An outfoor dinner scene in Episode 3 of HBO's The Idol, featuring Lily-Rose Depp standing with a glass of wine while The Weeknd glowers at her.
ManOfTheCenturyMovie Tv How do you create a pop star’s mansion on a budget? Use the mansion of a real pop star

How do you create a pop star’s mansion on a budget? Use the mansion of a real pop star

An outfoor dinner scene in Episode 3 of HBO's The Idol, featuring Lily-Rose Depp standing with a glass of wine while The Weeknd glowers at her.

Production designer Jason Baldwin Stewart encountered his share of aesthetic and logistical challenges in his collaboration with Sam Levinson on HBO’s “Euphoria,” but when he reunited with Levinson as a visual consultant on “The Idol,” he was faced with a new set of problems to solve. Working collaboratively with production designer Charlie Campbell, who started the series before Stewart joined, Stewart found himself working largely with pre-existing locations, including the home of series co-creator and star Abel “The Weeknd Tesfaye, who was the pop star Jocelyn’s (Lily-Rose Depp) estate on the show.

At the end of the full season, Stewart spoke in detail with IndieWire about the creative choices that went into creating the world of “The Idol,” an opulent environment that Levinson, Campbell, Stewart and their collaborators had to make feel luxurious with considerable financial limits. after the decision was made to restart the show from scratch.

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On the search for a global approach.

“My specific approach was different from the beginning of this project as I was really just consulting and offering creative thoughts but not pressing any decision or style direction. When I first walked in, Abel’s house was already locked as Jocelyn’s house and that would be our primary location. Our directive was to lean on the finishes of the house as they were. We weren’t going to repaint or wallpaper any space to keep the impact as low as possible. The goal of the style was to add some pops of color and some edge and fashion and minimize some of the masculinity in the home decor, but we didn’t want or need to overwhelm the aesthetics within the house because the overall framework and scale of the house and furnishings worked with the story as it stands.

“Jocelyn is a star, and though we meet her when she’s creatively at a loss and in the midst of a chaotic makeover, her home needed to have a grandeur to reflect her stature as a newly successful pop princess and solidify Jocelyn as a central driving force. In general terms, the filming inside the house itself needed to be visually striking and a supporting character of sorts to keep us visually engaged for multiple episodes since most of the filming would take place inside the house.

The Idol Season 1 Episode 1 Lily Rose Depp
“The Idol”Courtesy of Eddy Chen / HBO

On Jocelyn’s furniture.

“We discussed that it would have been more interesting not to move the house into an overtly feminine and pop décor; we assumed this house was not designed or decorated by Jocelyn, but rather by her mother who had purchased it at the height of Jocelyn’s fame and new touring contract. They had started to have it professionally designed within her when her mother fell ill and then died.

“There was a deliberate choice not to place photos or objects from Jocelyn’s or her mother’s youth prominently in the house. Instead, we went for more subtle references and layering choices throughout, like placing a few framed gold records leaning against the wall on the living room floor as if they’d been taken off the wall or never hung. It keeps us visually guarded and a little out of place about where Jocelyn is in her life and what her true feelings are about her career and mothering her.

“The overall decor isn’t all that personal. He has some stylized design elements and interesting artwork, but he’s mutable from one area of ​​the house to another, just like his character. Some areas are more intimate and slightly cluttered or more detailed, like his bedroom and recording studio or the orange room, while other spaces are sparse and architectural and feel a little colder or more calculated, and I think it all fosters a sense of uncertainty and more of a Jekyll and Hyde undertone to her character.

On the aesthetic (and financial) benefits of shooting at The Weeknd’s house.

“Abel had just purchased the house during the show’s initial buildup that previous year, and it was such a lucky opportunity and an amazing gesture on Abel’s part to open up his residence to production as he did for filming.

“One of the most difficult factors in a show with this theme is creating a believable ‘star’ house. Normally in a series like this, we shoot our exteriors and maybe a voice or some critical interiors in a similar place and limit our number of days, then build most of the interior spaces on stage as the script calls for. An added bonus was that there are several rooms within his house that really differ from the finishes in the rest of the house, and we were able to use that to our advantage to believably play many other scenes, including the office Chaim’s and Finkelstein’s home office and foot massage. I even created the green room for Jocelyn’s final concert in her garage!

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“The Idol”

About building a pop star’s closet.

“The upstairs master bedroom is present throughout the series and needed some adjustments. We built the Jocelyn vanity within a mirrored alcove, adding painted wainscot panels to the bottom trim, and rented furnishings. The vanity area led into a large walk-in wardrobe which was obviously empty and we had to dress it appropriately which quickly becomes incredibly expensive and was quite a budget challenge. Aralda Vintage, who also worked with us previously on Season 2 of “Euphoria” to create Maddie’s babysitter’s closet, provided several shelves of designer dresses for us to feature as Chloe explores Jocelyn’s closet. Our set dec team was able to supplement with additional filler clothing from Western Costumes and many other local rental shops.

On the creation of Chaim’s office.

“I was able to cheat Chaim’s office located within a beautifully wood paneled room that is immediately off the orange room entrance and foyer and overlooked the front driveway. We built two support walls that were placed outside the room to mask a large mirrored piece that Tedros stood in front of when he first arrived, as well as the underside of the large spiral staircase featured throughout the series. Outside the office windows, we masked the driveway with rows of hedges and added various drapes and sheers to reproduce the room being darkened or during daylight. We used a series of personal photos that Hank Azaria provided as an outfit and made some plaques and awards for Chaim’s character using his mother’s last name in his offering, which was a fun detail to add.

On creating a green room in a garage.

“We also created a concert hall set inside (the) garage. We briefly showed the actual garage in the finale as Tedros is escorted out of the house in a waiting car with Chaim, and I wanted to avoid repeating ourselves for his first entrance for that pre-concert scene. I was able to create another entry point to the scene from the driveway and thus mimic much of the real SoFi green room aesthetic that Abel used at his concerts. We added a bold blue carpet to base the space and stainless corner guards to each of the raw concrete columns and a series of dark curtains as partition walls to allow for 360 degree filming. I arranged the main space into a T with a short tunnel of Hollywood vanities through which Jocelyn could step out and look almost angelic when Tedros sees her again.

“It ended up being a fantastic set. The biggest challenge was that it was also our staging room for the craft services and our filming and grip crews, so we had to get everyone out a few days early and rush to carpet and then re-carpet to protect it for a while. bit’. a few days of final shooting and then put everyone back out and dressed the day before. And then stop the whole crew from sitting down, eating, spilling or messing it up until we were able to shoot it – art department stress!

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