Beef Netflix series Steven Yeun as Danny in episode 106 of Beef. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2023
ManOfTheCenturyMovie Tv Danny’s Los Angeles apartment in “Beef” delights with terrible vibes

Danny’s Los Angeles apartment in “Beef” delights with terrible vibes

Beef Netflix series Steven Yeun as Danny in episode 106 of Beef. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2023

While “Beef” delights in showing how Danny (Steven Yeun) and Amy (Ali Wong) aren’t that dissimilar from each other, the Netflix series begins by pointing out the difference in their economic circumstances. While Amy’s house is more showroom than home, Danny and Paul’s (Young Mazino) apartment is a maelstrom of mismatched furniture and trash. The set exists in a state of perpetual goblin mode. But the details that production designer Grace Yun and her team put into Danny’s apartment inspired the crew to dig into the despair and fear from which Danny operates.

Both cinematographer Larkin Seiple and costume designer Helen Huang told IndieWire that walking onto the set of Danny and Paul’s apartment was like stepping into a memory. “Danny’s apartment is pretty much a mirror image of the apartment I first moved into in Los Angeles,” Seiple said. “Even though there are all these windows, it’s always quite dark and there’s never a very positive vibe happening in there.”

The lack of good vibes made the apartment a rich place to shoot; Seiple exploits the apartment’s vertical blinds to create the sense of light barely filtering through the cave-like atmosphere, instead emphasizing the clutter and lack of care the apartment has received. The blend of Seiple’s lighting choices and Yun’s wall paint and carpet selections for the set—there must be an industrial carpet line called “depression beige”—combine to soak up any natural light that may offer relief in the space.

Even though Huang saw Yun’s initial sketches and concepts, the final set took her by surprise. “When you walk into their apartment — right down to the player lights, right down to the fact that Paul’s curtains weren’t really attached, but rolled up in the corner — I was like, ‘I’ve been in this house. I lived in that house,’” Huang said.

So did series creator Lee Sung Jin, at least to some extent. Yun told IndieWire that while talking about Danny’s space with Lee, the idea came up with planting little physical obstacles and inconveniences, the kind of things that would make the character unconsciously clench his jaw a little more and wrap himself up a bit. more. Amy probably has too much space and flow in her house and it has led her adrift, but according to Yun, Danny’s apartment was designed with a memory Lee had of constantly banging his toe against the corner of his desk in an old apartment because space constricted him with a strange arrangement of his furniture.

The story of Danny’s apartment is that of a giant unfinished project: a one-bedroom space that Danny haphazardly converted into a two-bedroom apartment for himself and Paul with any remaining contractor supplies and instructions on YouTube that he could find. “I’m really grateful that I did the character-motivated details like the patched wall and exposed door jamb for Paul’s bedroom door – to show that Danny is almost, but not quite, done with the renovation.” ” Yun said.


The fact that Danny bit off more than he could chew and got stuck in a hole he dug perfectly reflects the character’s dilemma in “Beef” and allowed Yun, art director Michael Hersey, construction coordinator Drew Simmons and their teams for lovingly imperfecting the details of the space. “(We) put a tremendous amount of effort into detailing: popcorn ceilings, over-painted and distressed wall layers with hairline cracks, slightly rickety ’90s-inspired cabinets, imperfectly laid tile, vintage-sourced carpet with suspiciously painted spots , bug in the top lamp,” Yun said.

The story of who Danny is also drove the set decoration, led by Kellie Joe Tinney and her team. “We have found a method of approach,” Yun said. “Danny had intentionally set up the flat about two years ago, (but) maintenance to get items back to designated areas inevitably unraveled. There’s the basic level of organization with items that have been picked up and dropped haphazardly. (Tinney) and I walked around the set carrying clothes or cups, sitting at various spots and dropping things in place.

The mess may not register on camera, but it forms a basis for how the cast and crew thought about the character. Seiple told IndieWire that she loved a Medieval Times mug over Danny’s TV that she never got on the show but she made Yun and Tinney laugh. “I loved the idea that Danny and Paul might think it was a cool souvenir from a special outing,” Yun said. It’s a perfect example of the ways Danny tries to make his life fulfilling, but clutter inevitably trips him up.

Beef.  Steven Yeun as Danny in episode 106 of Beef.  Cr.  Andrea Cooper/Netflix © 2023

Yun and her team used the cups and non-medieval furniture, however, to express the particularities of a Korean-American home. “We (Lee, Yeun, and I) talked about our parents saving and reusing household items and supplies simply because they were useful,” Yun said. “The Korean folding table – close in style to the one I grew up with – originally meant for people sitting on the floor, is used as a coffee table. The serene landscape painting that hangs near the kitchen is the same as the flashback to the motel when Danny and Paul were kids.

The painting is sentimental in the same way that Danny is. “My favorite details about Danny came from a conversation with (Lee and Yeun). We talked about Danny’s character who believes in totems and holds on to bits and pieces of things that had meaning to Danny,” Yun said.

“Grace is amazing and so artistically out of the box and creative, I can’t say enough about her production design,” Huang said. “It comes from a very intimate knowledge of the material that you can’t learn, you know? It’s only in you. It’s like sensory memory or something and you’re designing on your sensory memory. That’s how I felt with Grace’s designs.”

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