Bo Welch


Production Designer

About

Also Known As
Robert W Elch, Robert W Welch Iii, Robert Welch (Bo), Robert W Welch
Birth Place
Yardley, Pennsylvania, USA

Biography

Bo Welch has become established as one of the most gifted and versatile production designers in contemporary cinema. He has forged significant collaborations with a number of top directors, earning four Oscar nominations along the way and earning his own turns behind the camera.A graduate of the University of Arizona's College of Architecture, Welch began a promising career as an archite...

Family & Companions

Catherine O'Hara
Wife
Actor.

Biography

Bo Welch has become established as one of the most gifted and versatile production designers in contemporary cinema. He has forged significant collaborations with a number of top directors, earning four Oscar nominations along the way and earning his own turns behind the camera.

A graduate of the University of Arizona's College of Architecture, Welch began a promising career as an architect in Los Angeles. Like fellow production designer Joseph Nemec III, he answered an advertisement for work at Universal Studios and soon found work as a set designer. Welch gained his first screen credit for his efforts on Robert Zemeckis' "Used Cars" and Walter Hill's period Western "The Long Riders" (both 1980). After further work as a set designer on films like "Mommie Dearest" and Mel Brooks' "History of the World Part I" (both 1981), he graduated to art director on Jonathan Demme's "Swing Shift" (1984). He shared in the Oscar nomination for the design of Steven Spielberg's "The Color Purple" (1985), which recreated Southern life in the first four decades of the Twentieth Century.

Welch subsequently provided the eye-catching contemporary settings for Joel Schumacher's slick vampire tale "The Lost Boys" (1987) and began a fruitful collaboration with Tim Burton on "Beetlejuice" (1988). In the latter, Welch created a haunted house as well as the ghostly world inhabited by the title character. He designed the contemporary settings for Lawrence Kasdan's "The Accidental Tourist" (1988) and Ivan Reitman's "Ghostbusters II" (1989). Welch's flair for the fantastic was highlighted by two further Burton films. In "Edward Scissorhands" (1990), he created an eerie deserted mansion that was home to Edward as well as the colorful suburban community (that evoked the 50s) to which Edward is transplanted. For "Batman Returns" (1992), the designer and the director re-interpreted the dark version created by Anton Furst for "Batman" (1989). Welch fashioned a somewhat more generic, yet densely overbuilt and dehumanizing metropolitan look.

Welch earned his second Oscar nod for his beautifully detailed Edwardian designs for Alfonso Cuaron's remake of "A Little Princess" (1995). The look of this film was particularly important and Welch's contribution was to recreate a variety of settings, ranging from colonial India to the world of the girl's imagination to a girls boarding school in World War I-era New York. The following year, Welch again was tapped by the Academy, this time for his flashy contemporary settings for Mike Nichols' "The Birdcage," creating a world where showbiz artifice and reality overlap in South Beach, Florida. He followed with Oscar-nominated work on the sci-fi comedy "Men in Black" (1997) and its less-honored sequel (2002), along with design on the biting political comedy "Primary Colors" (1998), the leaden film adaptation of "Wild, Wild West" (1999) and Garry shandling's semi-sci-fi comedy "What Planet Are You From?" (2000).

With a litany of design triumphs to his credit, Welch ventured into a second career as a director, making his debut on an episode of the short-lived Barry Josephson/Barry Sonnenfeld spy spoof TV series "Secret Agent Man" (2000) followed by episodes for another Josephson/Sonnenfeld effort, the comic book satire "The Tick" (Fox, 2001-2002), for which Welch also created the pilot's production design. His feature debut came with the live-action adapation "Dr. Seuss' The Cat in the Hat" (2003), which was predictably filled with inspired production design details but came up lacking on story and character charm.

Filmography

 

Director (Feature Film)

A Little Princess (1995)
Director

Art Director (Feature Film)

Violets Are Blue (1986)
Art Direction
The Color Purple (1985)
Art Director
Best Defense (1984)
Art Director
Swing Shift (1984)
Art Director
Heart of Steel (1983)
Art Director
The Star Chamber (1983)
Art Director
Used Cars (1980)
Assistant Art Director

Art Department (Feature Film)

History of the World Part I (1981)
Set Designer
Looker (1981)
Set Designer
The Long Riders (1980)
Set Designer

Production Designer (Feature Film)

Men in Black III (2012)
Production Designer
Thor (2011)
Production Designer
Land of the Lost (2009)
Production Designer
Space Chimps (2008)
Production Designer
Men in Black II (2002)
Production Designer
What Planet Are You From? (2000)
Production Designer
Wild Wild West (1999)
Production Designer
Primary Colors (1998)
Production Designer
Men in Black (1997)
Production Designer
The Birdcage (1996)
Production Designer
A Little Princess (1995)
Production Designer
Wolf (1994)
Production Designer
Batman Returns (1992)
Production Designer
Grand Canyon (1991)
Production Designer
Edward Scissorhands (1990)
Production Designer
Joe Versus the Volcano (1990)
Production Designer
Ghostbusters II (1989)
Production Designer
Beetlejuice (1988)
Production Designer
The Accidental Tourist (1988)
Production Designer
The Lost Boys (1987)
Production Designer
Stark: Mirror Image (1986)
Production Designer

Misc. Crew (Feature Film)

Slow Burn (1986)
Consultant

Cast (Special)

Making the Movie: Dr. Seuss' The Cat in the Hat (2003)

Life Events

1983

First TV credit, the ABC movie "Heart of Steel"

1985

Earned first Oscar nomination, as art director on Steven Spielberg's "The Color Purple"

1987

First credit as production designer "The Lost Boys"

1988

Served as production designer on "Beetlejuice"; first collaboration with Tim Burton

1995

Was 2nd unit director for "A Little Princess"; also designed the production; earned second Oscar nomination

1996

Garnered third Oscar nod for "The Birdcage"

1997

Received another Academy Award nomination for "Men in Black", directed by Barry Sonnenfeld

1999

Reteamed with Sonnenfeld for the outlandish "Wild Wild West"

1999

Designed "Primary Colors" for Mike Nichols

2000

Reunited with director Mike Nichols as production designer of "What Planet Are You From?"

2000

TV directing debut with episode of "Secret Agent Man" (UPN)

2000

Had been announced to make feature directorial debut on "Sprockets", starring Mike Myers before Myers abandonded project

2001

Directed two episodes of "The Tick" (The WB), also served as production designer on the pilot

2002

Again teamed with Barry Sonnenfeld as production designer of "Men in Black II"

Family

Robert W Welch
Father
Matthew Welch
Son
Luke Welch
Son

Companions

Catherine O'Hara
Wife
Actor.

Bibliography