When looking at filming locations for “The Zone of Interest,” producer James Wilson was hoping that they might be able to use the Rudolf Höss house, which is still standing next to Auschwitz. The fact that it is now a private residence that’s been modernized canceled that idea but he would soon find the perfect place to film. “Where we ended up doing it was almost next to that house, a few hundred meters away on a corner plot that abuts Auschwitz. There was a derelict house that we always used to pass as we were moving around town,” he tells Gold Derby during our recent webchat (watch the exclusive video interview above).
“The Zone of Interest,” which is currently in theaters, is from Jonathan Glazer and marks his first film in 10 years. The film centers on Höss, the commandant of the concentration camp at Auschwitz. Living directly next door to the camp, Höss seeks to build an idealistic life for his wife and five children while also maximizing the “efficiency” of the camp as part of his job. The film has now been nominated for five Oscars including Best International Feature, Best Director and Best Picture for Wilson.
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In addition to the renovations to the house to make it appropriate for the time, the production designer took very particular measures to make the outside of the house look right. “Chris Oddy basically took about five months and he grew and cultivated and built that garden, the walls, the pagoda, the greenhouse…grew the lawn, the flowers and the vegetables in it.”
Wilson also credits the filming technique that was employed by Glazer to help communicate the right tone for the film. The house and garden had ten cameras placed throughout the property and Glazer would do long takes while he and the crew were in another location. “We were all in a shipping container on the other side of the wall with ten monitors inside looking at all these different cameras. That methodology partly created the tone, but those were things that we started exploring after we already had a script.”
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