Joseph Nemec III
This production designer and art director has worked on everything from high-tech fantasy sets to the rural Wild West. A little boy from Little Rock, Nemec began his career as an architect in his native Arkansas. Moving to L.A. in the late 1970s, he answered an ad for work at Universal Studios and was hired. Nemec began his career as a set decorator and designer on such films as the music fantasy "Xanadu" (1980), "Ghost Story" and "Continental Divide" (1981). Nemec's first assignment as a set designer was for the wild children's fantasy "The Goonies" (1985), produced by Steven Spielberg, followed by the nostalgic, all-American landscapes of "American Flyers" and Spielberg's "The Color Purple" (both 1985).
Nemec then advanced to art director on such films as the sci-fi thriller "Alien Nation" (1988) and James Cameron's "The Abyss" (1989). The latter film entailed a claustrophobic submarine set which added to the thrills. By this time, Nemec was also working in TV, designing sets for "Sins of the Past" and "A Streetcar Named Desire" (both ABC, 1984). As a production designer, he worked on the series "Spies" (CBS, 1987) and "Midnight Caller" (NBC, 1988-1991) and such TV-movies as "Easy Come, Easy Go" (ABC, 1989) and "Fear" (Showtime, 1990).
With the dawn of the 90s, Nemec became a production designer for the big screen, eventually gaining a reputation as one of the best and most highly-regarded in the business. He began with the high-budgeted but fairly uncomplicated comedy "Another 48 Hrs." (1990), then moved right into Cameron's futuristic sci-fi thriller "Terminator 2: Judgment Day" (1991). This was Nemec's make-or-break assignment, and he came through designing a bleak, eerie and foreboding look for the film, laying out his ideas by using miniatures and computer-generated printouts.
Nemec was production designer on the action thrillers "Patriot Games" (1992), directed by Philip Noyce, "Judgment Night" (1993) and the 1994 remake of "The Getaway" before getting his next big chance, with the comic book caper "The Shadow" (also 1994). The finished film did badly at the box office, but Nemec's overwhelmingly stylish and moody Art Deco sets wowed everyone. A change of pace was Walter Hill's Western "Wild Bill" (1995), with its stark, dusty and low-tech look. One of his biggest challenges was Jan De Bont's "Twister" (1996), which required Nemec to work with the special effects crew and recreate both charming Midwestern towns, and their tornado-torn counterparts (many of his sets were torn apart using specific tornado-damage information). He has continued to design stylish thrillers including Noyce's "The Saint" and De Bont's sequel "Speed 2: Cruise Control" (both 1997). For the latter, he not recreated the interior of a luxury liner, but also an entire Caribbean town.
He is the father of actor Corin 'Corky' Nemec.