The reverse shot reveals a section of one of the chandeliers and gives a perspective of size next to the golden people of Sovereign, as Gamora [Zoe Zaldana] and Peter Quill a.k.a. Star-Lord [Chris Pratt] receive payment...
“Parts of the lower deck came from the first film and we supplemented more into it for the sequel,” says Set Decorator Jay Hart SDSA “We also redesigned the lighting and added a lot of LED sources...\"
In escaping the Sovereign armada, the Milano crashes into the forest planet Berhart... While the others work on repairs, Gamora [Zoe Zaldana], Quill [Chris Pratt] and Drax [Dave Bautista] prepare for an expedition to & with the planet Ego...
Hart reveals, “We dubbed this ‘the Sputnik shoot out’, as they were shooting 360 degrees. This was a complicated set. Getting the 58 screens made and hung on articulating arms was a task. The first batch of 58 plexi screens arrived scratched and had to be returned and remade...”
Fresh from their success at saving the planet Xandar, Peter Quill and his fellow Guardians are hired by a powerful alien race, the Sovereign, to protect their precious batteries from invaders. When it is discovered that Rocket has stolen the items they were sent to guard, the Sovereign dispatch their armada to search for vengeance. As the Guardians try to escape, the mystery of Peter's parentage is revealed. –Marvel Studios
Writer/Director James Gunn says, “I really wanted to push some of the elements from the first film. I wanted to create a brightly colorful film that was even brighter than the first movie...I wanted to create some visual effects that have never been seen before...and I wanted to create something stunning that had the feeling of that old pulp art that I love from the ‘50s. ‘60s and ‘70s, and just bring that to the screen in a real way...”
So he called on creative veterans of space fantasy and adventure movies whose resumes also include several glamorous feature films, Production Designer Scott Chambliss and Set Decorator Jay Hart SDSA, who brought their teams in to work with Costume Designer Judianna Makovsky, DP Henry Braham and a slew of visual effects people!
Gunn was committed to having as much practical sets as possible, to then allow the VE teams to stretch even further while giving the actors a more experiential understanding of the story and place...including the essential element of fun, set to another amazing soundtrack!
SET DECOR checked in with Hart, who shares notes on some of the sets that appear in this comic book adventure come to life!
Set Decorator Jay Hart SDSA...
The film opens on the planet Sovereign, populated by a superior genetically engineered golden race, ruled by the High Priestess Ayesha. Her throne was a highlight. We did small-scale mock-ups based on a concept drawing given to us by Scott. We then had the sculptors create it full-sized, and we were up there every day making tweaks and small changes.
The entire thing is covered in gold leaf. The fabric is from a small mill in India that applies metal to fabrics by hand. It only comes in small pieces, approximately 27" wide by 42". We had to seam together many of these to get the fullness and quantity we needed for the skirt on the chair. Fitting the headpiece required 2 fittings with the actress, Elizabeth Debicki. I thought it looked beautiful in the film.
The really large chandeliers that are featured prominently in this set were made up of 20 chandeliers from Restoration Hardware. We built our own frame in the Set Dec. Metal shop and refitted all of the prisms, and then had the frame gold leafed."
For the film’s opening scene on the planet portal deck, we built the battery tower, but most of that scene is effects, It was great team work all around...
Since Rocket steals the very thing they were protecting, the Guardians escape in Quill’s ship the Milano, which we upgraded a bit from the original.
For instance for the lower deck, parts of it came from the first film and we supplemented more into it for the sequel. We redesigned the lighting and added a lot of LED sources."
And then it crashes into the forest planet Berhart and we present the aftermath...
re: The world of Ego...
Fractal design was a huge part of the overall design and décor in Ego’s world. You can see it in the photos of the Palace bedroom, with repeating patterns in the wall textures and the fabrics. We keyed off of this for the design of the furniture.
We had the sculpture department start by doing mock-ups in foam of repeatable patterns that we thought could be molded easily. After we selected the one we liked best, we had the Set Dec. Set Designers do [Mac] Rhino drawings of the various furniture pieces we needed. We then sent them to 3D Solutions in Atlanta to be grown in their 3D printers. After they came back to us, it required two weeks in the paint shop to get the finish we wanted.
The fabric was a much more complicated endeavor than I anticipated...getting the pattern right was difficult. We worked closely with Aaron’s team of designers at Astek Wallcovering, who are always great. After several tries. we just weren’t getting it, so I went there and spent the afternoon with them hammering out the design. [Editor’s note: The set was in Atlanta, Astek is in Los Angeles, Hart lives in Palm Springs – triangulation!]
We then did test printings to get the color right, but although the pattern was right, it just didn’t gel. I don’t remember how many strike-offs we ended up doing—it was a tedious process worked on by a lot of dedicated people. And the smell of the dye when the shipment of 300 yards of fabric was opened in Atlanta required the evacuation of the Set Dec Dept! We had to set up fans to air out the entire department. Our Graphic Designer Susan Burig brilliantly came through and worked with Astek to get the color we ended up using, and everything finally came together beautifully.
The organic light fixtures were made by Arteriors. [See photo above.] Each coral-like stem screws into a ball in the center. We, of course, did not like any of the standard colors, so our painters painted each coral stem silver prior to the fixture being assembled.
This Palace set was by far the biggest challenge of the show—the attention to detail here by Scott Chambliss, our PD, was exceptional. In the end, we felt like we had done something that had not been seen before. Hats off to Scott.
[Editor’ note: The photos only show a glimpse of a tiny corner of the set. The film is worth seeing for these sets alone!]
re: Contraxia... Contraxia is a pleasure planet frequented by the Ravagers and other galactic denizens. Set Dec created all of the furniture from scratch. We used old iron landmines to create the bed and chairs. The hanging oval vessels were reproduction mid-century fireplaces that we made into bars and drink receptacles.
re: Yondu’s ship, the Eclector...
The Ravagers, an interstellar collective of thieves, smugglers and pirates, have no home world. They live and survive on their spaceships, which are HUGE...miles-wide and tall. Yondu’s ship, the Eclector, was designed to have two quadrants. The second quadrant of the ship, which they flee to when the first part of the ship is damaged, disengages from the larger overall ship and becomes an independent craft.
My task was to telegraph to the audience these two quadrants and the various personalities of the Ravagers for different parts of the ship, as well as the Drill Ship that ends the film.
As the Ravagers are thieves, their ships are cobbled together from parts and pieces of detritus they have stolen throughout the Galaxy. We spent 7 months shopping for unique industrial items. We tapped into Phil Edgerly and his contacts in the rust belt of Western Pennsylvania, while Kevin Kropp, one of my buyers, scoured Georgia, North and South Carolina and Kansas for industrial salvage. Our salvage ranged from airplanes to septic systems, we even made a toilet from an iron lung...We filled a warehouse that we then used to draw down from to create the various parts of the Eclector.
Captain’s Quarters – Specific set dressing for the Captain’s Quarters included Yondu’s portrait. We did a photo shoot with Michael Rooker, the actor who plays Yondu, and then Graphic Designer Susan Burig manipulated the image to fit the antique frame. Dangling Carrot did the print work.
The sofa and chairs were part of a collection put out by Restoration Hardware a few years ago. I loved the furry, textural quality of it and the faint nod to ‘70s kitsch. In the first film, there was an insert of Yondu’s control console and the small toys displayed on top of it. We designed display cabinets to accommodate these, plus more for his quarters. We used nautical ship's doors and installed lights and glass shelves. I had one crewmember doing nothing but creating toys for two months, and these were proudly displayed in the cabinets. My favorite elements were the beautifully sculptural “Tree Lights’ that Dan Engle, one of our Gang Bosses, created. They were truly pieces of art. We built Yondu’s desk from scratch using an airplane wing. It, too, displayed some of the unique toys. In the script when Taserface and the mutineers invade the Captain’s Quarters, they have a huge party, so we then had to trash everything.
Main hallway – For this long bridge way, we built suspended lights in our shop and Fixture Foreman Phil Abeyta used flexible LED hose to do the sources. We molded and made large electrical insulators – the vacuform pieces are parts for septic systems. We used these a lot as a thematic element in the whole ship.
Airlock – This spaceship airlock is used mainly as a garbage disposal chute. In our story, this is the scene where the mutineer Ravagers eject crew members out into Space. Again, the set was designed by Scott and we followed his illustrations as a direction. This is a good representation of our process for the entire ship. We tried to embrace the broad strokes conceived by Scott and to realize it practically using the industrial items we pulled together. We tried to make all of it as detailed as possible...especially here, as the camera was going to be very up close. We also spent a lot of time conceiving of the lighting as most of it was imbedded into the sets. This was my third film with Phil Abeyta, the practical lighting Guru. He was a great helpmate in making practical our concepts. I would discuss what we wanted and he always ran with it. There were literally miles of LED tape in this Ravager spaceship.
Flight deck – We designed and built from scratch all of the chairs, consoles and screens for the large flight deck. It took 10 people 6 weeks to build, and that is prior to paint and electric. The light fixtures were purchased from Arteriors – we redesigned the stems and changed the source to LED. This set is a great example of the Ravager design language that we tried hard to create. The console shells were built in the Set Dec Carpentry shop. They worked hand-in-glove with the Set Dressers to layout and incorporate the found objects into the overall design. We had full-sized drawings which we referenced when pulling things off shelves to for exact fit, plus we had to make sure we had multiples on everything.
This was one of my favorite sets—again the detail was amazing.
SDSA Business Members whom Hart worked with extensively for this space fantasy were:
Astek Wallcovering – custom fabric design and fabrication
ISS – custom fabrication
Artemide – custom lighting