Assistant Art Director
During the production of Cleopatra, DeCuir Jr. was tasked with building an archway that Elizabeth Taylor would enter through on a sphinx. Over time, his measurements became inaccurate. He stumbled onto the set the day of filming expecting the worst, but was surprised when Taylor and the sphinx managed to just pass through. It was later revealed that DeCuir Jr.’s team realized his mistake and spent the night before removing almost twelve inches from the ground beneath the arch so that she would make it through.
Raise the Titanic (1980)
With DeCuir Sr. as Production Designer and DeCuir Jr. as Art Director, this father and son project has inspired designers since its release in 1984. This film is largely admired for the presence and even character of the main building, 55 Central Park West, designed by John DeCuir Sr.
“[Spook Central] played such an important role that in my mind it became a character in the film,” says DeCuir Jr. 55 Central Park West was so important to the story that it was fabricated from many different parts to create a narrative environment that was just right. The lower street and main part of the building were filmed on location in New York, where the real building exists. However, they couldn’t cause a sinkhole and explosion on the streets of Manhattan so they recreated the street on a stage in Los Angeles. The temple and the upper floors of the building were created with matte paintings, miniatures, and full-size sets for shots throughout the movie. DeCuir Sr. constructed both Dana’s and Louis’ apartments as a single unit at The Burbank Studios in LA. You can learn more about the process of creating Spook Central in the Connectivity lesson in The Pillars of Design.
Fright Night (1985)
Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life is Calling (1986)
Top Gun (1986)
Legal Eagles (1986)
Double Agent (1987) (TV series)
Earth Stay Voyager (1988) (TV series)
Turner & Hooch (1989)