An interview with the set decorator
WILLISTON — For the past couple weeks, there has been nothing but rumors and sightings of the production for the upcoming movie, American Honey starring Shia Laboeuf. It’s a film about a teenage girl with nothing to lose, who joins a traveling magazine sales crew, and gets caught up in a whirlwind of hard-partying, law bending and young love as she criss-crosses the midwest with a band of misfits, according to its IMDB page.
Graham Wichman is a set decorator for the production and was given the opportunity to work with some of the members of our community in bringing to life, American Honey.
Willistonian Cyndy Aafedt gave Wichman the connections needed in gathering the props needed for the production.
“We went and drove through alleys looking everywhere; it was really fun. It reminded me of growing up in Williston,” Aafedt said. “Sometimes I feel like I don’t know anyone in Williston but then it brought back all of these memories and it was so much fun to reflect, and to have that North Dakota knock on the door back. It reminded me again of how friendly it was.”
Wichman explained that without Aafedt’s help, the search for the props needed would’ve been a very difficult task.
“We shot at an abandoned farmhouse; it was supposed to show the cast finding a house that was abandoned. This was the first time they have a home where they all feel comfortable. We found this empty location, and we had to make it homey and inviting to these kids,” Wichman said. “It was challenging to find old antiques and props. There was 5 or 6 people who loaned me their furniture. It was really cool to have historical furniture from local people in our sets.”
Among those the set decorators borrowed props from was Darin Henderson, Henderson, President of the Frontier Museum.
“Our experience with them was positive; they were excited to see the items that we have,” Henderson said. “They are all very pleasant, appreciative.” They borrowed a variety of items such as an old book case, and an old immigrant trunk that can be found in this area.
Henderson also said that Wichman, along with the other set decorators, had shared they were looking for items that may have been abandoned in the early 1920’s.
When asked how important it is when choosing the props for the sets, Wichman said, “It is important. We call it a set dressing, the furniture — anything you can get — it is important what you see, it’s the characters’ world you create. It sets the emotional tone for the movie.”
When in the first stages of the production for American Honey, Wichman explained it was a ‘road trip’ filming situation. They first began in Oklahoma, then through Missouri, Nebraska and then Williston.
In recent days, the set decorators have set off for the next shooting location near Rapid City, SD.
“Williston was the most interesting because of the oil aspect, and the farmers,” Wichman said. “It is interesting to see them juxtaposed together and to find furniture that would describe them was amazing.”