Hanging on

He won an Oscar in 2003 for his production designs for the film Chicago. He scooped another one last year for his period creations for Memoirs Of A Geisha. Now production designer John Myhre is wowing us again with Hollywood musical Dreamgirls, which tells the story of a Diana Ross-like singer elbowing her way to pole position in her Supremes-like harmonising girl trio. Based on the 1981 Broadway stage hit, and already the subject of fevered awards speculation, the film stars R&B pop icon Beyoncé Knowles alongside Jamie Foxx and Eddie Murphy. It’s not hard to see the appeal of the project to Myhre: with a story unfolding through the visually vibrant 1960s and 1970s, and action taking place in Detroit, New York, Miami and California, design is a key element in the $70m (£35m) production. Specific challenges include a Detroit car dealership which evolves into a recording studio and then into the headquarters of the Motown-like Rainbow Records; Myhre had 30 craftsmen toiling for two months on that single location. Sets recreating Miami’s opulent Crystal Room and Caesar’s Palace were also lovingly constructed on Los Angeles sound stages. Since winning Oscars in the craft categories is so often about making a vivid impression on the Academy voters, Myhre should probably start clearing a fresh space on his mantelpiece.

Dreamgirls opens in the UK on 2 February

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