May 29th, 2023 by Karen Burg, Editor

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Bred 2 Buck bar. Sylvester Stallone & Garrett Hedlund. Photo by Brian Douglas/Paramount+ © Viacom International. All Rights Reserved.

Set Decorator Janessa Hitsman SDSA

Production Designer Todd Jeffery


A NY mafioso released from a 25-year prison sentence is sent to Tulsa, Oklahoma to set up a branch there. A fish out of water and time! --Paramount+

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Bred 2 Buck bar. Courtesy Paramount +

Luckily, TULSA KING has Sylvester Stallone bringing humor, attitude and heart, with Set Decorator Janessa Hitsman SDSA & Production Designer Todd Jeffery keeping the bar high with fabulously detailed realistic sets that include that little bit more!
Janessa, based in Vancouver...in fact she has a small textiles & art prophouse there, The Uncaged Stage...but has been seemingly everywhere with a range of productions from the highly respected film ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI to TIMELESS, LOST IN SPACE, and numerous other television series & pilots, including WOKE, where she first worked with Todd. He smiles, “I tried to rope her in on every single project, and she is often unavailable. So this was very fortunate.” Janessa hilariously confesses, “I had to look it up on a map. I got a text message from Todd. ‘Hey, do you want to do a show in Oklahoma?’ I was like, ‘What??’ And then I had to look it up...where is this? “
“So, obviously, we had never been there. And I think we were the first big show in their new soundstage, which was an old convention center, so there were a lot of logistical problems, you know, it's not purpose built. We're used to outside of Los Angeles being in challenging places, like old factories, but this one had some learning curves.”
Again, Todd smiles, “It's not like a robust industry. In terms of infrastructure, and certainly from a vendor and crew standpoint, it's very new for them there.”
Bred 2 Buck bar...
Janessa points out, “Of course, Todd and I get a lot of credit for everything, but this bar is where my set dressers really came through...all the minute details and notes and the realism.

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Bred 2 Buck bar. Courtesy Paramount +

“If you stand behind the bar, you could truly believe you've just shown up for your first shift at a place that's been running for years. And that was about those carefully thought-out tiny details. You know, no one person can think of all of them. I actually only brought my Assistant Set Decorator and Leadman from Vancouver...all the set dressers were from Oklahoma. They didn't have a lot of experience and they needed a lot of mentoring. But they really, really stepped up.”

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Bred 2 Buck bar...Sylvester Stallone as newly released ex-felon, former NY mafioso Dwight "The General" Manfredi creating his own syndicate in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Photo by Brian Douglas for Paramount+ © Viacom International. All Rights Reserved.

“Todd and I did design the booths, they're custom... and the tables...a lot of custom furniture, just because we're looking for a very certain look.”

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Bred 2 Buck bar. Top left: Martin Starr as Bodhi; bottom right: Sylvester Stallone as Dwight "The General" Manfredi. Photos by Brian Douglas for Paramount+ © Viacom International. All Rights Reserved.

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Bred 2 Buck bar. Janessa points out, “The stained-glass windows on the back bar with the oil pumps design are Todd’s ingenious idea.” Courtesy Paramount +

Todd notes, “The B2B is very expansive, a big set, and that back bar is a big walled-off area that really you just want to get some life into it, not just rely on lights behind the liquor bottles and tchotchkes. So, that's the genesis of the idea, “How do we get something that has some illumination quality there and make it feel like there's a little bit of depth and texture?”
Bred 2 Buck casino...
The country bar becomes a more upscale casino...

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Bred 2 Buck casino conversion. Courtesy Paramount +

“We also did the stained-glass pieces that that you see later in the series behind each of the booths, he continues. “So they were a set, covered up by paintings for the bar set to make it feel more worn and antiquated. Then, in the last episode of the season, when we do the reveal of the renovated version for the casino, we reveal the stained glass there.”
“We went through a fair amount of sketches and revisions with our graphic designer to try to figure out what could be iconic and what would fit the shape. And then a local guy made them for us. Of course, you know, not a vendor that is used to working under deadlines...”

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Bred 2 Buck casino conversion. Courtesy Paramount +

“One of the things that we talked about early on,” Todd reveals, “was the idea of repurposing...taking something that was old and antiquated and making it repurposed to be useful again. So that was kind of a reoccurring theme throughout.”
The Higher Plane dispensary...
“With the dispensary, we found an old service station and with Bodhi’s character, the idea that he has the foresight and the aesthetic...a vision that this could be a really cool place to put a dispensary. So we opened up walls and we added in the green glass brick and the roll up doors, and a polished concrete floor...there's a beautiful patinaed tin ceiling. The general idea was to bring that back to kind of a shell that showed the days of yesteryear and what was once a really cool, beautiful building.”

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The Higher Plane dispensary: Janessa found vintage, Kemm Weber and Brooksville Lindberg furniture, styled like classic garage furniture. Note the old gravity gas pump in the corner... Courtesy Paramount +

“That was the base layer, then Janessa could come in and add all of the extra character and story. We have a high/low thing going on...certain things that are higher end, but then you have some old stuff in there. Finding that sweet spot is something that that Janessa pulled off very well. It's a mixture of all sorts of different things, but there is a through-line of the era that the station was originally built in, like some of the Steelcase furniture, the old service station signs, the road signs...a little bit of a Route 66 vibe.”

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The Higher Plane dispensary: All of the cabinets are made with reclaimed barn wood. Vintage pieces add to the vibe, as does current “cannabis” product. Courtesy Paramount +

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The Higher Plane dispensary: Janessa notes, “Some elements are elevated. The owner, Bodhi, has a tanker desk, but it's a matte black tanker that I found. It was just perfect. And I love the atmosphere Todd’s automotive green glass blocks add.” Martin Starr as Bodhi and Sylvester Stallone as Dwight "The General" Manfredi. Photo by Brian Douglas for Paramount+ © Viacom International. All Rights Reserved.

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The Higher Plane dispensary street party: Sylvester Stallone as Dwight "The General" Manfredi and Jay Will as Tyson, his driver and the first member of his new syndicate. Photo by Brian Douglas for Paramount+ © Viacom International. All Rights Reserved.

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Cannabis farm cabin.New prices are negotiated. Sylvester Stallone as Dwight "The General" Manfredi, Martin Starr as Bodhi, and Glen Gould as Jimmy. Photo by Brian Douglas for Paramount+ © Viacom International. All Rights Reserved.

The Mayo Hotel...
Long the premiere hotel of Tulsa, this was the ideal place for city-bred Dwight to establish his home and business. As luxurious and pristine as prison was not, the incorporation of Art deco design is a subtle reminder of another time brought into the present, just as he is trying to both adapt and stay ahead day by day.
Click on SHOW MORE PHOTOS to tour Dwight’s penthouse suite, and to visit the key New York sets: his brother’s funeral, his estranged daughter’s floral shop and the mafia consigliere and family who not only abandoned him but also tried to have him killed! And...moving from the false father-figure mafioso to a truly loving father, we give a glimpse of Tyson Mitchell’s family home. All this in “SHOW MORE PHOTOS” below!
Editor’s note: 
Set Decorator Janessa Hitsman SDSA would like to acknowledge the SDSA Business members with whom she worked: AMCO American Screen & Window Coverings, Astek Wallcovering, Cooper Lace, EC Prop Rentals, Fabricut / S. Harris, and Kravet Inc NYC.
She shares a great story: “We used Cooper Lace in the funeral home set, which was in a great old museum house where the original lace was deteriorating. The museum has since contracted Cooper Lace to replace all of their lace window treatments!”
Don’t forget to click on “SHOW MORE PHOTOS” below!