In March 2021, Premium Reporter interviewed Ondřej Nekvasil, the production designer for The Wheel of Time television series. The interview focused on his work as a whole, but there were some answers hidden behind a paywall related to The Wheel of Time that we found interesting. We’ve shared the relevant questions and answers below, but please keep in mind that they’ve been translated with Google Translate.
The first The Wheel of Time-related question confirmed that Ondřej was currently working on the show at the time of the interview and that the first season should be completed this year. He then gives some glimpses into what a work day looks like for him and what kind of world they’re crafting.
Q: So what does your day look like now?
It’s such a classic twelve-hour day, when I start at eight in the morning in the studio, where we design the decorations, and I’m there until about eight in the evening. And in the meantime, there are various meetings, inspection visits to the construction of decorations and workshops.
Q: Can you tell us what kind of world you are creating now?
It could be compared to our 16th or 17th century, in which different cultures intertwine. It is a world in which there are no firearms, still fighting with swords and bows. The chosen women in this world have the ability to control the forces of nature, for example, to unleash a storm or cut down a tree by thought alone. Only women can use this power, because when men have this power, they will abuse it. Men have physical power and women have magic. It is a classic duel of good and evil, a story of balance between good and evil, light and darkness.
Headquarters in Prague with shooting in other locations.
He also confirmed that the main headquarters for the production is in Prague, though shooting does take place in other countries. He then mentioned Morocco in an example, citing that he needs to be completely available to producers, even if it means going to Morocco on short notice.
As mentioned previously in our article about new costume designer Sharon Gilham, it’s interesting that Ondřej mentioned Morocco as an example of a place he might have to tour, as Sharon was “currently in early prep for a large-scale fantasy series shooting in Prague and Morocco.”
Finally, this answer is not specific to The Wheel of Time, but we thought it provided insight into the goal of the production designer, from Ondřej’s perspective.
Q: What is the reward for you: When people notice a scene, or when it falls so that they don’t actually register it?
It depends on what kind of movie it is. When you make a film from the present, it should look natural and unobtrusive. The viewer should not pay attention to what the decoration looks like and think about how difficult it must have been to produce a certain detail. If everything looks natural and organic, you have succeeded. You managed to seamlessly connect the world of the story with its narration. The task of the film architect is to make sure that the story fits well into the “scenery” in which it takes place, and that the viewer can focus mainly on the plot. I probably enjoy it the most when the film “works overall”. The moment when the script, acting, directing, camera, costumes, decorations create a natural but impressive world of a film story.
From the hints of production we have seen so far, the production design has been impressive, and the amount of care and hard work put into bringing the books to life has been evident. We can’t wait to see the final product.
How about you? What aspects of the world of The Wheel of Time are you most looking forward to seeing?