“The challenge here was to create a lived-in look to convey that our characters had been marooned for a long time,” notes Set Decorator Leslie Pope SDSA International, as she again generously takes us behind the scenes of the AVENGERS!
Editor's note: Part 1: AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR can be found in our Film Decor section as well!
Captain Marvel/Carol Danvers [Brie Larson] joins the team at the beginning of the film. Thor [Chris Hemsworth] is bemused by her attitude and appreciates it.
Note the geometric lines in the lighting and shelving. The books and bar elements, and some of the furnishings, are changed to reflect the different time frames. The background changes help the audience quickly define the “When”.
Avengers Compound, lounge... Bruce Banner [Mark Ruffalo] observes from another section of the lounge. The glass wall behind him leads to the key workshop...
Ruffalo says, “...It makes science seem cool for kids. It’s amazing the impact that these movies have had culturally. They’re the good guys, and they fight for what’s good. They use science, and they use reason and they are nerds. It’s been great to turn young people on to the idea of science.”
“We wanted to convey that the multidisciplinary compound had several floors and myriad uses, as well as the passage of time,, Pope explains. “So this room in the Avengers Compound, with its very distinctive ceiling and wall lighting patterns, was dressed several ways—as offices, a TV lounge, a laboratory, a conference room, and more...”
“The Production Designer wanted a very clean, very spare yet equipment-filled room. So this area of the Compound is dressed similarly to research photos we had of the International Space Station.
Most of the equipment was found in salvage yards in Los Angeles, shipped to Georgia, modified as needed and installed by the Set Dressers. We used components from many eras to show that the room had existed for many years and been modified as needed...”
“The challenge here was to create a laboratory showing Dr. Pym’s several areas of expertise...Engineering, Biochemistry, Myrmecology, etc...with some equipment that was of the period and some that was state-of-the-art/Pym-designed/not recognizable...”
“The Vault contains items stored from many, many eras as well as workstations meant to represent the late 1960s/very early ‘70s. The Camera department needed points of light down the main aisle and, therefore, we settled on microfilm machines that were clearly of the period, were easily opened to allow for amplification of the lighting, and were relatively easy to source here in our time.”
“An ecologically detailed home and grounds which contain a hydroponic greenhouse, an organic garden and character-driven living spaces. All the hydroponic equipment was real and working. The Greens department planted the organic garden and Set Dec supplied all the beehives, gardening equipment, chairs, tables, etc. The exterior of the home was based on a lakefront ranch in Georgia, the interior was a set built on stage...”
“Tony’s desk/light table was partially built in-house. The base belonged to an antique French table, which I purchased in Atlanta. The base was widened, a new top fabricated and painted by our Construction/Paint Departments to my specs...”
“The bookcases were filled with physics, engineering and scientific books to reflect Tony’s pursuits, as well as novels and other subjects that the writers informed us would be of more interest to Pepper...”
“Everything in the kitchen worked – all appliances, faucets, drains, etc. All the drawers were dressed and the fridge stocked with organic, homegrown items because several cooking scenes were scripted...”
“Set Dec team emptied the home of the actual occupants’ belongings and brought in items that seemed as if Peggy had inherited them from family: Window treatments, floor coverings, appliances, furniture, light fixtures, artworks...”
For a Ronin-style fight scene, Director Joe Russo says, “The set amplified the intensity of the scene. It’s the level of detail. It’s not just Tokyo. It’s Tokyo after a major cataclysm has happened on Earth. It’s a very unique expression of Tokyo. It’s grounded in reality but also goes off into the realm of fantasy as well...”
Pope points out, “A wide variety of Asian goods are available for purchase in the Atlanta area, but we were unable to find appropriate street furnishings for our outdoor restaurant row and our alleyways. Thankfully, our Tokyo buyer was able to send us a multitude of containers filled with electric meters, light fixtures, lanterns, recycling bins and the like, based upon photo research done here in the US. The Set Dressers worked on this street (in downtown Atlanta) for weeks.”
Tokyo Karaoke Bar... “This was a very challenging location, built and dressed in a vacant building in downtown Atlanta. It first had to be vetted by a structural engineer, then our Construction and Paint Departments had to work their magic, then Set Dec installed neon and other light fixtures, bar and furniture dressing, Karaoke, music and video equipment, and then we had to make half of it look destroyed because the scene opens with the aftermath of a car crashing into the front entrance...”
Hood of crashed car in foreground, right, along with displaced bricks!
“The destroyed sets were actually created on stage. The furniture, pipes, electrical conduit, light fixtures, circuit breaker boxes, etc were usually purchased new and then destroyed in place or run over with large machinery to give them that bent and twisted look that we so desired. This one was a lot of fun for the Set Dressers, who were charged with destroying all kinds of life size toys. It was bumper cars every day!”
“The Flooded Garage was not created with Visual Effects. It was built in a large tank on stage and really flooded. All of the Set Dec had to be purchased and screwed to the walls or floors to keep everything from floating and injuring actors.”
Editor’s note: We wanted to remind our readers of the depth of re-creation this film also required. Here, The Benatar, an M-class spaceship originally from GUARDIANS OF THE GALAZY, was re-created for AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR and then, again for END GAME, with a little more wear and tear revealed each time...and slightly modified for new effects such as this beautiful framing of Nebula [Karen Gillan]...
“One might think that Set Dec has very little to do in a set like this, but we actually provided miles of clutter/debris and damaged goods from what was supposed to have been the exploded, destroyed Avengers Compound. Set Dec provided office furnishings, piping, light fixtures, electric conduit, as well as aviation equipment, including a large section of a real airplane fuselage and landing gear...”
Editor’s note: There’s no way to describe just how vast and intense the set decoration of the battlefields are...this was definitely both!
Set Decorator Leslie Pope SDSA International, foreground, and her A-team, sitting on the Thanos throne, which BTW, they had embellished with industrial conveyer belting! Set Decoration Buyers Courtney Cocherell & Charlotte Lee, Assistant Set Decorator Claudia Bonfe
In the aftermath of catastrophic destruction, having been soundly defeated by the evil demigod Thanos, who decimated the planet, randomly wiping out half of the world’s population—including many of their fellow Avengers—the remaining Avengers are faced with their biggest challenge yet, finding the resolve within themselves in the midst of their grief to come together to find a way to defeat Thanos once and for all.–Marvel Studios
Once again, we are tiptoeing through the Marvel Universe, sharing details but not spoilers of the colossal conclusion to the Avengers chronicles!
As she did for AVENGERS: INFINITY WARS, Set Decorator Leslie Pope SDSA International gives us insights and peeks into the settings for this final chapter, in which she, Production Designer Charles Wood and their teams took us both forward and back into this wide-ranging universe.
The still state-of-the-art Avengers Compound became the center of the film, the physical space for the coming together of the remaining team, enhanced by newly discovered technology. We visit Tony Stark’s lakefront house...and myriad new sets...and revisit more deeply his father’s lab and other settings from the past...
We mustn’t say more!
See the film, read Leslie's fascinating notes, peruse the fabulous photo gallery above...
—Karen Burg, Editor
Notes from Set Decorator Leslie Pope SDSA International...
“AVENGERS: ENDGAME is the culmination of many, many story lines and therefore we revisited a lot of territory from other MARVEL films. Sometimes we refabricated entire sets or pieces of sets from other films (from BLACK PANTHER, IRON MAN, ANTMAN) sometimes we extrapolated from the other films and created new sets (BLACK PANTHER, IRON MAN, ANTMAN, THOR, CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER). We also revisited many sets created for AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR but time has passed and we had to modify them.”
“A gigantic set built in an old Convention Center near the Atlanta Airport, this set is seen in both INFINITY WAR and ENDGAME, and thus: stood, was wrapped & stored, and then rebuilt over a couple of years. Everything from Set Dec had to be carefully inventoried, packed and stored so we could re-erect the set quickly. We wanted to convey that the compound had several floors and myriad uses. So a key room in the compound, with its very distinctive ceiling and wall lighting patterns, was dressed several ways—as offices, a TV lounge, a laboratory, a conference room, etc. We also used the re-stagings, here and on other sets, to show the passage of time.”
“As is customary in many action films, including our previous one, a gigantic battlefield and aftermath had to be created. Again, Charles was determined to have the sets grounded in the physical world. So my crew and I became best friends with scrap dealers, metal and pipe purveyors and recyclers all over the South.”
Destroyed sets, Flooded sets...
The destroyed sets were created on stage. The furniture, pipes, electrical conduit, light fixtures, circuit breaker boxes, etc. were usually purchased new and then destroyed in place or run over with large machinery to give them that bent and twisted look that we so desired. This was a lot of fun for the Set Dressers, who were charged with destroying all kinds of life-sized toys. It was bumper cars every day!
“One of the totally new and exciting settings, Tokyo aftermath, was dressed on an existing street in Atlanta and an abandoned storefront on that street.
I had been pulling my hair out trying to find a buyer in Tokyo who could round up all the items I kept seeing in research photos...Lanterns, light fixtures, electric meters, recycling bins, etc and etc...but without success. My Atlanta buyer, Charlotte Lee, reached out in desperation to her Japanese friend here in Georgia and he said, “Oh that’s what my sister does.” Voila. We had our buyer. She procured the Japanese items we needed and more. She was invaluable. So was Charlotte. We also had many items manufactured in the Prop shop at the studio in Georgia, enhancing the involved detailing for these sets.”
...For photos depicting this and more, see gallery above!
* Check Film Decor for our coverage of CAPTAIN MARVEL...BLACK PANTHER...GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOLUME 2...SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING...IRONMAN...and AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR!
Convenient links in the list below...