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Lubbock, Texas, 1934... ”The outlaws made headlines. The lawmen made history. Two steely former Texas Rangers are tasked with tracking and bringing down notorious criminals Bonnie and Clyde in this crime drama based on real events.” –Netflix Set Decorator Susan Benjamin SDSA International shows us the intensity of doing the whole production on location. Actually that’s plural...many locations! Woody Harrelson as Maney Gault, Kevin Costner as Frank Hamer. Photo by Merrick Morton, courtesy of Netflix ©2019

THE HIGHWAYMEN

July 19th, 2019 by Set Decorator Susan Benjamin SDSA


Set Decorator
Susan Benjamin SDSA

Production Designer
Michael Corenblith

Netflix

Set Decorator Susan Benjamin SDSA International has paired with Production Designer Michael Corenblith for a number of great projects, including depictions of true-life stories, from The BLIND SIDE to FROST/NIXON and THE FINEST HOURS, to SAVING MR BANKS and THE FOUNDER...so we knew the gritty realism of THE HIGHWAYMEN would not only ring true but also have a compelling artistic quality. We’ve talked with her often about the creative process and decisions made for many of these projects. This time, she gives us another great perspective, an index of how they brought about the story, shot entirely on location...
Enjoy!
Karen Burg
Editor
 
 
From Set Decorator Susan Benjamin SDSA International...
THE HIGHWAYMEN tells the story of the Texas Rangers who hunted down and killed the infamous outlaws/killers known as Bonnie and Clyde. Following the lead of the director, John Lee Hancock, Production Designer Michael Corenblith and I worked hard to illuminate the existing conditions in the United States that lead to the creation and tragic demise of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow.   
 
The country was in the midst of a Great Depression, the gap between rich and poor was ever widening, and new technologies were changing the way laws were enforced throughout the States. Although the events depicted occurred in 1934, the story of these celebrity outlaws and the men who caught them is as relevant today as it was then.  
 
HIstory For Hire

Making this film in a record cold and rainy winter in Louisiana was a labor of love.
And so I bring to you…
 
The Highwaymen Set Decoration Index:
Number of States filmed in: 2 – Louisiana and Texas
Number of Louisiana Parishes filmed in: 11
Number of States Set Decorator and Buyers shopped in: 11
Number of States driven in by Texas Rangers Hamer and Gault to find Bonnie and Clyde: 5 – Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Louisiana [See Map.]
Average Cost of gas in the United States in 1934: 10 cents [$.10] per gallon
Average Cost of gas in the United States in 2018:  $ 3.55 per gallon
Number of Miles Set Decorator put on rental car: 15,000 miles
Number of Sets dressed: 56
Median family income, 1934:  $1,160
Number of Migrant Camps built by Set Decoration: 3 
  Oklahoma migrant camp
  Dallas slum, Bienville
  Parish Louisiana Logging camp
Number of new tents purchased:  20
Cost of new tents:  $11,169.68
Number of days filmed:  40
Set Decoration Budget for the movie: $476,000 for purchases and rentals.
 
Special thanks to the SDSA International vendors in LA who never stop supporting us even when we stray elsewhere:
History For Hire
Omega|Cinema Props
Warner Bros. Props and Drapery
 
And the Atlanta SDSA business members who make it all happen in points south:
Made to Measure
Georgia Prop Source
Antonio Raimo Gallery
Cinema Greens
 
 
 
 
 



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Set locations map... The locations map shows the myriad places where the production filmed in Louisiana for scenes that took place in Texas and Oklahoma! See next image for detail...

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Set locations map, detail... See Susan's notes below for specifics!

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Map of B&C movements... Texas lawman Frank Hamer states, “Outlaws and mustangs always come home.” He and his partner Maney Gault work from that premise.

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Dallas sheriff’s office, 1934... Working typewriter, leather-banded deskpad, correct weight paper – all period-specific elements that give visual credence to the story. See this dialed-in set decorator’s resources below! Photo by Merrick Morton, courtesy of Netflix ©2019

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Dallas sheriff’s office, 1934... As Susan points out, “These are actual photos of Clyde and the Barrow family...and of Bonnie and Clyde...” Photo by Merrick Morton, courtesy of Netflix ©2019

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Clyde Barrow’s father’s garage, 1934... “We had research on the exterior but nothing on the interior...” Photo SFB, courtesy of Netflix ©2019

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Location... The 2018 location where the team re-created Clyde Barrow’s father’s garage, 1934... Photo SFB, courtesy of Netflix ©2019

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Clyde Barrow’s father’s garage, 1934... Note the added portico and garage door. The classic gas pumps, signage, benches and boxes, the car partially parked in the garage bay... Photo by Merrick Morton, courtesy of Netflix ©2019

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Clyde Barrow’s father’s garage, 1934... “We wanted it to be raw and authentic to mirror the scene between Mr. Barrow and Frank Hamer...” Photo SFB, courtesy of Netflix ©2019

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Clyde Barrow’s father’s garage, 1934... Note the hotplate with pan, the standing Coca-Cola cart with empty bottles below, the ubiquitous skull with horns, the wall phone in previous photo...these seemingly basic elements anchor the set with time and place, the tools and machinery give definition ... Photo SFB, courtesy of Netflix ©2019

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Texas slum/shantytown, Bienville, 1934... “We tried to keep things simple and accurate. We did not want to idealize the Depression, but hoped to show poor people living with integrity despite their situation...” Photo by Merrick Morton, courtesy of Netflix ©2019

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Texas shantytown, 1934... Closer view... Photo by Merrick Morton, courtesy of Netflix ©2019



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