When I tell John Lee Beatty that I want to move right into many of the wonderful sets he has designed over the years, he chuckles. “People are always telling me that, but I don't think they're so realistic myself,” he says of his designs. “I think people's imaginations tend to make them so. I call them fiction rather than reality.” Yet, like all good literature, Beatty's fiction is based on a solid foundation. He grew up in Claremont, CA, in an academic family, with a father who was dean of ...

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