Rick Carter | Avatar Production Designer
Source: imdb.com, usc.edu,
Having grown up in Los Angeles in the midst of the film industry since his father Richard was a producer in Hollywood, Rick Carter always had an interest in the arts. However, his path to Hollywood glory started 3,000 miles east when he moved to New York to become a fine artist. “I wanted to create,” he laughed, “and one day I asked my father what a film ‘art director’ did because it had ‘art’ in the title.”
Carter returned to Southern California in 1974, landing his first industry job as an assistant art director on Hal Ashby’s Bound For Glory. In addition to the Back to the Future sequels and Munich, his production design prowess can be seen in projects such as Jurassic Park, War of the Worlds, The Polar Express, and other films.
Besides commercial success, Carter’s work has led to nominations for the AFI Production Designer of the Year (A.I.: Artificial Intelligence), the Art Directors Guild Award (A.I.: Artificial Intelligence, Amistad) and the Academy Award (Forrest Gump). From the prehistoric world of dinosaurs to the down-home feel of the Gump homestead, each of Carter’s productions has taken the moviegoer on what seems an impossible journey.
And just what is it like to see these places go from the drawing board to the soundstage?
“It’s inspiring,” he said. “Especially when you get to walk into that 3-D world of places like the town square from the Back to the Future movies. It’s there without Marty and Doc, and you become part of it. These are places that can exist without the characters. I take a lot of happiness in the process it took to create that, and with this collection, I want to help preserve some of that feeling.”
Carter’s vision is unparalleled. As a production designer and frequent collaborator with filmmakers Steven Spielberg and Robert Zemeckis, his vision has become America’s vision. He served as design advisor to JFA in the master plan for the Dreamworks Studios complex in Los Angeles, and has a broad and current grasp of the relationships between entertainment and advanced technology.
Rick Carter Donates Collection Depicting The Method Behind Movie Magic
“We create that world of impossibility,” said Rick Carter, one of Hollywood’s pre-eminent production designers, who’s helped shape the look of everything from Robert Zemeckis’ Back to the Future II and III to Steven Spielberg’s Munich.
“We’re responsible for all the behind-the-scenes work that goes into making what you see on screen possible,” added Carter, who recently donated a major archive of production records to the School of Cinema-Television that will provide scholars and artists for years to come with a unique source of insight and inspiration.
Known as the “Rick Carter Collection,” the trove includes hundreds of photographs, set illustrations, scripts, concept set designs and other memorabilia that shed light on how the magic is made. “When anyone looks at the collection—from the notes, to the photographs, to the storyboards—they’ll get a glimpse of what went on to make these movies possible,” Carter said.
“This collection is simply incredible,” said Dean Elizabeth M. Daley. “It enables us to see the creative vision behind stories that have taken on nearly an iconic status in our culture.” Also featured in the collection are specimens from Death Becomes Her (1992), What Lies Beneath (2000), A.I.: Artificial Intelligence (2001) and the television series Amazing Stories (1985-1987).