December 16th, 2021 by David Smith SDSA & Karen Burg, Editor

Main Photo
Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem as Lucille Ball and her husband Desi Arnaz, the power couple behind the beloved 1950s television sitcom I LOVE LUCY. Photo by Glen Wilson ©Amazon Content Services LLC

Set Decorator Ellen Brill SDSA

Production Designer Jon Hutman


During one production week of I LOVE LUCY...from Monday table read through Friday audience taping...Lucille Ball [Nicole Kidman] and Desi Arnaz [Javier Bardem] face a series of personal and professional crises that threaten their show, their careers and their marriage, in writer-director Aaron Sorkin’s behind-the-scenes drama. --Amazon  

Sorkin wisely asked award winning team Production Designer Jon Hutman and Set Decorator Ellen Brill SDSA to help visually establish the worlds this couple inhabited: the sets of their innovative 1950’s sitcom, with Desi Arnaz’s incorporation of a 3-camera shoot and the audience seated in a gallery above so they could see the set over the cameras, the writer’s room, wardrobe room, dressing rooms and the offices of the series, the commissary, conferences rooms and corporate offices of CBS and that of the reigning RKO kingdom chief, the stages where the couple first met, the famous nightclub where Desi Arnaz performed...and...the Arnaz’s homelife.

In our Inside the Set with SET DECOR video series, Jon and Ellen sat down with Set Decorator David Smith SDSA, friend and cohort, to talk about their process and give us behind-the-scenes insights and details. 
See video above!
And here are a few photos to give you a peek at what you’ll see them discuss!
Karen Burg, Editor

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Desi’s office. Set Decorator Ellen Brill SDSA reveals, “Production Designer Jon Hutman wanted Desi’s furniture to be a little bit more forward thinking, emphasizing that he was more of a modernist...” Filmed at the Ebell, watch the video for insider details about this set and more! Photo courtesy Amazon.

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RKO Executive Charles Koerner’s office. The epitome of power in the Art Décor style that spanned decades. Watch the video for fascinating stories about how they managed to create this set on the Queen Mary! Photo courtesy Amazon.

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Ciro’s nightclub. The elegant spot where Desi starred and developed his own following. Good for him, but not for their marriage. Ellen brought on a favorite draper, Ruben Abarca, to handle the significant and exquisite drapery. Another amazing set on the Queen Mary. Watch the video! Inset: Sketch art. Photo courtesy Amazon.

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Lucille’s dressing room. Nicole Kidman and the design/decor team established a definitive difference between the bright, elegant businesswoman and the character she created. This was Lucille’s space. Jon and Ellen purposely stuck to a muted palette for everything later in the Arnaz’s life, but this stepped away from the browns and taupes. The rug perfectly ties in the blues and pinks. Watch the video for more info! Photo courtesy Amazon.


A quick note from Ellen...
"Props to my extraordinary crew! Buyers Kathleen Rosen and Christine Staggs, Lead Rich Brunton, Gang Bosses David Venezky and Chris Kennedy, On-Set Dresser Merdyce McClaran and a fantastic bunch of set dressers. 
And a thank you, as always to our Business members, who take the extra step to help us create the dreams...and on time!"

Alpha Company Motion Picture Rentals/Spellman Desk*Advanced Liquidators Office Furniture* AMCO – American Screen & Window Coverings*Astek Wallcovering*Chris Art Source*Chairish.com*EC Prop Rentals*Fabricut/S. Harris*Faux Library Studio Props*Heaven or Las Vegas*Hand Prop Room*Hollywood Cinema Arts*Hollywood Studio Gallery*History for Hire*Kravet Inc NYC*Lawrence of La Brea*Lennie Marvin’s Propheaven*Linoleum City*Modernica Props*Omega Cinema Props*Practical Props*RC Vintage*Sandy Rose Floral Inc*U Frame It Gallery*Universal*Warner Bros. Studios*Universal Studios Property*Premiere Props*Sony Pictures Studios*Town & Country Event Rentals


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Lucille’s dressing room. A favorite set, and you can see why! Watch the videos for stories about it. BTW Lucille’s favorite flowers were lilacs. You don’t see them here, but they are often if not always on the I LOVE LUCY set. Photo courtesy Amazon.

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The now iconic I LOVE LUCY set. Jon & Ellen purposely did it in toned-down browns and beiges to give the impression of the black and white series. Photo courtesy Amazon.

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I LOVE LUCY set ready for read-through. Inset: Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem as the most famous couple in the world at that time, though unbeknownst to the public, heart-breaking. Watch the video and watch the film! Images courtesy of Amazon