Hulu's Pooka

Interview with Cecil Gentry: Production Designer for Hulu’s ‘Into the Dark’

Like most other horror fans, I’m a huge fan of Hulu’s Into the Dark. This amazing series tells a new holiday horror tale every single month and the magic is continuing tomorrow with the Christmas-themed horror story, “Pooka.”

I had the opportunity to talk with Cecil Gentry, the production designer for Hulu’s Into The Dark, about this brand new series, details on “Pooka,” his exciting career, and more.

Hulu - into the dark

PopHorror – Hello Cecil, it’s an honor to talk to you. I’m a huge fan of all your previous work and current. First, I’d like to ask what made you want to get involved in the film/TV industry, specifically production design?

Cecil Gentry – I was always interested in storytelling and film, but more than anything I had a true love for architecture, interior design, industrial design, art, photography, and literature. When I moved to LA, I began to seek out a career change and quickly, as you might expect, became familiar with the film/TV industry. Once I made this discovery, I charged full speed ahead and here I am today production designing feature Films and TV shows.

PopHorror – That’s wonderful. What was the first project you worked on?

Cecil Gentry – My first film was Swimming with Sharks, but prior to that I art directed commercials and music videos – a great training ground.

PopHorror – Sounds like you’ve had a lot of experience in the industry. Your newest project is Hulu’s Into the Dark Series. The first episode episode was a huge success. Were you pleased with the positive reaction it got?

Rebecca Rittenhouse and Tom Bateman in The Body (2018)
Rebecca Rittenhouse and Tom Bateman in The Body (2018)

Cecil Gentry – Yes, I’m very pleased with how Hulu’s Into the Dark is performing. We’ve received an amazing response from both the viewers and critics. It’s still being streamed on a regular basis. I’m especially pleased with the production design and my amazing crew. I couldn’t have pulled it off without them.

PopHorror – What was your favorite thing about the recent episode, “The Body?”

Cecil Gentry – If you’re talking about a specific element/prop, I would have to say the namesake (the body) is my favorite thing about “The Body”. I also particularly like the opening steadicam shot whereby the viewer is introduced to a specific world in terms of style and aesthetic.

PopHorror – I love that too! The upcoming episode, “Pooka,” is premiering this Friday. Can you tell us about it?

Cecil Gentry – “Pooka” is in a class by itself. It’s our Christmas episode and I would say my favorite so far. The script is amazing, the director, Nacho Vigalondo was a delight to collaborate with, and we created some really special moments with “Pooka”. Stay tuned and be prepared to be thrilled. This one is Blumhouse at its best. All around awe inspiring moments and components.

PopHorror – I can’t wait! Do you know what the inspiration was behind “Pooka?”

Cecil Gentry –Firstly, “Pooka” tells the story of a guy on a journey (emotionally, spiritually and psychologically). In terms of the production design, allowed the story to inspire me. In other words, the inspiration is on the page. The design of “Toy Pooka” evolved from a variety of ideas, visual references, conversations, several illustrations and finally studio (Blumhouse) approval.

PopHorror – You can tell a lot of hard work went into making this episode special. The production design for “Pooka” looks stunning and also jaw-droppingly horrifying. Was this episode more fun than the previous episode to design or about equal? Can you tell us more about the details that went into creating it?

Cecil Gentry – Yes, this is my absolute favorite. I would say the formula for fun, freedom of expression along with creative latitude/license come from the director. With “Pooka”, we had a true creative genius at the helm, which gave us all the ability and freedom to expand and grow. I’m super excited about “Pooka” and I hope to collaborate with Nacho in the future.

Hulu’s Pooka, Photo by: Richard Foreman, Jr. SMPSP/Hulu

PopHorror – That’s awesome. I love Christmas horror stories and “Pooka” looks to be one of the most terrifying of them all. Does this episode have a darker tone than The Body?

Cecil Gentry – Yes, “Pooka” is darker and more terrifying than The Body in every tonal aspect; both story tone and visual tone.

PopHorror – Do you have any fond or memorable on the set or behind the scene moments while filming “Pooka”?

Cecil Gentry – I would have to say there are so many moments when you step back, take a look at everything and think to yourself, wow… it’s all come together. I consider moments like these fond and memorable, and the whole team was great to work with.

PopHorror – I’m glad to hear that. That makes the episode even more meaningful. Do you think “Pooka” will be even more successful then previous episodes? What are your hopes/goals for this episode?

Cecil Gentry – Personally, I’d like every episode to be successful in its own right. We’ve got something extra special here. There’s never been a horror anthology like this (as far as I know), and each episode has the ability to make its mark. What’s great is that the series is of the horror genre, but each episode is unique in that it tells a completely different story centered around a holiday. Holiday Horror is THE BEST kind of horror.

PopHorror – I couldn’t agree more! So, I know you probably can’t. But any hints to what the next episode will be about?

Cecil Gentry – You’re right, I can’t go into any of the details, but what I can say is that the next holiday is New Year’s Eve and the title of the episode is “New Year, New You”. I would also say, stay tuned for more BlumHouse Horror on Hulu: Production Designed by Cecil Gentry.

About Tori Danielle

Tori has had a passion for Horror and music ever since she was a little girl. She got bit by the writing bug in high school where she was involved in both the school newspaper and the yearbook. While getting her Bachelors degree, she took Journalism and Creative Writing classes where her passion grew even stronger. Now, in between work and family, she spends all of her spare time indulging in music, Horror movies, and nerdy fandoms, all while running/assisting one of the biggest Horror groups on Facebook and writing for various websites.

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