Graphic of a two-headed lizard from eXistenZ

Transcript: Dead Ringers: Sets

CAROL SPIER: The hospital in Dead Ringers was kind of… . It started out with us going out looking for a location, because our budget was not that great. I think we looked at every hospital that we were allowed to shoot in in Toronto. And David and I would come back from every trip to a hospital going, “Oh boy, that’s really boring.” Or it’s like, really dull.

So I tried to figure out some way that we could possibly afford to build it, knowing our budget was very low. I thought about doing something that was a modular theme. We built modular set pieces. Because it was an octagonal shape to start with, we had corner pieces that were like columns that were built to look like steel – or to look like steel – and then we had walls. All of these things floated so that we could keep it an octagonal shape, we could open it up, we could expand it to become a bigger shape or a smaller shape. So all these pieces moved around to create the operating room, which had a viewing room off of it; the hospital room where he’s recovering; an office; a cafeteria; and I think one other room, which I can’t remember exactly what it was. But all these rooms were all the same set pieces that all moved around to create a different space.

In Dead Ringers the Mantle Clinic and the apartment of the twins was all pretty much based on, at that point, very modern Italian-type architecture. We wanted it to be really cold, and steel, and not terribly inviting. So everything is angular, with a lot of sharp edges and again, very grey and steel-like.