Enjoy the Inside the Set conversation about the making of this mega box office hit with Set Decorator Jan Pascale SDSA & Production Designer Jeremy Hinkle hosted by David Smith SDSA, who was Jan’s Assistant Set Decorator for this film -- triple Insider info from Inside the Set!
Set Decorator Jan Pascale SDSA and Production Designer Jeremy Hindle literally immersed themselves into the making of TOP GUN: MAVERICK, the sequel to the beloved 1980s hit TOP GUN.
Welcomed by the Navy, instead of the expected quick, surface-level base visit, they were brought into situation rooms, ready rooms, mission control, the Admiral’s and other officers’ offices, and their homes, several key naval stations and their wateringholes, particularly the inspirational “I Bar at North Island Naval Base” on Coronado Island and the “O Bars” at 2 other Naval stations. Since the Top Gun program was moved to the Naval Air Station at Fallon, Nevada, they had an in-depth visit there as well and were allowed into several restricted areas, in order to ensure accuracy.
There was obviously mutual respect – even more “mutual” when the Navy saw the accuracy of detail portrayed, the respect paid to not only authenticity but also the sincere wish to give depth to the representation of the characters & personnel, and of the Navy’s approach, methods, traditions and reasons behind some of the traditions.
Squadron ready room: Jan got the Navy's permission to have each of the Top Gun class photos copied, which she then had framed and hung in consecutive order in the new squadron’s ready room. Note the squadron mugs hanging above the ready room bar. Photo courtesy Paramount Pictures. See the video above for intriguing information about this!
Center to the manifestation of many traditions is the I Bar or O Bar, filled with memorabilia and memories. For TOP GUN: MAVERICK, it was the Hard Deck. Jeremy was adamant that it must be built on the beach. Thankfully, the Navy had a beach where he & Jan could create magic, and they did! Collaborating with a multitude of teams...
The Hard Deck bar...The beginning! Jeremy wanted to set it in a beach location. “It had to feel like old school, like why we're in love with California. It's about the Navy in California, and Tom/Maverick being able to ride up to the door and walk in...it has to feel so amazingly romantic and beautiful that it had to be on the beach, not a set somewhere else.” Photo courtesy Paramount Pictures.
The Hard Deck bar...Note the helmets lining the deck...Jan emphasizes, “The magic of the Hard Deck set was engineered by Anthony Syracuse and his Construction team who built the working bar on the sand at North Island.” Photo courtesy Paramount Pictures.
Jeremy recalls, “We went to the most famous, the I Bar at North Island, which is the tiniest version of our bar—it's literally, maybe 15 by 15 feet wide, yet it's what inspired our huge bar. We would go with the Admiral, the Air Boss...and play games with these people and drink with them and talk, and I think it was really just spending all the time with them is how we fell in love with the Navy family.”
The Hard Deck...That’s a real beach and sea outside the windows.! Patches are significant in the Navy, every single one has meaning. Click on the video for deep details! Re: the planes hanging over center bar, Jan says, “We lost count at 900...” See the video for fun stories behind these! Photo courtesy Paramount Pictures.
He continues, “...Once we met these people, we knew that if we didn't tell the story perfectly for them visually, it would be so sad if we didn't put all their history and what they care about...the history of who they are, how they talk, what they were like, this is so important to them. It made us all feel that we had to honor their experience. And that became our experience. And, when they all saw the bar on the beach, they were amazed, it meant so much to them.”
[Watch the video for even more!]
The Hard Deck...169 dozen mugs [over 2000]! Jan smiles, “They all had to relate to the squadrons and have different call signs. So, I had a huge spreadsheet for this.” Which came in handy when they had to re-create it! Click on the video for so much more to this fascinating BTS puzzle! Photo courtesy Paramount Pictures.
The Hard Deck...There is a huge significance to the two helmets on the bar, which are real –- very much an honor for them to be sitting there. See the video for the very cool story behind this. Photo courtesy Paramount Pictures.
Jan kindly remembers, “There were a couple of wives whose husbands had died in action. They brought us their husbands’ patches, and said, ‘Please get these into the bar.’ So I was trying to figure out where Tom was going to sit, because I knew that’s where the patches would be in camera, and it was the most moving thing, you know.”
“And we met a Medal of Honor recipient. He was shot down three times in Vietnam and had received three Navy medals. When we met him, I said, ‘Text me a photo.’ So, we put his photograph in the front of the bar, and he walked in and burst into tears.”
“It was, as Jeremy said, just honoring, and getting the right flavor. To really show respect to everybody that we met. And to thank the Navy, for what they do.”
Equal dedication and commitment to authenticity was given to every set, depicting the wide-ranging aspects of Naval Air Stations, fighter pilot training and the lives of those entwined.
This is just one set. Please do see the video for vastly more...each one with fascinating and fun backstories!
Set Decorator Jan Pascale SDSA would like to acknowledge the SDSA Business members who aided in the set decoration of TOPGUN: MAVERICK...
Advanced Liquidators Office Furniture | Alley Cats | Alpha Companies Motion Picture Rentals | Astek Wallcovering | The Designer Fabric Studio | EC Prop Rentals | Faux Library Studio Props | Gold Room Props | Green Set | History For Hire | Hollywood Piano Company | Hollywood Studio Gallery | Independent Studio Services | LCW Props | Lawrence of LaBrea | Lennie Marvin’s Propheaven | Linoleum City | MidCentury LA| Omega Cinema Props | Playback Technologies | Practical Props | Premiere Props | RC Vintage | Sandy Rose Foral |U-Frame-It | Universal Studios Property | Warner Bros Property & Warner Bros Drapery
She would also like to give special recognition to Key Assistant Joni Indursky and Assistant Set Decorator David Smith SDSA and to her talented and dedicated crew headed by Lead Brent Rice, also to Set Decoration Coordinator Canada Gordon and Buyer Eva Firshein, and five other talented Leadmen as Gangbosses: Dave Agajanian, Anthony Carlino, Joel Prihoda, Scott Richards and Tommy Somona.
Key players on her crew:
On Set Dresser: Chad Davis
Draper: Eduardo Arbaca
Set Dressers: Deborah Harman, Brant Boling, Paul Boucher, Mark Davidson, Reid Embry, Danny Florian, Robbie Ford - Additional On Set, Keith Giller, Corey Gomez, Steve Hull, Tyler Kettenburg, Dave Ladish, Scott Leslie, Darrin Littleford, David Mauch, Howard Miller, Paul Penley, Randy Severino, Rafael Somarriba, Randy Taylor, Darrell Vangilder, Dave Venezky, Chris Williamson
Set Dec PAs: Cheyanne Lee, Joy Sanwo
Drivers: John Agnew, Bjorn Baldvinsson, Federico Gonzalez, Nikk McCoy, Brendan Perry, Saul Ramirez