How Production Designer Marco Niro Created a Visual Climax for FX’s ‘Legion’

Variety | 6/17/2019 | Daniel Holloway
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FX’s “Legion” has always drawn inspiration not only from the Marvel “X-Men” comics on which it is based, but also from the weirder corners of pop culture. When creator Noah Hawley cast “Downton Abbey” star Dan Stevens as the lead — David Haller, a mutant whose telepathic powers have been misdiagnosed as mental illness — he gave the actor a playlist that included everything from experimental noise music to Pink Floyd. Even more so than Hawley’s “Fargo,” “Legion” has been driven by a visual aesthetic that reflects that range of influences.

As such, the choice of whom to bring aboard as production designer for the show’s third and final season, which premieres June 24, was an important one. Hawley turned to Marco Niro, fresh from the first season of FX’s motorcycle-gang drama “Mayans M.C.”

Man - Soul - Hawley - Combination - Heritage

“He’s a man with a passionate soul,” says Hawley. “In the combination of his Italian heritage and Mexican heritage, there’s a long history of magic realism and an understanding that you can be flexible with what reality is. I think that’s what really served him. He respected the whimsy of the show and the romantic nature of the show, but he also is a very thematic designer. Usually you get stuck to reality, but he understood that part of his job was to bring out the heart of the show literally into the design of it.”

Born in Mexico City, Niro split his childhood between Mexico and Italy. (The design of one of the “Legion” Season 3 sets is based on his grandmother’s basement in Rome.) After college, he spent years traveling Europe and Asia on a shoestring budget. He eventually landed for a time in Sri Lanka during that country’s two-and-a-half-decade civil war, having gone there because it was the place he imagined, as a child, as the...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Variety
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