to play with, and we had to be careful.” Goldsmith got creative as such by converting sets like the morgue from early episodes to the radio ministry that appears later in the eight-part season. He explains, “We tried to be smart — strategic in how we could reuse sets that we already had so yeah we were really fortunate. We got to do so much.”

The third “chapter” of “Perry Mason” earned Goldsmith his fifth nomination at the Art Directors Guild Awards and first in the Best TV Period/Fantasy Production Design category. His 97-page design presentation for consideration there (mentioned in the interview) breaks down this work that is now eligible at the 2021 Emmy Awards.

He says broadly about approaching this drama series, “One of the things that we tried to accent was the fact that the world was changing so radically in terms of how people that lived traditionally through the centuries and how modernity, which we take for granted, now was approaching really fast, so it’s a time of tremendous change and modernization. I don’t know if you think of that when you think of the 1930s — I don’t: I think of the depression; I think of prohibition; I think of maybe the Olympics.”

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