Oral Histories

Interview of Julia K. Levine

Set designer known for work on L.A. Confidential, The Last Tycoon, Oz the Great and Powerful, and The Majestic.
The Crafts in Hollywood: Production Design
Film and Television
Biographical Note:
Set designer known for work on L.A. Confidential, The Last Tycoon, Oz the Great and Powerful, and The Majestic.
Collings, Jane
Levine, Julia K.
Persons Present:
Levine and Collings.
Place Conducted:
Levine's home in Venice, Los Angeles.
Supporting Documents:
Records relating to the interview are located in the office of the UCLA Library’s Center for Oral History Research.
Interviewer Background and Preparation:
The interview was conducted by Jane Collings, principal editor and interviewer, UCLA Center for Oral History Research; Ph.D., Critical Studies in Film and Television, UCLA.
Processing of Interview:
The interviewer prepared a timed log of the audio recording of the interview. The interviewee was given the opportunity to review the log in order to supply missing or misspelled names and to verify the accuracy of the content. The corrections made were entered into the text without further editing or review on the part of the Center for Oral History Research staff. The resume was provided by the interviewee.Some months after the oral history interview was completed, the UCLA Center for Oral History Research recontacted Levine to invite her to participate in another interview session documenting the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the film and television industry. The final session thus focuses primarily on the personal, professional, and industry-wide effects of the pandemic.
3.5 hrs.
Regents of the University of California, UCLA Library.
Series Statement:
This series of interviews was undertaken in collaboration with the Art Directors Guild. Its aim is to document the lives and work of Guild members and staff who have made a significant contribution to film and television history. Interviews capture the work of title artists, set designers, art directors, production designers, and many other categories. The contribution of labor unions in shaping the conditions of the work is also addressed.
Grows up in artistic household--Studies theater, history, and sociology--Begins work in theater lighting design--Begins to work in model making at Disney--Meets Diane Wager--Begins work in set design--Starts working in art direction--Admitted to the Art Directors Guild (ADG)--Work at Universal Studios’ art department--Learns from Hank Meyer at Universal--Learns from veteran set designers--Work on Batman Forever--Oversees model shop for Independence Day--Works on Independence Day with designer Jeannine Oppewall--Enjoys period and fantasy work--Turns down work on Seabiscuit due to child care issues.
Work process determined by needs of production--Wide creative latitude on Oz the Great and Powerful--Specializes as a hand drafter--The Hank Meyer method of set design--Work on The Aviator, The Last Tycoon, Donnie Darko, and LA Confidential--Begins working in cable TV--Fewer opportunities to work in film in Los Angeles--The merger between Local 847, the Set Designers and Model Makers union, and Local 800--The set designers’ council within Local 800--Exhibit at Gallery 800 in honor of production designer Boris Leven--Highpoints of work include LA Confidential, Oz the Great and Powerful, and The Majestic.