Ronin - Production Design

Last Update: 19 September 1998

MICHAEL Z. HANAN (Production Designer) has collaborated with John Frankenheimer on his last five projects: Against the Wall (as production designer), The Burning Season, Andersonville and George Wallace (as production designer and second unit director) and The Island of Dr. Moreau (second unit director and special visual effects supervisor.)

His work on Andersonville earned Hanan a Cable ACE Award for best art direction as well as an Emmy Award nomination. He received another ACE nomination for his contribution to George Wallace, as well as an Excellence in Production Design from the Society of Motion Picture Art Directors. Born in Los Angeles, Hanan studied history and political theory before getting interested in animation. The release of Star Wars in 1977 shifted his interest to visual effects. He ultimately worked as art director under Richard Sylbert (earning an Emmy Award in 1985 for his work on the Hallmark Hall of Fame production of The Hugga Bunch), before becoming the production designer for the visually stunning television series Miami Vice during its 1987-88 season.

Since then, Hanan has been the production designer on an eclectic collection of feature films, including Split Decision, Pet Semetary, Psycho IV, Excessive Force and My Boyfriend's Back. His television credits include Roswell, Drug Wars: The Enrique Camerena Story, Heartbeat, Drug Wars II: The Cocaine Cartel and The Fear Inside. Hanan won an American Music Award in 1986 for his art direction on the Madonna Video "Open Your Heart."

He has also directed advertising trailers and supervised the visual effects on main titles for both Universal and Paramount Pictures, designing and directing the 75th anniversary logo for the latter studio.

"Building sets for modern movies is something we've forgotten to do for a while, but it makes a lot of sense. It gives you perfect control of dimensions, proportions, lighting and sound. A movie set is a shorthand version of reality you take every element that is necessary to tell the story in as much detail as possible and eliminate the unnecessary stuff."

"John wanted muted colors," Hanan says. "Although there are specific colors in this film, they never overwhelm anyone in the scene, and each of these colors has a purpose and a precise emotional function."

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