DOCTOR SLEEP

  • set decorator
    Gene Serdena SDSA

    production designer
    Maher Ahmad

    Warner Bros.



    Dan’s attic room, New Hampshire...

    Ewan MacGregor plays Dan Torrance, the grown-up version of little Danny, who survived the horrific events of THE SHINING in 1980.

    Ewan McGregor. Photo by Jessica Miglio © 2019 Warner Bros.


  • set decorator
    Gene Serdena SDSA

    production designer
    Maher Ahmad

    Warner Bros.



    Dan’s attic room, New Hampshire...

    When Dan first arrives in his attic apartment, the notion was to give the room the character of a furnished rental for a down-and-out person seeking shelter.
    There were a number of challenging factors...the set had to conform to certain architectural conventions to allow for shots that had been meticulously storyboarded. Also, the character lives in this space over an eight year time span, so we had to develop the look of him gaining gradual ownership of his dwelling, but still allow for stunt and effects work.

    Photo courtesy GS.


  • set decorator
    Gene Serdena SDSA

    production designer
    Maher Ahmad

    Warner Bros.



    Dan’s attic room, New Hampshire...

    It presents a daunting challenge to preserve the integrity of character in a set, when there are so many competing agendas aligning to sacrifice the character to the technical demands of the film.

    Ewan McGregor. Photo by Jessica Miglio ©2019 Warner Bros.


  • set decorator
    Gene Serdena SDSA

    production designer
    Maher Ahmad

    Warner Bros.



    Overlook Hotel, 1980...

    Yes.
    This.

    We had to re-create David Hicks’s infamous hexagonal carpet design that was heavily featured in THE SHINING.

    [See below for Gene’s great story about this!]

    Roger Dale Floyd. Image ©2019 Warner Bros.


  • set decorator
    Gene Serdena SDSA

    production designer
    Maher Ahmad

    Warner Bros.



    Overlook Hotel, 2019...
    Also iconic, Room 237...

    Drapery & Upholstery Foreman Jory Alvarado (Local 44), stands before his re-creation of the Room 237 chevron drapes and sofa.
    Jory not only had to match the drapes from THE SHINING, he then had to hand-age them to reflect 40 years of dereliction.

    Photo courtesy GS.


  • set decorator
    Gene Serdena SDSA

    production designer
    Maher Ahmad

    Warner Bros.



    Overlook Hotel, Room 237...

    The infamous room in THE SHINING, with the dead, decomposing woman in the bathtub who is prone to making unexpected appearances...

    We got to re-create the insanity of that room: peacock Art Deco carpets, 70s chevron bedspread with matching curtains, and raspberry velour seating area.

    When you’re trying to faithfully re-create something, the challenge to achieve historical authenticity necessitates that one subjugate one’s natural expressions of taste and design in the service of making a facsimile of someone else’s tastes and aesthetic criteria. The pleasure is derived from feeling like you’ve done a successful job.

    Photo courtesy GS.


  • set decorator
    Gene Serdena SDSA

    production designer
    Maher Ahmad

    Warner Bros.



    Overlook Hotel, Room 237...

    Set Dressing Paint Foreman Danielle Couture and her team had to find just the right age level, to suggest the long state of dereliction of the hotel, but still allow the environment to be recognizable.

    Photo courtesy GS.


  • set decorator
    Gene Serdena SDSA

    production designer
    Maher Ahmad

    Warner Bros.



    Overlook Hotel, Room 237...

    Set Dressers Josh Moceri and Sam Carter have a bit of fun in the horrific bathroom of Room 237...

    Photo courtesy GS.


  • set decorator
    Gene Serdena SDSA

    production designer
    Maher Ahmad

    Warner Bros.



    Overlook Hotel...

    The humble, haunted Guest Quarters of the Overlook Hotel...where all of the dressing failed to observe any rules of continuity.
    Try analyzing featured events such as radiators and bedside tables, that seem to magically rearrange from shot-to-shot in THE SHINING...then try to satisfy the demands of a director who insists that everything be congruent with its predecessor. Good luck.

    Photo courtesy GS.


  • set decorator
    Gene Serdena SDSA

    production designer
    Maher Ahmad

    Warner Bros.



    Overlook Hotel...

    Re-creating the Boiler Room, which was briefly featured in THE SHINING, was a monumental task in counter-intuition. There were so many elements that were dictated by the original...elements from which, of my own volition, I might greatly deviate...but the task at hand was to do a faithful re-creation of someone else’s work.

    Photo courtesy GS.


  • set decorator
    Gene Serdena SDSA

    production designer
    Maher Ahmad

    Warner Bros.



    Overlook Hotel...

    Boiler Room detail...

    Photo courtesy GS.


  • set decorator
    Gene Serdena SDSA

    production designer
    Maher Ahmad

    Warner Bros.



    Doctor’s office, with a twist...

    We created a simple set for the Doctor’s Office in DOCTOR SLEEP, but then the director threw a twist at us.
    He wanted the set to be a copy of the Office set where Jack Nicholson interviews for the role of caretaker of the Overlook in THE SHINING.

    Photo courtesy GS.


  • set decorator
    Gene Serdena SDSA

    production designer
    Maher Ahmad

    Warner Bros.



    Doctor’s office, with a twist...

    We replaced all the elements of the original with pictures and furnishings that made sense in a doctor’s office, but we composed all the elements in a strict composition which mimicked the original Interview Office.
    The results, while utterly banal, were equally satisfying.

    Photo courtesy GS.


  • set decorator
    Gene Serdena SDSA

    production designer
    Maher Ahmad

    Warner Bros.



    Overlook Hotel...

    Dan walks the infamous (now derelict) halls of the domestic quarters of the Overlook.

    His psychic powers function as a battery that activates the lights and sounds of the old hotel as he passes from room to room.

    Ewan McGregor. Photo by Jessica Miglio ©2019 Warner Bros.



  • set decorator
    Gene Serdena SDSA

    production designer
    Maher Ahmad

    Warner Bros.



    Overlook Hotel, Lobby Mezzanine...

    You don’t mess with Abra and Dan.
    Facing their fears and the evil that’s out there...

    Kyliegh Curran, Ewan McGregor.
    Photo by Jessica Miglio ©2019 Warner Bros.



  • set decorator
    Gene Serdena SDSA

    production designer
    Maher Ahmad

    Warner Bros.



    Overlook Hotel, Lobby Great Room...

    Posed against the table Jack Nicholson used as a writing desk (we had to manufacture a copy), from Left to Right: Gang Boss Josh Moceri, Set Decorator Gene Serdena, Leadman Grant Samson and Set Dresser Joshua Shomo.

    The chandeliers were drawn from originals by Art Director Justin O’Neal Miller, and manufactured by Local 44 Propmaker Foreman extraordinaire, Jeff Ogg.

    Photo courtesy GS.


  • set decorator
    Gene Serdena SDSA

    production designer
    Maher Ahmad

    Warner Bros.



    Overlook Hotel, Lobby Great Room...

    It’s an interesting challenge to recreate a set that was made 40 years ago on another continent. I realized early on that we hadn’t the financial means to custom-make each piece of furniture, and, by necessity, we had to purchase most of the dressing for the Overlook (it was all to be aged heavily).

    Photo courtesy GS.



  • set decorator
    Gene Serdena SDSA

    production designer
    Maher Ahmad

    Warner Bros.



    Overlook Hotel...

    Set Dresser AJ Austin, Gang Boss Josh Moceri and Set Dresser Brad Terry position one of our custom-made chandeliers at the top of the grand staircase...
    This chandelier figures prominently in staircase shots that mimic a fight on the stairs in THE SHINING.

    Photo courtesy GS.



  • set decorator
    Gene Serdena SDSA

    production designer
    Maher Ahmad

    Warner Bros.



    Overlook Hotel, Upper Mezzanine...

    The layout of the halls and rooms were built so the geography matched that of THE SHINING. The Art Department researchers made a massive archive of digital stills from the original film, and each Set Dresser could be found glaring into their phones and tablets, as they dressed in the details of each room, trying to make everything match.

    Photo courtesy GS.


  • set decorator
    Gene Serdena SDSA

    production designer
    Maher Ahmad

    Warner Bros.



    Overlook Hotel...

    Buyer Katie Childs took on the task of finding current day analogs for the pieces most prominently featured in THE SHINING. She had massive wall charts and prints that looked like one of those conspiracy maps you might see on TV with bits of string and marker connecting everything together. Katie’s a bit of a mad scientist when tasked with such projects, and her passion to succeed is unparalleled. She’s a vital part of the team that I carry from project to project.

    Photo courtesy GS.


  • set decorator
    Gene Serdena SDSA

    production designer
    Maher Ahmad

    Warner Bros.



    Overlook Hotel Bar...

    A very fine crew I have the great honor to work with on repeated occasions.
    Front row, left to right: Joe Walsh, Jory Alvarado, AJ Austin, Ryan Anderson, Josh Shomo, Grant Samson (Leadman), Josh Moceri, Bam Hughes
    Back row left to right: Mark Kwiatkowski, Sam Carter, Blade Ladish, Brad Terry, John Day, Mike Hopkins, Patrick Johnson, Katie Childs, Molly Ebner, Danielle Couture, Kyle Bridwell

    Photo courtesy GS.


  • set decorator
    Gene Serdena SDSA

    production designer
    Maher Ahmad

    Warner Bros.



    Overlook Hotel Bar...

    Gang Boss John Day adds finishing touches to the cavernous and elegant Overlook Bar...

    Again, the task of matching one’s work to the specifications of the original, calls for a deliberateness of gesture, of taking unexpected turns and circuitous routes, all dictated by something built on a cinematic iconography, but, on closer inspection, grounded in a vintage reality that is mind-boggling. The elements of Op-Art carpet, mixed with Art Deco and 70s Disco flourishes, shouldn’t really come together...but, somehow, they do.

    Photo courtesy GS.


  • set decorator
    Gene Serdena SDSA

    production designer
    Maher Ahmad

    Warner Bros.



    Overlook Hotel Bar...

    There is another ghost element we felt in re-creating this bar from THE SHINING: We did another version, which was directly inspired by this, in a film we did several years back, PASSENGERS, which mimicked the layout of this bar. The layers of revisiting and reconstituting left many of us who worked on PASSENGERS with a palpable sense of déjà vu.

    [Editor’s note: You can find an article on PASSENGERS in list at the bottom of this page!
    Set Decorator Gene Serdena SDSA and Production Designer Guy Hendrix Dyas were nominated for an Academy Award for PASSENGERS, and Gene was, as always, generous in his praise and appreciation of his crew!
    ]

    Photo courtesy GS.


  • set decorator
    Gene Serdena SDSA

    production designer
    Maher Ahmad

    Warner Bros.



    Overlook Hotel Bar...

    Sam Carter tries to position the elements of the bar to match the austerity of the original.

    Photo courtesy GS.


  • set decorator
    Gene Serdena SDSA

    production designer
    Maher Ahmad

    Warner Bros.



    Overlook Hotel Bar...

    Set Dressers Cait Wilson and Molly Ebner work on the next layer of exact matching...

    Photo courtesy GS.



  • set decorator
    Gene Serdena SDSA

    production designer
    Maher Ahmad

    Warner Bros.



    Overlook Hotel, exterior...

    The facade of the Overlook is so iconic, I was concerned we might fall short due to budgetary constraints. The construction team really pulled it off...with some lighting touches and Special Effects snow drifts, we were able to deliver a proper view of the Overlook.

    Photo courtesy GS.


  • set decorator
    Gene Serdena SDSA

    production designer
    Maher Ahmad

    Warner Bros.



    Overlook Hotel, exterior...

    We have grown a fine working family, where each member plays a vital role, and is given tremendous responsibility. There’s a creative spark you try to foster, and hope it catches fire. When you get the right mix of craftspeople, and everyone hunkers down and gives it their all, you have a chance of making things ignite, and that is the beauty of making art.

    Photo courtesy GS.



Set Decorator Gene Serdena SDSA takes us into DOCTOR SLEEP and down its rabbit hole...
 
The storyline:
Ewan MacGregor plays Dan Torrance, the grown-up version of little Danny, who survived the horrific events of THE SHINING in 1980. DOCTOR SLEEP first picks up where THE SHINING left off...child Danny and his mother, Wendy, have flown the haunted Overlook Hotel in Colorado, and relocated to Florida. Danny’s psychic abilities make him a conduit to the ghost world, and he spirals into addiction to escape his demons.
 
DOCTOR SLEEP traces Dan’s journey from childhood to current day, where he finds himself clean and sober and living in a rented room in New Hampshire. His sobriety brings about a clarity of mind that allows his psychic powers to re-emerge.
He begins to receive messages from a stranger, Abra, a little girl in a neighboring city with similar talents. They communicate psychically, until Abra senses a horrific event that compels her to call out for help.
 
Dan and Abra join forces to battle the True Knot, a group of ancient beings who draw their strength and longevity by committing heinous and cruel acts against innocent victims.
 
The production...
When Dan first arrives in his attic apartment, the notion was to give the room the character of a furnished rental for a down-and-out person seeking shelter. There were a number of challenging factors: the set had to conform to certain architectural conventions to allow for shots that had been meticulously storyboarded...also, the character lives in this space over an eight year time span, so we had to develop the look of him gaining gradual ownership of his dwelling, but still allow for stunt and effects work.

It presents a daunting challenge to preserve the integrity of character in a set, when there are so many competing agendas aligning to sacrifice the character to the technical demands of the film. 
 
The huge challenge was re-creating several key sets and set elements of the Overlook Hotel from the 1980 film THE SHINING, including the Lobby Great Room & Mezzanine, the Guest Quarters, the Boiler Room and the cavernous and elegant bar, the Gold Room. 
 


Most distinctive was probably David Hicks’s infamous hexagonal carpet design. DOCTOR SLEEP's Production Designer, Maher Ahmad, and Supervising Art Director Austin Gorg, spent long hours analyzing the long tracking shots of Stanley Kubrick’s film to try to get all the details right. They had the added benefit of gaining access to some of the original blueprints, but closer inspection of the film revealed, as is often the case, that there were unexpected deviations from the original plans. Local 44 Buyer Katie Childs is a pro at sourcing vendors who can re-create miles of carpeting...and, after myriad color samples sent back and forth, manages to get it just right. Graphic Designer, John Pundt, did a brilliant job of analyzing all the carpets and area rugs in the original Overlook Hotel, rendering graphic files from them, and then helping us get the colors to match. 
 
Set Dressing Paint Foreman Danielle Couture had to find just the right age level to suggest the long state of dereliction of the hotel, but still allow the environment to be recognizable.

Room 237 is the infamous room in THE SHINING with the dead, decomposing woman in the bathtub who is prone to making unexpected appearances. We got to re-create the insanity of that room: peacock Art Deco carpets, 70s chevron bedspread with matching curtains, and raspberry velour seating area.
 
When you’re trying to faithfully re-create something, the challenge to achieve historical authenticity necessitates that one subjugate one's natural expressions of taste and design in the service of making a facsimile of someone else’s tastes and aesthetic criteria.The pleasure is derived from feeling like you’ve done a successful job.
 
The layout of the halls and rooms were built so the geography matched that of THE SHINING. The Art Department researchers made a massive archive of digital stills from the original film, and each Set Dresser could be found glaring into their phones and tablets, as they dressed in the details of each room, trying to make everything match.
 
Again, the task of matching one's work to the specifications of the original, calls for a deliberateness of gesture, of taking unexpected turns and circuitous routes, all dictated by something built on a cinematic iconography, but, on closer inspection, grounded in a vintage reality that is mind-boggling. The elements of Op-Art carpet, mixed with Art Deco and 70s Disco flourishes, shouldn’t really come together...but, somehow, they do.
 
DOCTOR SLEEP was a massive undertaking, fraught with a lot of political in-fighting that is sadly endemic of much of our culture. Through it all, my team held their heads high, showed up each day, delivered fine work and kept their morale up. We have grown a fine working family, where each member plays a vital role, and is given tremendous responsibility. There’s a creative spark you try to foster, and hope it catches fire. When you get the right mix of craftspeople, and everyone hunkers down and gives it their all, you have a chance of making things ignite, and that is the beauty of making art.
 






 
 



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