WIDOWS

  • set decorator
    Elizabeth Keenan SDSA International

    production designer
    Adam Stockhausen

    Twentieth Century Fox


    Rawlings apartment,
    Lake Michigan shorefront, Chicago…


    Director Steve McQueen discusses a crucial scene with actors Viola Davis and Liam Neesom, who play Veronica and Harry Rawlings...


    Photo by Merrick Morton ©2018 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved.


  • set decorator
    Elizabeth Keenan SDSA International

    production designer
    Adam Stockhausen

    Twentieth Century Fox


    Rawlings bedroom…
    Set Decorator Elizabeth Keenan SDSA International gives us behind the scenes notes...

    “Sean Bobbitt, our incredible Director of Photography, bathed that bedroom in ethereal Lake Michigan light.
    Simple, restrained dressing seemed the only way to accompany a Mies van der Rohe designed apartment building.”



    Photo ©2018 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved.


  • set decorator
    Elizabeth Keenan SDSA International

    production designer
    Adam Stockhausen

    Twentieth Century Fox


    Rawlings apartment…

    “The real hero of this set is the penthouse view of Lake Michigan. Veronica and Harry's apartment is a haven from the harsh realities of Chicago.”


    Photo ©2018 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved.


  • set decorator
    Elizabeth Keenan SDSA International

    production designer
    Adam Stockhausen

    Twentieth Century Fox


    Rawlings apartment…

    “Pulling color through a set helps create cohesion, but that lake view is everything.
    The Milo Baum armchair was a cozy counterpoint to the modern interior and a more recent purchase amongst all of the classic modern furniture and the arms are enveloping.
    The metaphorical painting is from Martha Mae in Andersonville...salt and ink on birch ply.
    Pillow and throw from Omega|Cinema Props (Thank you Allan and Santiago).
    Dog bed from UK.”



    Photo ©2018 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved.


  • set decorator
    Elizabeth Keenan SDSA International

    production designer
    Adam Stockhausen

    Twentieth Century Fox


    Rawlings apartment…

    “This apartment seems to float in the sky...
    Again, trying not to compete with the view or interrupt the sightline. Low profile Kartell saucer, vintage Italian floor lamp, artwork from ArtPic. Mies van der Rohe dining table and chairs.”



    Photo ©2018 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved.


  • set decorator
    Elizabeth Keenan SDSA International

    production designer
    Adam Stockhausen

    Twentieth Century Fox


    Rawlings apartment…

    “The desk in the background is Veronicas...had to shave off a quarter of an inch from the right side to make it fit. She had been a teacher and the details play to that. This is very much her home.
    The bookshelves are actually a plug for another room.”



    Photo ©2018 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved.


  • set decorator
    Elizabeth Keenan SDSA International

    production designer
    Adam Stockhausen

    Twentieth Century Fox


    Rawlings apartment…

    “This was Veronica's haven. There are touches of Harry...the black leather couch, bar, over-sized bolsters, rosewood stereo cabinet and Eames chair in the other room, but this is her domain. The chairs were such a find in that blush leather.”


    Photo by Merrick Morton ©2018 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved.


  • set decorator
    Elizabeth Keenan SDSA International

    production designer
    Adam Stockhausen

    Twentieth Century Fox


    Rawlings apartment,
    Lake Michigan shorefront, Chicago…


    Veronica [Viola Davis] is threatened by local thug Jamal Manning [Brian Tyree Henry], who demands she pay back the $2 million her husband stole before he died in a robbery gone bad...


    Photo by Merrick Morton ©2018 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved.


  • set decorator
    Elizabeth Keenan SDSA International

    production designer
    Adam Stockhausen

    Twentieth Century Fox


    City services warehouse,
    robbery rendezvous point…


    Keenan recalls,
    “The warehouse was almost completely empty...
    Note the 4 tons of salt that helped sell this place as some sort of municipal storage spot.”



    Liam Neesom. Photo by Merrick Morton ©2018 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved.


  • set decorator
    Elizabeth Keenan SDSA International

    production designer
    Adam Stockhausen

    Twentieth Century Fox


    Robbery rendezvous point,
    explosion aftermath…


    “This was all my leadman Tony Barracca, who had worked on CHICAGO FIRE for ages and handled all the post-burn detritus. This show was about 70 sets in 53 days, and I needed him to gaff this scene while I dressed other sets.”


    Photo by Merrick Morton ©2018 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved.


  • set decorator
    Elizabeth Keenan SDSA International

    production designer
    Adam Stockhausen

    Twentieth Century Fox


    Cemetery…

    “As the title suggests, there will be a funeral or two. Each one needed to be unique and reflect a specific character. We designed some great sprays representing the local Teamsters Union, and I wish you could see those vs the pompoms here.
    We fabricated the semi-translucent tent for DP Sean Bobbitt to act as a glowing soft box.”



    Photo ©2018 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved.


  • set decorator
    Elizabeth Keenan SDSA International

    production designer
    Adam Stockhausen

    Twentieth Century Fox


    Cemetery…

    Politician Jack Mulligan [Colin Farrell] gives Veronica [Viola Davis] his condolences, while family driver Bash O'Reilly [Garret Dillahunt] protectively looks on...rightly so!

    That soft box of a tent definitely helped illuminate all the dark tones in this shot.

    Photo by Merrick Morton ©2018 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved.


  • set decorator
    Elizabeth Keenan SDSA International

    production designer
    Adam Stockhausen

    Twentieth Century Fox


    Cemetery…

    Jamal Manning [Brian Tyree Henry], who is running for City Alderman against Jack Mulligan, and his enforcer brother Jatemme [Daniel Kaluuya] menacingly watch the funeral proceedings...

    The art department created the memorial statue that the brothers are purposely disrespecting...

    Photo by Merrick Morton ©2018 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved.


  • set decorator
    Elizabeth Keenan SDSA International

    production designer
    Adam Stockhausen

    Twentieth Century Fox


    Rawlings apartment lobby,
    Lake Michigan shorefront, Chicago…


    Note how this simple set decorating with Lake Michigan in the background defines the place and social level for us.

    Keenan points out,
    “This is one of two apartment buildings designed by Mies van der Rohe, so this treatment seemed the obvious choice.”


    Viola Davis. Photo by Merrick Morton ©2018 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved.


  • set decorator
    Elizabeth Keenan SDSA International

    production designer
    Adam Stockhausen

    Twentieth Century Fox


    Four star spa…

    Veronica [Viola Davis] meets the widows of two of the men in her husband’s gang...

    “Shot at the Four Seasons Chicago...
    We brought in the matching womb chairs from the architecture firm/location used for a later scene and added product for an injection of color.
    Only the sauna scene was built and shot onstage.”


    Elizabeth Debicki, Michelle Rodriquez. Photo by Merrick Morton ©2018 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved.



  • set decorator
    Elizabeth Keenan SDSA International

    production designer
    Adam Stockhausen

    Twentieth Century Fox


    Alice & Florek Gunner studio apartment…

    Alice winces as her husband touches a bruise he created.

    Keenan notes,
    “...the Ducati in the living room amongst all his toys, including her...”

    Elizabeth Debicki, Jon Bernthal. Photo by Merrick Morton ©2018 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved.



  • set decorator
    Elizabeth Keenan SDSA International

    production designer
    Adam Stockhausen

    Twentieth Century Fox


    Gunner apartment…

    “Florek Gunner had never had any money, and once he started making it, he bought himself a lifestyle. He spent every cent on toys and his idea of living large...all jammed into a studio apartment...

    The mirror was custom fabricated by a local framer and most of the furniture came from a dealer named Rossi.”


    Photo ©2018 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved.


  • set decorator
    Elizabeth Keenan SDSA International

    production designer
    Adam Stockhausen

    Twentieth Century Fox


    Gunner apartment…

    “...Alice had to sell everything when Florek was killed but she kept those expensive sheets. Her mom, Agnieska, brought her the afghan and tried to help her get on her feet, in her own special way. Great Australian actress Jacki Weaver.”


    Photo by Merrick Morton ©2018 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved.




  • set decorator
    Elizabeth Keenan SDSA International

    production designer
    Adam Stockhausen

    Twentieth Century Fox


    Chic bar…

    Her mother pushes the now destitute young widow into the escort business...

    Keenan notes,
    “This was a good location in that we didn't have to do much except provide a bounce solution for Sean on the bar. We created small panels of bronzed laminate.”


    Lukas Haas, Elizabeth Debicki. Photo by Merrick Morton ©2018 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved.


  • set decorator
    Elizabeth Keenan SDSA International

    production designer
    Adam Stockhausen

    Twentieth Century Fox


    Gun show…

    Alice adapts.
    She’s sent on a mission to purchase guns, something she knows nothing of, but learns quickly...


    Elizabeth Debicki. Photo by Merrick Morton ©2018 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved.


  • set decorator
    Elizabeth Keenan SDSA International

    production designer
    Adam Stockhausen

    Twentieth Century Fox


    Gun show…

    “We started with an empty room and just kept adding layers. Thanks to ISS for all the firearms. Prop Master Phil Schneider and I ordered the guns and our wonderful graphic designer Davis Soukup made all the graphics. We had lots of taxidermy too...Bears greeting one upon entry...”


    Photo ©2018 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved.


  • set decorator
    Elizabeth Keenan SDSA International

    production designer
    Adam Stockhausen

    Twentieth Century Fox


    Chapel…

    “Shot in a Catholic Church amongst the existing background chapel. While on a location scout, Steve had seen a huge suffering Jesus and wanted it replicated. We found a fabricator on Etsy, and then set the finished piece amongst offerings on a tiered table fabricated by construction.”


    Photo ©2018 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved.


  • set decorator
    Elizabeth Keenan SDSA International

    production designer
    Adam Stockhausen

    Twentieth Century Fox


    Linda Perelli’s shop…

    Yet again, Linda has to cover her husband’s gambling losses, until his next “gig” with Harry...


    Michelle Rodriquez, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo. Photo by Suzanne Tenner ©2018 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved.



  • set decorator
    Elizabeth Keenan SDSA International

    production designer
    Adam Stockhausen

    Twentieth Century Fox


    Linda Perelli’s shop…

    Keenan smiles,
    “We actually found a Quinceañera shop, changed a few things around and had great fun with it...”

    Photo ©2018 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved.



  • set decorator
    Elizabeth Keenan SDSA International

    production designer
    Adam Stockhausen

    Twentieth Century Fox


    Perelli home…

    “I really tried not to caricaturize Linda after the audience sees all of those dresses. She was very ambitious and aspirational and wanted a better life for herself with the kids. Elements of Hispanic culture blended with traditional furnishings and an emphasis on family...”

    Photo ©2018 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved.


  • set decorator
    Elizabeth Keenan SDSA International

    production designer
    Adam Stockhausen

    Twentieth Century Fox


    Perelli home…

    Note the sewing room tie-in with the family business...
    And similar palettes, but subtle in the home...

    Photo ©2018 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved.


  • set decorator
    Elizabeth Keenan SDSA International

    production designer
    Adam Stockhausen

    Twentieth Century Fox


    Perelli home…

    “Our feeling here was that the children would have created a memorial to their father, the upstairs neighbor's kids made the cards...”

    Photo ©2018 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved.


  • set decorator
    Elizabeth Keenan SDSA International

    production designer
    Adam Stockhausen

    Twentieth Century Fox


    Salon…

    Belle [Cynthia Erivo], who works several jobs, including as beautician and the babysitter who looks after Linda's children, is concerned that her friend, salon owner Breechelle, is being extorted for protection money by the very people running for office.

    Adepero Oduye. Photo by Suzanne Tenner ©2018 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved.


  • set decorator
    Elizabeth Keenan SDSA International

    production designer
    Adam Stockhausen

    Twentieth Century Fox


    Amanda & Jimmy Nunn apartment…

    “This location was tricky architecturally with a stairwell interrupting one side of the room. Adam Stockhausen, production designer, conceived of this glass brick plug wall to create a new front door (to an upstairs apartment). Amanda's apartment is eclectic with the addition of a new baby...”

    Photo ©2018 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved.


  • set decorator
    Elizabeth Keenan SDSA International

    production designer
    Adam Stockhausen

    Twentieth Century Fox


    Amanda & Jimmy Nunn apartment…

    “Contemporary, young urban, Chicago shotgun flat.
    Although Amanda was also widowed by the explosion, because of her infant, and for other reasons, Viola did not include her in the heist scheme...”


    Photo ©2018 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved.



  • set decorator
    Elizabeth Keenan SDSA International

    production designer
    Adam Stockhausen

    Twentieth Century Fox


    Heist headquarters…

    “We needed to feel the presence of Harry and crew upon first viewing this scene...the leather jacket and personal effects of the husbands.
    This garage was loaded with age and perfectly grimy.
    We created a 'club house' in the center of the garage that needed to look as if the guys had just walked out of the room....”


    Photo ©2018 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved.


  • set decorator
    Elizabeth Keenan SDSA International

    production designer
    Adam Stockhausen

    Twentieth Century Fox


    Heist headquarters…

    Planning has begun in earnest for the widows to take up their husband’s planned heist...
    Linda has recruited Belle in place of Amanda...


    Viola Davis, Cynthia Erivo, Michelle Rodriquez, Elizabeth Debicki.
    Photo by Merrick Morton ©2018 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved.




  • set decorator
    Elizabeth Keenan SDSA International

    production designer
    Adam Stockhausen

    Twentieth Century Fox


    Heist headquarters…

    “We found a set of those chairs, and Joanna Iwanicka, one of our head scenics, went to town on them. The oddball mixture of cast-off furnishings helped carve out a club-house feel amongst the grime...”


    Michelle Rodriquez, Elizabeth Debicki, Viola Davis.
    Photo by Merrick Morton ©2018 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved.




  • set decorator
    Elizabeth Keenan SDSA International

    production designer
    Adam Stockhausen

    Twentieth Century Fox


    Heist headquarters…

    “Another interesting choice by the great Sean Bobbitt and still photographer Merrick Morton...”


    Elizabeth Debicki. Photo by Merrick Morton ©2018 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved.



  • set decorator
    Elizabeth Keenan SDSA International

    production designer
    Adam Stockhausen

    Twentieth Century Fox


    Classic map of Chicago precincts,
    Mulligan house, office & campaign headquarters…


    “Graphic Designer David Soukup worked with another incredibly talented scenic, Vivienne, to create a super realistic map. I framed it and made it into a door leading to the safe room...”


    Viola Davis. Photo by Merrick Morton ©2018 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved.


  • set decorator
    Elizabeth Keenan SDSA International

    production designer
    Adam Stockhausen

    Twentieth Century Fox


    Mulligan house, office & campaign headquarters…

    Jack Mulligan [Colin Farrell] is meant to follow in his father’s footsteps by becoming the next alderman for the 18th Ward of Chicago...


    Photo by Merrick Morton ©2018 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation.
    All rights reserved.




  • set decorator
    Elizabeth Keenan SDSA International

    production designer
    Adam Stockhausen

    Twentieth Century Fox


    Mulligan house,
    the Alderman’s office & campaign headquarters…


    Power broker Tom Mulligan [Robert Duvall] has held the post for decades and demands his son’s adherence to the political machine he has in place...

    Photo by Merrick Morton ©2018 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation.
    All rights reserved.



  • set decorator
    Elizabeth Keenan SDSA International

    production designer
    Adam Stockhausen

    Twentieth Century Fox


    Mulligan house, campaign headquarters…

    A section of the campaign headquarters situated at the top floor of the house...

    Photo ©2018 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation.


  • set decorator
    Elizabeth Keenan SDSA International

    production designer
    Adam Stockhausen

    Twentieth Century Fox


    Manning campaign headquarters…

    The political rival’s headquarters are in a church basement, which is as close as he gets to religion...

    Photo by Merrick Morton ©2018 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation.
    All rights reserved.



In contemporary Chicago, amidst a time of political and societal turmoil, when four armed robbers are killed in an explosive heist attempt, their widows...with nothing in common except a debt left behind by their dead husbands' criminal activities...take fate into their own hands to forge a future on their own terms. 
                                                                        --Twentieth Century Fox
 
 
The film WIDOWS is based on the 1980s British television series, which impressed the then thirteen-year-old director-to-be, Steve McQueen...
 
The show immediately transported me into a criminal world where the most vulnerable and overlooked people were women. These women were deemed incapable of anything other than being judged by their appearances, yet they took on challenges against their stereotype and transformed themselves into more than capable forces, determined to take their destinies into their own hands.
 
At that stage in my life, I felt a strong parallel to these women as I, too, experienced being looked at under a similar gaze. Their adversaries considered the widows as people who couldn’t achieve anything, and they did. It had a profound effect on me.
 
To bring the story into the now, I changed the location of WIDOWS from London in the early eighties to Chicago of the present. This was vital for me in order to also tackle politics, religion, class, race, criminality and mourning, and to look at the locale (Chicago) and revert it like a telescope into the global. 
 
What’s so powerful for me about this story is that these four women from different racial, social and financial backgrounds came together to achieve their common goal. They understood that by working together they were capable of anything.”   —Director Steve McQueen
 
 
Known for his collaborative spirit, the director reached out to his production designer of 12 YEARS A SLAVE, Adam Stockhausen, who in turn reached out to Set Decorator Elizabeth Keenan SDSA International, of such diverse films as SELMA and A WRINKLE IN TIME, to accurately and stylistically create the many-faceted essence of Chicago...a microcosm through the lens.
McQueen says, “It was beautiful working with them. Elizabeth brought an amazing depth, she killed it, and of course, there is no way to describe Adam’s talent and eye and heart.”
 
Keenan graciously gives insider notes on the photo gallery above!

Objects



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