‘The Twilight Zone’: How Jordan Peele Updated ‘Nightmare at 20,000 Feet’ for 2019

IndieWire | 6/18/2019 | Staff
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Jordan Peele was the perfect filmmaker to bring back “The Twilight Zone,” melding his dark satire with Rod Serling’s. The result makes an uneasy bridge between past and present, where fear, paranoia, and hate continue to rip away at the fabric of American society. And this is apparent in “Nightmare at 30,000 Feet,” a re-imagining of the William Shatner-starrer, “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet,” which slips comfortably beside Peele’s “Get Out” and “Us.”

For production designer Michael Wylie and editor Scott Turner, the challenge was to channel both Serling and Peele in this story of PTSD-suffering journalist Justin Sanderson (Adam Scott), who discovers a strange podcast aboard Flight 1015 that predicts their crash which he inadvertently helps facilitate. “We wanted to pull in some of the flavor of the original, not only because it’s incredibly familiar to everyone but because we’re trying to create a timelessness in the show, and a more old-fashioned kind of airplane really helped,” said Wylie of the Emmy-submitted episode.

Twilight - Zone - Universe - Production - Design

Because “The Twilight Zone” exists in a parallel universe, you see a production design split between the new and old. While the airport contains computers and scanning equipment, we step into a retro-looking plane. “We wanted to build an airplane that was an homage to the Shatner episode,” Wylie added. “If they could have an art-directed, almost fake-looking plane, so can we.”

“The Twilight Zone”

Airplane - Los - Angeles - Stages - Vancouver

They rented an airplane set from Los Angeles and had it delivered to the stages in Vancouver. It was then reassembled and set dressed with old-fashioned carpeting, wall papering, and seat covers. “You get on the airplane and there’s still a bar cart and these other [retro] touches,” Wylie said. “He’s listening to a podcast on what looks like an old transistor radio with clunky buttons. We carefully thought out a design scheme to keep the...
(Excerpt) Read more at: IndieWire
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