The Designs of Guy Hendrix Dyas

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Stryker Base (X2)

Guy Dyas's concept sketch for the entrance to William Stryker's base, which was built in the snowy mountains of Calgary. Artwork © Guy Hendrix Dyas, Courtesy of Guy Hendrix Dyas.

A gallery featuring the art, designs and ideas of production designer Guy Hendrix Dyas

Thanks to a rich imagination and an artist's eye (and pen), Guy Hendrix Dyas has built a career on his ability to turn the words of screenwriters into sumptuous visual worlds on film. He began his career as an industrial designer, moving quickly into film work as an illustrator on such films as Mimic, Armageddon, GalaxyQuest, The Cell, and The Matrix Reloaded. By 2003 he began working as a production designer, with , followed by The Brothers Grimm, Superman Returns, and Elizabeth: The Golden Age. Impressed with his work on Superman Returns, Spielberg hired him as production designer for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, and Dyas followed this with Agora in 2009. In 2010, Dyas designed the production for Christopher Nolan's blockbuster Inception, for which Dyas received a BAFTA, Art Directors Guild, Los Angeles Film Critics Association awards, and a 2011 Oscar nomination for Best Achievement in Art Direction, shared with Larry Dias and Douglas A. Mowat.

"I try and sketch out as many ideas as possible while also researching everything from the subject matter, to the architecture, to reading relevant books, watching documentaries, and visiting museums," adds Dyas. "I find those early days of preproduction very enjoyable, as you’re able to let your imagination run wild, and everything is still possible."

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Marbaden Village (Overview)

Another key location sketch by Guy Hendrix Dyas for The Brothers Grimm, providing a glimpse of the town as the crow flies. Artwork © Guy Hendrix Dyas, Courtesy of Guy Hendrix Dyas.

"An early concept sketch showing an overview of Marbaden Village for The Brothers Grimm, and the various sets that were built at Barrandov Studios in Prague," comments Dyas. "Most of the sets were used as both interiors and exteriors."

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Karlstadt Color Elevation

This color elevation by Dyas was created to depict the styles of the facades built for the exterior Karlstadt town set for The Brothers Grimm. Artwork © Guy Hendrix Dyas, Courtesy of Guy Hendrix Dyas.

"I jumped at the chance to work with Terry Gilliam," comments Dyas, "because he has such a strong sense of style, and I knew I would learn a lot from the collaboration."

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Marbaden Village Church Sketch

Guy Hendrix Dyas's concept sketch for the exterior Marbaden Village church set, for The Brothers Grimm. Artwork © Guy Hendrix Dyas, Courtesy of Guy Hendrix Dyas.

Guy Hendrix Dyas's concept sketch for the exterior Marbaden Village church set, for Terry Gilliam's The Brothers Grimm. Comments Dyas, "Terry spent a lot of time in the art department with us, and the costume department, working on details and ideas."

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Anatomy of a Torture Chamber

Dyas's concept art for a torture chamber in Terry Gilliam's The Brothers Grimm. Artwork © Guy Hendrix Dyas, Courtesy of Guy Hendrix Dyas.

How do you design a torture chamber? As Guy Dyas's art for The Brothers Grimm shows, one concept sketch at a time. When built and brought to life on film from Dyas's designs, Delatombe's torture chamber manages to be macabre, clever and darkly funny.

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The Mirror Queen's Throne

The Mirror Queen's throne, by Guy Hendrix Dyas for The Brothers Grimm. Artwork © Guy Hendrix Dyas, Courtesy of Guy Hendrix Dyas.

Guy Dyas's concept art and clay model of the intricate and beautiful Mirror Queen's throne, from The Brothers Grimm. The throne can be seen in the interior tower scenes where the brothers ultimately face down the Queen.

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The Mirror Queen (The Brothers Grimm)

Monica Bellucci in The Brothers Grimm. Dyas jumped at the chance to work with Terry Gilliam on the film because "he has such a strong sense of style, and I knew I would learn a lot from the collaboration.". Photo © Dimension Films. All Rights Reserved.
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The Crone's House

Dyas's concept sketch for The Crone House, one of Marbaden Village's houses, in The Brothers Grimm. "When you watch Terry’s films, you immediately notice his artistic influence and distinctive style," adds Dyas, "and those things really appealed to me.". Artwork © Guy Hendrix Dyas, Courtesy of Guy Hendrix Dyas.

"For each film, I sketch as much as possible -- not only because I enjoy it as a design process, but because it’s still the best communication tool," says Dyas.

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Marbaden Forest Concept Sketch

This atmospheric and beautiful early concept sketch by Dyas for The Brothers Grimm depicts the Marbaden Forest set, along with the river and the entrance to the wolf's cave. Artwork © Guy Hendrix Dyas, Courtesy of Guy Hendrix Dyas.

"When you watch Terry’s films, you immediately notice his artistic influence and his distinctive style -- those were things that really appealed to me," comments Dyas.

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Concept Sketch, Cavaldi's Carriage

Dyas created this delicate and intricate sketch when designing Cavaldi's carriage for The Brothers Grimm.. Artwork © Guy Hendrix Dyas, Courtesy of Guy Hendrix Dyas.

Every little detail counts when it comes to production design. Notice the delicate lines and deliberately aged canvas in this sketch for the dark fairytale world of The Brothers Grimm, giving Dyas's sketch the appearance of old parchment.

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The Watermill

The early concept design sketch for the Watermill set for The Brothers Grimm. Artwork © Guy Hendrix Dyas, Courtesy of Guy Hendrix Dyas.

The haunting and eerie quality of this concept art for The Brothers Grimm sets the stage perfectly for the witch attack that takes place here in the film.

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Elizabeth: The Golden Age

The concept art for a VFX shot showing Elizabeth I entering Old St. Paul's Cathedral, in Elizabeth: The Golden Age. Artwork © Guy Hendrix Dyas, Courtesy of Guy Hendrix Dyas.

During the time depicted in Elizabeth: The Golden Age, "[Elizabeth I's] personal style was influencing every aspect of the early English Renaissance," says Dyas.

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Cate Blanchett as Elizabeth I in 'Elizabeth: The Golden Age'

Cate Blanchett in Elizabeth: The Golden Age. Dyas comments that from a design standpoint, Elizabethan England is "an interesting time period to portray, because in this period England isn't heavily influenced by the arts of Italy and France.". © Universal Pictures

"When working on a period film like Elizabeth: The Golden Age, one of the primary design challenges is to be able to remain historically accurate while creating a fresh and original look," comments Dyas. "Our sets for Elizabeth: The Golden Age ranged from recreating Whitehall Palace and surrounding London, to a full-scale Spanish Galleon and Sir Walter Raleigh’s ship the Tyger."

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The Daily Planet

A concept sketch by Dyas for the exterior of the Daily Planet for Superman Returns. Artwork © Guy Hendrix Dyas, Courtesy of Guy Hendrix Dyas.

For Dyas's design of The Daily Planet building for Superman Returns, "we built a set of the street level entrance and also the rooftop," adds Dyas. The building's shadows help to quietly emphasize the film's setting in a post-9-11 world. "I’m very grateful to have had solid training in industrial design before I even set foot in the film world. Not only did it allow me to develop a very practical design sense but it also made me strive for realism no matter the genre of film I’m working on -- fantasy, historical, contemporary," he adds.

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Director Steven Spielberg and Production Designer Guy Hendrix Dyas

Guy Hendrix Dyas and director Steven Spielberg, on the set of Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull. Photo: © David James, Paramount Pictures, Courtesy of Guy Hendrix Dyas

Spielberg reportedly hired Dyas as Production Designer on Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull after being impressed with his work for Superman Returns.

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Akator Temple (Entrance)

The Temple of Akator (concept art), by Guy Hendrix Dyas, for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.. Artwork © Guy Hendrix Dyas, Courtesy of Guy Hendrix Dyas.

An early concept sketch by Dyas showing the scale and style of the entrance to Akator temple, for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

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The Temple of Akator

For Steven Spielberg on Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Dyas created this concept sketch showing the column mechanism at the top of the pyramid in Akator. Artwork © Guy Hendrix Dyas, Courtesy of Guy Hendrix Dyas.

Guy Dyas's concept art of the Temple of Akator, from Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. This particular sketch is a great reminder that production designers don't just design the way things look, but the way they move and function within the film, as well.

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Saito's Castle Concept Sketch

This beautiful early concept art by Dyas for Inception shows the exterior of Saito's Castle, as well as the beachfront for the film's opening scene. Artwork © Guy Hendrix Dyas, Courtesy of Guy Hendrix Dyas.

For Inception, Nolan gave Dyas significant creative freedom when creating the movie's striking dream worlds. For Saito's castle, for instance, the script originally simply called for a castle, but "to me it made sense that it would be a Japanese castle," adds Dyas, and this detail resulted in an unforgettable and iconic setting that added subtext to Saito (Ken Watanabe) and his scenes with Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio).

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Designing 'Inception'

Joseph Gordon-Levitt in Inception. Photo: © Warner Bros Pictures

Comments production designer Dyas: "Inception had many challenging sets to build, but it also offered many wonderful design opportunities, while having to accommodate some extremely intricate action scenes and stunts."

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Saito's Castle

Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ken Watanabe and Leonardo DiCaprio in Inception. © Warner Bros Pictures

"The hundreds of lanterns strung along the ceiling were based on something I’d seen in Japanese temples during certain traditional holidays," comments Dyas. "It was a way to add interest and warmth to this scene without cluttering the space. Our furnishings were minimal because the painted gold leaf murals and the glow from the lanterns were all that Japanese dining room really needed to come alive."

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Inside the Castle ('Inception')

Leonardo DiCaprio in 'Inception.'. © Warner Bros Pictures

Comments Dyas, "[The castle's interior] gave my set decorating team and I a chance to create a subtle, dreamlike quality, especially when it came to choosing colors, materials, lighting and furnishings."