BACKSTAGE -- Though a veteran production designer for film, television and theatre, two-time Oscar nominee David Gropman (The Life of Pi) faced an entirely new set of challenges for Hulu’s World War II miniseries Catch-22, which stars Christopher Abbott, Kyle Chandler and George Clooney and streams its first two episodes May 17. Chief among them was finding a mile-long runway on which to actually land a plane, and then figuring out how to design around it.
“I started as a theatre designer, and I actually started studying theatre at San Francisco State, and then at the Yale School of Drama. That’s all I ever wanted to do: be a theatre designer,” Gropman says. “I worked for about 10 years in New York, and I think it was in 1980 [that] Robert Altman had decided to leave the world of film for theater and came to New York City and directed a play called Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean by Ed Graczyk. He interviewed designers, and he asked me if I wanted to design the play — which I did.”