Production designer Chloe Arbiture (‘Manhunt’) video interview

“Something that we were all really drawn to is the ornamentation of the Victorian era,” explains “Manhunt” production designer Chloe Arbiture about taking a bolder approach to designing over 200 sets for what a well-known period in history: the aftermath of the assassination of the 16th U.S. President. “We wanted modern audiences to relate to it and to feel like there was a stake in it,” she explains about her team’s focus on ornamentation, decoration and detail. “When we look through; I mean even I’m guilty of it, but when I look through black and white photographs, I don’t really feel like this big human connection to things. But we all talked about how what makes the story human is color, is richness, is detail, and that’s something that really drove us through the entire creative process from the beginning to the end.” Watch our exclusive video interview above.

SEE Exclusive Video Interview: Monica Beletsky (‘Manhunt’ creator)

“Manhunt” was created by Monica Beletsky, adapted from James L. Swanson‘s book “Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer.” The part historical fiction, part conspiracy thriller follows Secretary of War Edwin Stanton’s search for John Wilkes Booth in the aftermath of President Abraham Lincoln‘s assassination while attending a play in the nation’s capital. Emmy winner Tobias Menzies (“The Crown”) stars as Stanton, whose tenacious search takes place against the backdrop of a nation in mourning, in the aftermath of the first American presidential assassination, and what would be uncovered as a larger conspiracy intended by Booth to revive the Confederate cause. The Apple TV+ limited series co-stars Anthony Boyle as Booth, Lovie Simone as Mary Simms, Glenn Morshower as Andrew Johnson, Will Harrison as David Herold, Brandon Flynn as Edwin Stanton Jr., Damian O’Hare as Thomas Eckert, Emmy and Grammy winner Patton Oswalt as Lafayette C. Baker, and Emmy nominees Matt Walsh as Samuel Mudd, Hamish Linklater as President Lincoln and Lili Taylor as First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln.

“‘Manhunt’ ended up being my dream project as a production designer,” Arbiture admits when looking back at the colossal challenge of creating the look and feel of the ambitious historical drama. “The period alone has so many incredible layers and details. But also, after speaking with Monica Beletsky the showrunner, and her vision for the show; she really wanted something standout and unique, and she really didn’t want to shy away from the color and texture and grit and layers, and that’s not something you always get in a period piece,” the Emmy-nominated production designer (for “Drunk History” in 2017) explains. “Oftentimes period pieces are sepia toned and desaturated and very buttoned-up and very neat and tidy. It was really exciting to make a world that was really none of those things.”

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