I was the… production designer for The Favourite

Fresh from winning a BAFTA for her work on Yorgos Lanthimos’ brilliantly surreal take on the reign of Queen Anne, we speak to Fiona Crombie about creating everything from wheelchairs to rabbit cages, and making a period drama work on an indie film budget

Greek Director Yorgos Lanthimos has made a name for himself making films that sit somewhere between the surreal and the downright absurd. His 2017 film The Lobster, for instance, takes place in a dystopian near future, where single people are obliged to find a romantic partner in 45 days or are transformed into beasts and sent off into ‘The Woods’.

Lanthimos’ latest film and period drama debut, The Favourite, is an equally dark, comic tale of court rivalry and debauchery in 18th Century England. Loosely based on the real-life reign of Queen Anne (played by Olivia Colman), the film focuses on the rivalry between Lady Sarah Churchill (Rachel Weisz) and new maid Abigail (Emma Stone) as they compete for her affection.

The film has been the darling of the awards season so far, taking home a Golden Globe and no less than seven BAFTAs, including one for its production design. Fiona Crombie, whose previous credits include Macbeth and Mary Magdalene, is the woman behind the film’s stunning sets. Here, she discusses turning a modest £1.3 million budget into a world fit for a queen.