5mn with… Franckie Diago

Profession: Production Designer


With Michele Rodriguez, "Tropico de Sangre", 2008

Who are you Franckie?

I’m a French, Hungarian, Berber, mix… I was born in the Loire valley where I had an amazing childhood near the Chambord castle and the Sologne forest…

” To be or not to be,” that was the question I had to ask myself during the time of the hippies. It hit me in my twenties and I faced the dilemma of staying in school and study to become an architect or to go running with those crazy people in the street, spitting fire, and tap dancing their way to the next day.

I did run with them…

How did you decide to design movie sets?

After 3 years of running in every city in Europe with my theater/ circus family, I ended up on a movie set, helping out to build the sets and create the costumes. And that was it … I knew it would be my job…


With Charlotte Rampling, "Vers le Sud", 2005

What was the first movie you ever worked on?

The movie for the Magic Circus… directed by Jerome Savary, in black and white.

Which one are you the most proud of?

Proud?  Well they all have something special…

What is your best memory?

I have no memories, but let’s have dinner,  a glass of champagne or two and then I’ll have stories…

With Francis Ford Copola for Godfather III


The toughest thing you’ve been asked to do?

To rebuild part of a set overnight which had been destroyed by a storm. And we did it!

You must have been on set with celebrities, any funny stories?

 Well the celebrities, yes I have some stories, but which one to tell ?

The funniest to me is my first real professional experience with a TOP Production Designer, in France named Alexander Trauner (“Les enfans du Paradis”, “Subway”, etc… he was Hungarian, and worked on the best movies of his time). I happened to be interviewed by him to work as his assistant on a French movie “coup de torchon” by Bertrand Tavernier and after few days of anxiety, I got the answer: “YES”… So when I met with him again, I thanked him for choosing me, and I said to him, how should I call you ” MAITRE “? He looked at me (I am 5 ft 7 and he was probably 5 ft 2), and then he said, “ Mini-maitre, will do ma petite fille, Minimetre….” (of course I don’t know how this can be translated in English…)


With Andy Garcia for "City Island".


What does a city like New York bring to you?

THE LIGHT…and permanent stimulation.

What is your favorite place or thing to do in the city?

Everything, Theater, movies, brunches, walks, museums, Ping Pong (I’m a big fan) …

What’s next? Any project?

Last year I worked on a great comedy, “City Island”, with Andy Garcia & Julia Margules which will be released on March 19th. You should watch the trailer on the check the website.

Next?… I won’t tell as I am superstitious -I had two projects with Tim Robbins, which were cancelled… The first one was a movie, we stopped after two months of hard work… And then, I built 2 big sets for a Showtime Pilot in December 2008 but after Mister Madoff financial trick, everyone retracted on every project in the making… So now, I talk once the project is done, and in the can!

But shuuuush! Something is cooking…

Check out Franckie Diago‘s website here.