AirTalk for February 4, 2014

How Oscar nominee KK Barrett designed a futuristic LA for 'Her'

Her

Courtesy of Warner Bros. Picture

Still from the film, "Her."

39th Annual Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards - Red Carpet

Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images

Production Designer K.K. Barrett attends the 39th Annual Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards at InterContinental Hotel on January 11, 2014 in Century City, California.


Spike Jonze’s Oscar-nominated movie "Her" has garnered attention for its striking depiction of the not-so-distant future.

Set a few decades from now in a plausibly futuristic Los Angeles — with a denser skyline and better public transit system — "Her" tells the story of a man (Joaquin Phoenix) who falls in love with a sentient computer operating system, the disembodied voice of Scarlett Johansson.

Jonze and production designer K.K. Barrett worked together to craft a milieu where such a relationship seems possible: a minimalist high-rise apartment, downtown walkways, the retro phone-device Phoenix’s character uses to direct his technology.

The carefully constructed world intrigues but does not distract — keeping viewers focused on the human drama that drives "Her" — instead of its sci-fi elements.

Barrett has worked with Jonze in the past, bringing the imaginative world of Maurice Sendak’s children’s book to life in “Where the Wild Things Are” and designing the inside of John Malkovich’s mind in “Being John Malkovich.”

On Tuesday's AirTalk, Barrett tells Larry Mantle how he helped bring this tale of romance in the age of A.I. to life and the steps he took to fashion a near-future within imagination.

Take a look at the "Her" clip below to get just a taste of Barrett’s design.

Trailer for "Her"

Guest:  
K.K. Barrett, Oscar-nominated production designer of director Spike Jonze’s “Her;” Barrett’s production design credits also include “Lost in Translation,” “Being John Malkovich,” “Where the Wild Things Are,” “Marie Antoinette” and more.


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