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BATMAN v SUPERMAN:
Dawn of Justice


  • set decorator
    Carolyn [Cal] Loucks SDSA

    production designer
    Patrick Tatopoulos

    Warner Bros. Pictures


    Gotham…

    Ben Affleck as Batman

    “We augmented an existing military spotlight to become the iconic Batlight,” reveals Set Decorator Cal Loucks SDSA…

    Photo by Clay Enos TM©2016 DC Comics/Warner Bros. All rights reserved.

  • set decorator
    Carolyn [Cal] Loucks SDSA

    production designer
    Patrick Tatopoulos

    Warner Bros. Pictures


    Wayne Manor ruins…

    “We kept the dressing to a minimum, destructed wall sconces, a damaged piano in the corner and a once magnificent dining room table…but you don’t see any of it really, you just feel the lost beauty,” says Loucks…

    Ben Affleck. Photo TM©2016 DC Comics/Warner Bros. All rights reserved.

  • set decorator
    Carolyn [Cal] Loucks SDSA

    production designer
    Patrick Tatopoulos

    Warner Bros. Pictures


    Wayne Industries…

    Bruce Wayne [Ben Affleck] arrives only in time to see the destruction wrought by the save-the-earth battle fought by Superman and the evil Zod

    Photo TM©2016 DC Comics/Warner Bros. All rights reserved.

  • set decorator
    Carolyn [Cal] Loucks SDSA

    production designer
    Patrick Tatopoulos

    Warner Bros. Pictures


    Wayne Industries, exterior…

    Ben Affleck, who plays
    Bruce Wayne / Batman,
    and Director Zack Snyder discuss an aspect of the destruction scene…

    Photo by Clay Enos TM©2016 DC Comics/Warner Bros. All rights reserved.

  • set decorator
    Carolyn [Cal] Loucks SDSA

    production designer
    Patrick Tatopoulos

    Warner Bros. Pictures


    Batcave…

    Bruce Wayne [Ben Affleck] and Alfred [Jeremy Irons], his former butler, closest confidante and partner in fighting crime, in their headquarters which is suspended belowground…

    Photo TM©2016 DC Comics/Warner Bros. All rights reserved.

  • set decorator
    Carolyn [Cal] Loucks SDSA

    production designer
    Patrick Tatopoulos

    Warner Bros. Pictures


    Batcave…

    Snyder envisioned Alfred [Jeremy Irons] as having come from a military background, very capable with electronics & weapons...

    Photo by Clay Enos TM©2016 DC Comics/Warner Bros. All rights reserved.

  • set decorator
    Carolyn [Cal] Loucks SDSA

    production designer
    Patrick Tatopoulos

    Warner Bros. Pictures


    Batcave…

    Bruce Wayne [Ben Affleck] views info he obtained from hacking into Lex Luthor’s computer...

    Note: The entire set is suspended…the tables, the lights, the desks and equipment!

    Photo by Clay Enos TM©2016 DC Comics/Warner Bros. All rights reserved.

  • set decorator
    Carolyn [Cal] Loucks SDSA

    production designer
    Patrick Tatopoulos

    Warner Bros. Pictures


    Batcave…

    Irons says, “…Alfred tries to make Bruce look at the long view when it comes to serving up justice. Alfred sees justice as vengeance without the passion; for Bruce, for Batman, vengeance is all passion now…”

    Ben Affleck. Photo TM©2016 DC Comics/Warner Bros. All rights reserved.

  • set decorator
    Carolyn [Cal] Loucks SDSA

    production designer
    Patrick Tatopoulos

    Warner Bros. Pictures


    Batcave…

    “The Armory houses all of Batman’s weapons and commemorates his pal Robin, whose suit is suspended between the stairs, so every day he is reminded of his fallen friend,” Loucks notes...
    PD Patrick Tatopoulos proffers, “The main concept for the cave is that everything is suspended. It’s all hanging, like a bat.”

    Ben Affleck. Photo by Clay Enos TM©2016 DC Comics/Warner Bros. All rights reserved.

  • set decorator
    Carolyn [Cal] Loucks SDSA

    production designer
    Patrick Tatopoulos

    Warner Bros. Pictures


    Ben Affleck as Batman

    “While the Batmobile was a fully functional car, it needed to be augmented with gadgets that would look like it was running much faster. It also needed amazing-looking racer seats in charcoal and burnt orange,” Loucks smiles...

    Photo by Zack Snyder. TM©2016 DC Comics/Warner Bros. All rights reserved.

  • set decorator
    Carolyn [Cal] Loucks SDSA

    production designer
    Patrick Tatopoulos

    Warner Bros. Pictures


    Warehouse…

    Ben Affleck as Batman works through an upcoming action scene with
    Director Zack Snyder…

    Photo by Clay Enos TM©2016 DC Comics/Warner Bros. All rights reserved.

  • set decorator
    Carolyn [Cal] Loucks SDSA

    production designer
    Patrick Tatopoulos

    Warner Bros. Pictures


    Wharf district…

    And more action! Snyder gives notes to Henry Cavill and Ben Affleck, who play Superman and Batman

    The setting gives evidence of how the director prefers actual sets to green screen…

    Photo by Clay Enos TM©2016 DC Comics/Warner Bros. All rights reserved.

  • set decorator
    Carolyn [Cal] Loucks SDSA

    production designer
    Patrick Tatopoulos

    Warner Bros. Pictures


    Wharf district…

    Screen shot of the scene…

    Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck. Photo image TM©2016 DC Comics/Warner Bros. All rights reserved.

  • set decorator
    Carolyn [Cal] Loucks SDSA

    production designer
    Patrick Tatopoulos

    Warner Bros. Pictures

    Gotham/Metropolis skyline…

    Henry Cavill as Superman

    Even in a posed shot with green screen, there are set dressing details!

    Photo by Clay Enos TM©2016 DC Comics/Warner Bros. All rights reserved.

  • set decorator
    Carolyn [Cal] Loucks SDSA

    production designer
    Patrick Tatopoulos

    Warner Bros. Pictures

    DAILY PLANET…

    At the famed newspaper, Clark Kent [Henry Cavill] doesn’t agree with the story assignment he’s been given…

    Photo by Clay Enos TM©2016 DC Comics/Warner Bros. All rights reserved.


  • set decorator
    Carolyn [Cal] Loucks SDSA

    production designer
    Patrick Tatopoulos

    Warner Bros. Pictures

    DAILY PLANET…

    Snyder goes over images with Cavill…
    Note the corridor of reporters’ desks ad infinitum!

    Photo by Clay Enos TM©2016 DC Comics/Warner Bros. All rights reserved.


  • set decorator
    Carolyn [Cal] Loucks SDSA

    production designer
    Patrick Tatopoulos

    Warner Bros. Pictures

    DAILY PLANET…

    Editor-in-Chief Perry White [Laurence Fishburne] and Clark Kent [Henry Cavill] are interrupted by breaking news…

    Photo by Clay Enos TM©2016 DC Comics/Warner Bros. All rights reserved.


  • set decorator
    Carolyn [Cal] Loucks SDSA

    production designer
    Patrick Tatopoulos

    Warner Bros. Pictures

    DAILY PLANET…

    “The DAILY PLANET has a prestigious history as a legitimate newspaper office and Editor-in-Chief Perry White [Laurence Fishburne] has seen it all,” says Loucks. “Awards from the golden era of journalism line the walls…”

    Photo by Clay Enos TM©2016 DC Comics/Warner Bros. All rights reserved.

  • set decorator
    Carolyn [Cal] Loucks SDSA

    production designer
    Patrick Tatopoulos

    Warner Bros. Pictures

    DAILY PLANET…

    Reporters Lois Lane [Amy Adams] and Clark Kent [Henry Cavill] don’t agree with White’s [Laurence Fishburne] approach to a news story…

    Note the details of Lois’s cubicle…

    Photo TM©2016 DC Comics/Warner Bros. All rights reserved.


  • set decorator
    Carolyn [Cal] Loucks SDSA

    production designer
    Patrick Tatopoulos

    Warner Bros. Pictures

    DAILY PLANET…

    The newspaper is caught in the times, betwixt digital and paper.
    On the cubicle shelves and throughout the set for her apartment, Loucks placed mementos of Lois Lane’s [Amy Adams] travels…small ones that could fit in hand luggage…

    Photo by Clay Enos TM©2016 DC Comics/Warner Bros. All rights reserved.

  • set decorator
    Carolyn [Cal] Loucks SDSA

    production designer
    Patrick Tatopoulos

    Warner Bros. Pictures

    Washington DC, laboratory…

    Amy Adams as Lois Lane...
    “She’s still in pursuit of the truth—she needs to find truth in order to have a sense of self, that’s always a part of who she is,” Adams relates. “But now she also needs to find the truth in order to help her man clear his name. So she’s not only approaching this as a journalist, but as a woman wanting to help the man she loves the only way she knows how.”

  • set decorator
    Carolyn [Cal] Loucks SDSA

    production designer
    Patrick Tatopoulos

    Warner Bros. Pictures

    Gotham/Metropolis skyline…

    Superman [Henry Cavill] and Lois [Amy Adams] have rescued each other…
    …the set details are blurred here, but prevalent in the film…

    Photo by Clay Enos TM©2016 DC Comics/Warner Bros. All rights reserved.

  • set decorator
    Carolyn [Cal] Loucks SDSA

    production designer
    Patrick Tatopoulos

    Warner Bros. Pictures

    LexCorp Headquarters…

    Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor

    The GLOBE & MAIL describes, “A visit to LexCorp headquarters is a trip into the extremes of millennial office-design fetishism…”

    Photo by Clay Enos TM©2016 DC Comics/Warner Bros. All rights reserved.

  • set decorator
    Carolyn [Cal] Loucks SDSA

    production designer
    Patrick Tatopoulos

    Warner Bros. Pictures

    Luthor mansion library…

    Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor

    Completely different from the stylized modernism surrounding it, the library is the one room that retains Lex’s father’s taste and trappings, including a painting that can be turned upside down to connote evil winning or losing the battle for the realm of earth…

    Photo by Clay Enos TM©2016 DC Comics/Warner Bros.


  • set decorator
    Carolyn [Cal] Loucks SDSA

    production designer
    Patrick Tatopoulos

    Warner Bros. Pictures

    Luthor mansion gala…

    Lex [Jesse Eisenberg] is deliciously pleased that Clark Kent [Henry Cavill] and Bruce Wayne [Ben Affleck] have met, as he is plotting a battle between Superman and Batman

    Note: This set was filmed at the Broad Museum, designed by Zaha Hadid…

    Photo TM©2016 DC Comics/Warner Bros. All rights reserved.


  • set decorator
    Carolyn [Cal] Loucks SDSA

    production designer
    Patrick Tatopoulos

    Warner Bros. Pictures

    Luthor mansion gala…

    Clark Kent [Henry Cavill] stands in front of Cleon Petersen’s “End of Days”...
    The artwork was commissioned in a larger size for this set...

    Photo TM©2016 DC Comics/Warner Bros. All rights reserved.

  • set decorator
    Carolyn [Cal] Loucks SDSA

    production designer
    Patrick Tatopoulos

    Warner Bros. Pictures

    Luthor mansion gala…

    Bruce Wayne [Ben Affleck] meets the mysterious Diana Prince [Gal Gadot]…

    The gala was filmed at the Broad Museum, a signature building designed by Zaha Hadid…

    Photo by Clay Enos TM©2016 DC Comics/Warner Bros. All rights reserved.




  • set decorator
    Carolyn [Cal] Loucks SDSA

    production designer
    Patrick Tatopoulos

    Warner Bros. Pictures

    The Metropolis Hotel…

    We only catch a glimpse of
    Diana Prince/Wonder Woman [Gal Gadot] and the glamorous hotel…
    Loucks had a 60-ft-long carpet custom made for the lobby and did a luxury suite in blue and white…

    Photo by Clay Enos TM©2016 DC Comics/Warner Bros. All rights reserved.


  • set decorator
    Carolyn [Cal] Loucks SDSA

    production designer
    Patrick Tatopoulos

    Warner Bros. Pictures

    The Capitol…

    Senator June Finch [Holly Hunter] holds a press conference introducing an upcoming Senate hearing…

    Photo by Clay Enos TM©2016 DC Comics/Warner Bros. All rights reserved.


  • set decorator
    Carolyn [Cal] Loucks SDSA

    production designer
    Patrick Tatopoulos

    Warner Bros. Pictures

    The Capitol, Senate hearing room…

    Superman [Henry Cavill] testifies…
    Filmed in the Wayne County Building, Detroit, Loucks recalls, “The room was literally 6 different colors of marble and designated historical, so we could not use a nail or screw. To visually elongate the room, I added blue velvet drapes on the opposite wall.”

    Photo TM©2016 DC Comics/Warner Bros.

  • set decorator
    Carolyn [Cal] Loucks SDSA

    production designer
    Patrick Tatopoulos

    Warner Bros. Pictures

    Smallville diner…

    Clark Kent’s mother, Martha [Diane Lane], sees her son’s testimony on television, and knows something is wrong...

    Photo by Clay Enos TM©2016 DC Comics/Warner Bros. All rights reserved.

  • set decorator
    Carolyn [Cal] Loucks SDSA

    production designer
    Patrick Tatopoulos

    Warner Bros. Pictures

    Gotham/Metropolis…

    Superman [Henry Cavill], Wonder Woman [Gal Gadot] and Batman [Ben Affleck] band together to fight the evil alien monster Luthor has created…

    Photo TM©2016 DC Comics/Warner Bros. All rights reserved.


Fearing the actions of a god-like superhero left unchecked, Gotham City’s formidable, forceful vigilante, Batman, takes on Metropolis’s most revered, modern-day savior, Superman, while the world wrestles with what sort of hero it really needs. With Batman and Superman at war with each other, a new threat quickly arises, putting mankind in greater danger than it has ever known before…
                                                                                                                            
Collaborating with Director Zack Snyder, Producer Chuck Roven, multiple writers and major shifts, Production Designer Patrick Tatopoulos and Set Decorator Carolyn [Cal] Loucks SDSA, Director of Photography Larry Fong, Costume Designer Michael Wilkinson and their teams in several locales created a distinctively new representation of the superheroes we have come to know and love…and their beloved environs!

Loucks and Tatopoulos give us in-depth insights into the darker depictions of today’s Gotham and Metropolis and their conflicted heroes…and perhaps a hint or two of what might come!
 
SET DECOR: Tell us about the making of this film!
How did you approach it?
 
Set Decorator Cal Loucks SDSA: Zack envisioned Batman to be portrayed as an aging, jaded and damaged hero. Production Designer Patrick Tatopoulos and I worked to visually translate that by taking the polish off of the worlds Bruce Wayne inhabited…home and work…his everyday world.
 
You will notice the Batcave is a well-used place showing signs of wear: auto oil, soot and grime from years of running a car and Batwing in an underground space with recycled air. The tools are all used and worn, including the computer screens.
 
His mid-century modern lake house, while luxurious, is simply furnished and time-worn.
 
 
SET DECOR: There was a hiatus when Ben Affleck came aboard – a major script rewrite/changes. Had you already started purchasing, building? Did you have to scrap anything?
 
Loucks: The rewrites were happening constantly and, in fact, before his screenwriter Chris Terrio came on, we had worked with at least 3 other scripts. Many of our original concepts were scrapped as characters developed and the worlds developed in different directions. But I won’t lie, the script took a huge change of direction at that point and I felt it made the story richer, darker and more nuanced.
 
 
SET DECOR: You filmed mostly in Detroit! And a bit in the Chicago area…Tell us about that experience…
 
Loucks: Detroit is an amazing city—incredible architecture and a legacy of the major industrial city it once was. It totally suited the Gotham we were trying to portray.
 
We had amazing studios in Pontiac, Michigan, nearby, which suited our special effects and stunts requirements. I believe that the Pontiac Studios offered the only stage that could accommodate the scale of the Batcave that Patrick designed—over 30 feet off the ground!
 
Chicago is another beautiful city that embraces the history of the country. We needed Chicago for the scale of the buildings in our Metropolis scenes and the view from the Daily Planet. Also, of course, the flat farm country for the Kent family farm.
 
My top-drawer crew came from all over North America. We worked so well together and brought the best of all our talents to the show…Detroit, Toronto, LA, Chicago, Baltimore, Miami, North Carolina, New Orleans, Vancouver!
 
 
SET DECOR: Filming on the streets…and then with the docks and oil refinery…
 
Loucks: Again, Detroit offered an authentic and historical old shipyard because it was part of the Great Lakes system. The warehouse where a key character is kept hostage was built on a stage, but inspired by the interiors of the Nicholson Shipyard…and much of the set dressing was actually rented from the shipyard. Grease and grime came free!! My Leadperson, Grant Samson (LA), and his crew worked for days pulling out the incredible pieces you see.
 
 
SET DECOR: Were you able to resource locally?
 
Loucks: Yes and no. Part of the joy of working on location is to discover the hidden treasures. Michigan is a very wealthy state, despite the recent downturn of Detroit, and it has a rich cultural history including Cranbrook School of Art, home of artists such as Saarinen, Eames, McCoy/Knoll. This was the heartland of mid-century modern furniture and so there is quite a bit of the best to be found.
 
There are also some very high-end dealers that I loved. Judy Frankel Antiques in Troy, Michigan had an incredible European collection, and I was welcomed at the Michigan Design Center where we were able to rent current design lines such as Henredon and Baker. I purchased quite a lot of quality fabrics, from Lee Jofa, Pindler and Brunschwig & Fils through the dealers as well.
 
However, massive quantities of fabrics, and multiple quantities of lighting and books, as well as multiples of matching furniture for the courtroom and the Metropolitan hotel had to be purchased and or rented.
 
My lab equipment came from Alpha Medical, custom-made for our show. Fantastic. Modern Props was another significant vendor for us –it’s great to have professional resources that you can rely on!
 
 
SET DECOR: It seems as if you must have had a considerable amount of custom work/designed pieces…
 
Loucks: I had my own prop-building team, headed by Jeff Kachadoorian (LA) who worked in everything from metals, plastics, fiberglass and wood. We custom-built all of the computer and workshop shelves, including the Armory in the Batcave…more on that later.
 
We augmented an existing military spotlight to become the iconic Batlight.
 
Jeff’s team came up with several methods to make the hanging vines and eggs in the genesis chamber of Zod’s ship. I conceived of the equipment that Lex Luthor used to monitor the emnyo cells, an illustrator drew it, and Jeff and his team built all of it, as well as the monitor systems.
 
I also designed a garage work-light that cantilevered over the Batmobile. I had another team build the light, as well as the fully operational kryptonite vault in Lex’s Lab, this is the machine where the little specimen of kryptonite emerges from its vault.
 
 
SET DECOR: How much prep time did you have?
 
Loucks: That’s complicated! I started prepping in Los Angeles mid-August of 2013. We went on hiatus just after Christmas. We received the ultimate script we were to work on in early January, and then went on another hiatus, as Zack needed time to story board it. When we came back, we had 12 weeks to prep an entirely new script! Not much time at all in the scheme of large-scale action movies.
 
SET DECOR: Producer Chuck Roven describes,
Gotham City and Metropolis were envisioned as sister cities/cross-town rivals, with only a minor body of water between them, allowing for action to take place on both heroes’ turfs. Metropolis is more cosmopolitan, while Gotham is a tougher town.
What exterior elements & street dressing did you do to distinguish between the two cities?
 
Loucks: The cities were architecturally very distinct.
Metropolis had a Federalist Style to its downtown, with light-filled grey and white buildings, modern features and green grass. So, Metropolis could be described as modern, clean, but perhaps a bit soulless. Lex Corp, headquartered there, is white, crisp, contemporary and fun…like a Google think tank…until the sinisterness and calculated evil of its owner is revealed. Orange, black and white are the dominant colors. The front lobby has green grass carpets and boiled-wool couches that look like rocks, table tennis, a polaroid wall of all the guests and employees. It looked like a great place to work until Batman broke in and discovered Lex’s true intentions.
 
Gotham has been down in its luck, an aged beauty…damaged, darkness and despair…the forgotten objects and people who have fallen through the cracks. Greys, gunmetal and corrosion were repeated color palettes in Gotham. Everything and everywhere, even whites were dishwater dirty. We dwelt on Gotham’s dark underside: the shipyard, the warehouses, dark alleys and the devastated homes of the disenfranchised. Wear tear, grime and desolation…abandoned.
 
 
SET DECOR: Were there specific things or themes you stayed away from?
Loucks: Blue lights! We did not want this to ever look like every other Sci-Fi movie. We wanted all the technology to be current-day available and understandable now.
 
 
SET DECOR: What was the most fabulous piece you had made or found?
 
Hands down, the enormous Latex Batwing cover! I am a textile fanatic. I love how latex drapes, so when it became necessary to cover part of the Batwing, I knew this was the texture and material that would take the shape of a bat in the most sculptural way possible. Patrick loved the idea when I presented it to him, and replied as he usually would, “Go for it!”
 
I worked with my amazing draper, Kevin Kropp, who had never worked with Latex before. A 40’ x 40’ Latex drape suspended at three points 20-feet above the Batwing was a tremendous amount of weight. He made a maquette of the Batwing model and discovered the best way to bond the latex to bear the weight at that height over a long time. He then cut the material so that the seams looked like the skeletal structure of a bat. Loved this piece!
 
 
SET DECOR: Tell us about collaborating with Production Designer Patrick Tatopoulos…
 
Loucks: This was Patrick’s and my second project together; the first was Len Wisemen’s TOTAL RECALL. I would say that there is no other creative collaboration that I have enjoyed more in my career. Patrick has a clear vision of what he wants and he is an artist who remains grounded in the realities of filmmaking. In other words, he sees the bigger picture at all times. What makes us work so well together is the mutual respect for each of our creative energies. From day one, we held meetings to tackle some of the most interesting creative concepts of the movie. We did this throughout the production, especially since many times all of our work was thrown out as the scripts changed—many of our sets got scrapped!  
 
 
SET DECOR: Did you have a large crew?
 
Loucks: Yes, I worked with 2 Assistant Set Decorators, 1 Buyer with an occasional follow-up Buyer for additional local items, 2 Leadmen, several Gang Bosses, a technical Lead who only worked on the vehicles, a large team of Set Dressers which varied in number according to the schedule, a Special-Builds team and a Drapery department. I also had my own Painter team. There were a total of 60 or more people.
 
 
SET DECOR: Was there a lot of pre-vis?
 
Loucks: Pre-vis was used heavily for all of the action scenes. It was absolutely vital information for all departments for cohesive dressing, etc. For example, the Batmobile fight scene in the Warehouse district. We shot that in over 6 different locations. Each location had multiple objects that required destruction: boats, the shed, fences, doors, etc. Every scene required the Set Decoration department’s involvement, as Zack required all of his sets to be physically real. Those are not fake boats…my team sourced them and assisted SPX to set them up for the physical gag.
 
 
SET DECOR: DP Larry Fong mentions, “We wanted a naturalistic look, but with a heightened reality.” What were your specific requirements re: the cinematographic aspects?
 
Loucks: Larry Fong is an incredible Cinematographer…I would say he is magic! I spoke with him everyday about the practical lighting because, in fact, so many of our practicals actually lit the set. This is what gave the naturalistic look he is speaking of. The warehouse lighting came from those old industrial 8-foot-long fluorescents. The exterior warehouse district lights were moody and spotty because they were set in exactly the locations that were most effective for Larry.
 
SET DECOR: Now to the key sets…Did you re-create the DAILY PLANET offices directly from MAN OF STEEL, or did you do a nod to the look, and develop a similar setting?
 
Loucks: DAILY PLANET necessarily had to be refurbished, as it had been damaged in the attacks in MAN OF STEEL. Our DAILY PLANET was based on references from the CHICAGO TRIBUNE—updated with computers but still paperbound. We did not reconfigure it at all like the previous MAN OF STEEL and, in fact, we were lucky to have the entire closed GM plant office systems available to us for rent! The office systems were from the ‘90s, but we kept the palette to soft grays, browns, the nooks cluttered with boxes, papers and personal mementos.
 
 
SET DECOR: And for Editor-in-Chief Perry White’s office?
 
Loucks: The DAILY PLANET has a prestigious history as a legitimate newspaper office and Perry White has seen it all. Awards from the golden era of journalism line the walls. The conference room and Perry’s office feature front-page news of his era, commemorating his vivid memories of events that changed the world he lives in: the deaths of President Kennedy, Martin Luther King and Marilyn Monroe, Man Landing on the Moon, the Berlin Wall coming down…and now he has witnessed the world he knows changing again. Perry is sort of stuck in his era, so we put him in an office with mid-century modern furniture and some old worn out brown leather chairs…comfortable, surrounded with his memories of a world turned upside down.
 
 
SET DECOR: We so wish we could have seen more of Lois Lane’s apartment! Please tell us about it, and what we missed off camera!
 
Loucks: Really sad that the apartment wasn’t seen more – maybe the next movie!! There are some really huge issues we were dealing with here—the story we were trying to tell was that Clark Kent and Lois were living together and trying to get a handle on what being Superman meant to their relationship.
 
While Zack decided to portray them together in the apartment, I felt strongly, and Patrick agreed, that Lois needed to be true a modern woman. Back when Superman first hit the stands (1938), a woman like Lois was extremely unusual. But, hey its 2016, and Lois is just like a lot of women of our time: a workaholic, well educated, savvy, well travelled and passionate about world events. She is political, kindhearted, and (gasp!)…a liberal! And she reads. So there are necessarily a lot of books: classics, modern classics, but mostly political biographies and world events. She has a desk and a TV in the living room because she always takes her work home with her. There is a decent kitchen for the infrequent times she actually gets to eat at home. Mostly her kitchen is for tea and coffee.
 
A big deal was Clark’s workshop area, carved out between the kitchen and living room, where he could repair his bike, which is about the only thing he owns because Clark came to Metropolis with nothing. One Clark item is a vintage metal windmill on the bookshelf.
 
There is a commemorative wall, across from the bathroom, of framed images that Lois’s photojournalist friends would have taken. Very gutsy photos of war-torn countries with children and woman and soldiers…she feels strongly about the photojournalists who risked their lives to get the right shots, thus they are an important part of her life.
 
No one got to see the bedroom. It was so pretty with Indian fabric drapes in a soft blue, more bookshelves, a unfussy bed with tailored menswear bedding…yet it is a sexy bedroom with a Deco carpet in a palette of plums, blues and greys. My take on Lois was that she collected some tribal and primitive pieces, along with a few carpets—items that she could take in her travel bag. Her home reflected that. So, oh well…stay tuned for the next movie!
 
Batman’s realm…
SET DECOR: The Wayne Manor ruins…Obviously, this film follows the destruction of the manor in the previous BATMAN film
 
Loucks: We kept the dressing to a minimum, destructed wall sconces, a damaged piano in the corner and a once magnificent dining room table…but you don’t see any of it really, you just feel the lost beauty.
 
SET DECOR: For Bruce Wayne’s current home, the minimalist glass lake house, Patrick is quoted as saying, The house sits in the middle of nature, as if it’s almost not there; wherever you look, you’re in nature. I was inspired by the architecture of Mies van der Rohe and the house was crafted around the idea that Bruce’s father could have had van der Rohe design it.”
Please tell us about your choices for the set…
 
Loucks: The idea was that this was a summerhouse on the same property as the Wayne Manor, that this house represented the safe and happy times of Bruce’s younger years. For that reason, Bruce has changed very little of the house except what he needs to function in the current day, such as security systems and a large TV to stay in communication with the world. The furniture is therefore of the best quality, but worn—kind of like the Batman. His earthly needs are spare; he spends most of his time in the Batcave, where he is most comfortable.
 
While the house is maintained, the ravages of sun exposure over time have affected the fabrics and wood. I used classic pieces from B&B Italia…the Charles sectional and sofa in warm dark grey mohair. Of course, I chose Knoll’s Mies Van Der Rohe pieces, but I worked with warm dark colors and avoided blacks, the typical choice for Mies furniture. I featured the Barcelona chair in a khaki green, the Barcelona daybed in warm brown, the MR chaise, the Brno chair and the MR chaise lounge. I also used a few unique pieces from Blackman Cruz, one of my favorite curated showrooms in LA.
Alas, this set was not seen either.
 
 
Batcave…
SET DECOR: With Zack Snyder’s preference for the practical, we understand much of the movie was shot on location or on large builds, the largest set being the Batcave, which the studio says was “a feat of engineering that would impress the most daring architect.”
 
Patrick is quoted as saying…
“The main concept for the cave is that everything is suspended. It’s all hanging, like a bat—there is nothing with structural support from underneath. Even inside the workshop every workstation hangs in space; the only thing that touches the ground is the chair. The building is not even touching the ground, it’s all cantilevered on the outside.”
 
The studio proffers:
“The cave is composed of a series of cubed spaces connected by a floating staircase and surrounded by glass walls that are suspended using a spider system, which is a series of brackets that hold up the glass, only at the bottom and top—the brackets are held by steel pipes, painted to disappear into the dark slate color of the untouched cave walls. Water flows down the cave wall and into a small pond beneath a bridge, between two glass cubes. The effect is that of glass cubicles squeezed inside an existing cave.”
 
Please tell us about the set decoration aspect…
 
Loucks: This was a dream come true for me! Batman has been my guy since I started to read comics. Patrick’s concept of suspension was fascinating and presented many challenges for my team.
 
First, conceptually, what does Bruce Wayne do in his shop? Traditionally, the greatest detective was able to spy on his enemies. He uses the sciences for forensic and engineering purposes, builds weaponry, vehicles etc. Once we determined these specifics, every surface had a purpose. We acquired cool metal presses, unusual tools, a bio lab and forensics equipment, and the surveillance and high def computer technology we saw so much of in the movie.
 
Set Decoration had very real engineering considerations. While the tables and lights were all suspended off a grid system in the ceiling with industrial carriers, we had actual limits to the weight the set could carry from the ceiling of the studio. The weight of every table and its set dressing had to be measured and balanced. We built the metal-looking worktables with lighter weight plastic surrounded by aluminum frames, and we replicated machinery and other dressing in lightweight materials where we could. We re-created the hanging lights in industrial foam and plexi tubes, as the real explosion-proof lights weighed 20 lbs each. It truly was a feat of incredible engineering.
 
One of my favorite sort of last-minute designs which we developed was for Alfred (action man!!). When Batman tells him to take over the Batwing in a surprise move, the control handles appear. We made them pull out of the communication command center and flip up in a very cool way. That took a bit to figure out! It worked so smoothly and Alfred looked like he had familiarity and confidence with the controls—very cool.
 
The gull wing work-light over the Batmobile was also a group design. We wanted it to retract when not in use and we wanted it to cantilever over the car but not spill light all over the place…we wanted the lights to be curved to shine on the car only. Again, the weight of the light and its flex when it cantilevered out was a huge consideration which we solved. This is when projects like this are most exciting to me.  
 
 
SET DECOR: The studio describes the Batcave as having a feeling that is organic, minimalist and claustrophobic, built by a man who has become one with his animal nature yet feels crushed by it.
Would you care to comment on this?
 
Loucks: I would say that Bruce Wayne has a calling – but he is not comfortable with it – it has become his burden. Perhaps that is why Alfred encourages him to put away the suit…  
 
 
SET DECOR: And then there’s the Batman museum of sorts, the Armory, another part of the amazing suspended design for the Batcave
 
Loucks: The Bat-suit is accessible by a palm scan on an invisible part of the wall. The Armory houses all of Batman’s weapons and commemorates his pal Robin, whose suit is suspended between the stairs to the workshop, so every day Wayne is reminded of his fallen friend.
 
We requested a lot of the previous Batman movies’ weapons from the WB archives and we supplemented the weapons with what we thought Wayne would potentially use, including guns…a dark version of the Batman
 
The Batwing
The interior of the Batwing was originally never supposed to be seen, but as scripts developed Zack needed a finished interior. The wings of the Batwing were so huge that Patrick determined they should only be seen in CG.
 
I had a separate team to deal with the interiors of both the Batwing and the Batmobile. Jack Blanchard, who is a licensed helicopter technician, led this group; he sourced helicopter parts and components and ran the installation of them. While the Batmobile was a fully functional car, it needed to be augmented with gadgets that would look like it was running much faster. It also needed amazing-looking racer seats in charcoal and burnt orange, which we provided.
 
 
Lex Luthor’s domain…
SET DECOR: LexCorp…The company headquarters is ultra-mod, like a tech company, but with a basketball theme. As you mentioned, an entirely different palette and approach…
 
Loucks: This is another set that was not seen in its entirety!!! Interesting that Lex and Bruce and Clark share the shadow of each of their fathers. The LexCorp sign seen in this shot was from the days of Lex’s father’s company. The contrast to the old way of doing business is this fun palace depicted with a basketball court, sharp Brunswick game tables in black: table tennis, air hockey, foosball and shuffleboard…beach chairs and sand, the aforementioned green artificial-grass carpets with “rock” furniture  (Livingstones from Smarin), plus a giant polaroid photo wall and a craft coffee shop. Super cool space…
 
SET DECOR: The Luthor mansion is the setting for the benefit gala hosted by Lex Luthor where Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent meet…
 
Loucks: All shot at the Broad Museum, a key piece of Zaha Hadid architecture. The large mural End of Days by Cleon Petersen was commissioned in a larger size for the walls of Lex’s party room. When I proposed this artwork to Zack, he immediately connected with the work.
 
We created the industrial kitchen in an art storage closet of the museum, as well as the server room, which was shot in a small side gallery. While the main part was shot in the largest gallery space, in the background, you see the entrance to Lex’s Library.
 
SET DECOR: Please tell us about the Library…highly symbolic and quite revealing
 
Loucks: In stark contrast to the modern mansion, the Library is filled with historical art collections, antique furnishing, taxidermy, rare finds and treasures…really a complete European mixture of antiquities.
 
Patrick designed the fireplace surround. Zack did not want to use dark woods, so we turned to dry-brushed grey wood. We used Restoration Hardware artifacts combined with pieces from Chicago and Detroit antique dealers. I chose a William Morris-like velvet to recover two English Knole sofas we found through Craigslist to sit in front of the fireplace…perfect sizes, not usually seen in the movies, a sidelight is the play on words—Knole is from Kent, England.
 
For the signature painting, the one that symbolizes evil, darkness and the opposite forces, I researched several periods of artists: Brugel, the Dutch Masters, the French and Italians of that period…all Creationists!! Patrick came up with a beautiful sketch and scale of the painting, and then we commissioned an illustrator who worked along with Patrick over a period of two months.
 
The griffins were purchased at Architectural Artifacts in Chicago. Apparently they came from a movie theater…the perfect depiction of a monster.
 
Smallville…
SET DECOR: What can you tell us about the Kent farmhouse, particularly Clark’s bedroom where we find Lois at the end of the film…
 
Loucks: We re-built the farm at the same location outside of Chicago they used for MOS, but we made it larger in order to incorporate a home funeral. We wanted to show that the outside of the house had been patched up since the original battle and Martha had carried on. We get to see Martha’s bedroom and a portion of Clark’s childhood bedroom, with warm and comfortable pale grey-blue wallpaper from before Clark’s parents’ time. I contrasted the homey Farm Club awards on his wall with other mementos like Science Club, and noted his interest in Space with the mobile planets hung in his room.
 
SET DECOR: There are myriad other sets & set pieces in this film! How many sets total???
There were over 172 sets, including subsets for this film.
 
SET DECOR: What was your methodology?
 
Loucks: I applied the same methodology as I have always used: identifying the sets that will require research and longer timelines for the design-and-deliverables component. Then it’s a matter of drill down! Most often, I start with a key object to build around, but I also use texture and materials almost without even knowing what the object ultimately might be. From there, the sets grow. A lot of the time, I don’t even know what the actual design of the envelop, the architecture, will actually be, but I have an instinctive idea based on conversations with Patrick about scale, shape, tones, etc. that would work for the environment. The conception of the idea is the fun part for me, the grind and the challenge is to fit the budget and schedule timelines to it. 
 

SET DECOR: What was the best thing about your experience making this film?
 
Loucks: It’s all about the amazingly talented people who worked on this movie and the collaborative spirit throughout!!
 
Chuck Roven, whom I respect so much as a Producer, really has seen it all and he brings an invaluable wisdom to the process.
 
Zack Snyder is so into the creative process and he comes to the set everyday excited and energized. It’s contagious! He loved the Set Decoration’s attention to details and I know he felt he was in great hands with Patrick’s creative team.
 
I loved collaborating with Patrick Tatopoulos again. He respects the creative force I bring to the work as a Set Decorator. We work extremely well together and, of course, that meant working with all of the wonderful team of concept artists like Ed Natividad and Anshuman Prasad, whom I had worked with on TOTAL RECALL. I can hardly wait to work with Patrick and all the gang again.
 
…And, other than my Assistant Decorator Avril Dishaw, I worked with a whole new team, whom I loved! They all brought so much talent and skill to the table.
 
…Also, the Wardrobe department—I loved Michael Wilkinson’s incredibly creative talented and always buoyant team.
 
There are so many people in every department who gave me inspiration and assisted my team in making these sets look so fantastic – it was a fabulous ride!
 
 
 
 


film decor archives

MILES AHEAD 2016-04-11
THE BIG SHORT 2016-04-04
THE MARTIAN 2016-02-15
BRIDGE OF SPIES 2016-01-22
TRUMBO 2015-12-19
SECRET IN THEIR EYES 2015-12-06
SPY 2015-08-02
TERMINATOR: GENISYS 2015-07-20
JUPITER ASCENDING 2015-02-24
SEVENTH SON 2015-02-24
BIRDMAN 2015-02-01
SELMA 2015-01-21
A MOST VIOLENT YEAR 2015-01-09
THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE 5 ARMIES 2014-12-31
WHIPLASH 2014-12-21
GET ON UP 2014-08-05
CHEF 2014-06-28
x-men: days of future past 2014-06-13
the amazing spider-man 2 2014-05-03
nebraska 2014-02-25
lovelace 2014-01-08
inside llewyn davis 2013-12-21
saving mr. banks 2013-12-12
rush 2013-10-07
prisoners 2013-10-01
world war z 2013-07-15
star trek into darkness 2013-06-06
lincoln 2013-01-03
the master 2012-11-17
cloud atlas 2012-11-11
the bourne legacy 2012-10-11
lawless 2012-09-24
the amazing spider-man 2012-09-08
the avengers 2012-05-22
good deeds 2012-03-28
hugo 2012-01-27
the help 2011-12-18
twilight: breaking dawn, part 1 2011-12-13
my week with marilyn 2011-12-04
the ides of march 2011-10-20
what's your number? 2011-10-11
contagion 2011-10-03
cowboys & aliens 2011-08-14
super 8 2011-06-21
the conspirator 2011-05-15
limitless 2011-03-26
little fockers 2011-01-14
the next three days 2011-01-05
the social network 2011-01-04
agora 2010-08-28
knight & day 2010-07-02
sex & the city 2 2010-06-02
sherlock holmes 2010-02-08
the lovely bones 2010-01-26
inglourious basterds 2010-01-10
cirque du freak 2009-11-12