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  • - My names Marcus Rowland.

  • I had to turn London in 1970s L.A.

  • And this is my design.

  • I was a production designer on Rocketman.

  • Most important collaboration, after the director,

  • is the director of photography.

  • You can build a great set but if it's not lit well,

  • it's not gonna ever stand out and have presence.

  • Wardrobe is incredibly important, it sets the period.

  • And then obviously hair and makeup.

  • It's a combination of different skills really

  • in all departments coming together.

  • [upbeat rock music]

  • I think the hardest thing we found was trying

  • to make sure we were sort of capturing the flavor

  • and the style of the place.

  • I mean it's got a great typeface that we emulated.

  • And some of the details, which are very what I'd consider

  • to be American in terms of L.A., is all this stone work,

  • that's so not available in the U.K.

  • It's a very American thing.

  • So it's trying to capture the flavor of that really

  • within our set, which we built in the U.K.

  • on a mundane looking car park.

  • So it was quite a strange thing to see this

  • sort of warm facade appear in a car park outside London.

  • Using cars, they're a great thing in terms

  • of period dressing.

  • Certainly when you're on the street or doing locations

  • that you don't have as much time as you would like

  • in terms of dressing them

  • because if they're a fully functioning street,

  • you're gonna be cut down to a limited amount of time

  • to be able to turn that into a period dressing.

  • Cars say a lot, especially in that period.

  • It's a lot harder to get those cars in the U.K. [laughs]

  • We didn't have any of these cars so instantly

  • they all helped by establishing that as American.

  • - [Broadcaster] The Troubadour is an a vanguard cafe.

  • It's the favorite of Hollywood's young and young in heart.

  • - Through periods of time it sort of changed in the way

  • it looked as well, the exterior varied

  • and the color of the exterior varied.

  • We tried to workout the size of the frame

  • so we built the smallest amount we needed to believe.

  • The thing that we did fundamentally change is the

  • the main entrance in the real place is just here

  • on the right hand side.

  • Whereas we decided to focus our attention

  • into the middle door really.

  • So that's how they enter within our world.

  • In the real place, they enter and they walk to a bar area

  • and then you're into the venue.

  • We wanted to sort of condense that journey really.

  • So then they walk in off the street,

  • straight into the venue.

  • - [Man] What the hell are you wearing?

  • - [Marcus] This is the dressing room area,

  • which is actually off the back of the stage as well.

  • - My stage gear.

  • - [Marcus] I think you can see in this clip is

  • how much effort we go into trying to make

  • the set feel as real as possible.

  • We use a lot of plaster and this brick work and molding

  • is plaster brick, it's what hopefully makes it feel real.

  • - I think you're over reacting.

  • - No, Bernie.

  • You are under reacting.

  • - Filming in a small toilet's a fairly tricky thing.

  • So this is a blueprint of the interior of the Troubadour.

  • Ideally, it's all pre-prepared, it's planned exactly where

  • the camera would need to be, and we've accommodated

  • that by a design that allows the wall

  • to pull out very easily.

  • The last thing anybody wants to do, stand around waiting

  • for somebody to spend 13 minutes pulling out a wall.

  • I mean it really does have to happen fast.

  • - [Man] Now get out there and play you little twat!

  • - Well come on then.

  • - [Marcus] Club scenes tend to be,

  • when the performance is on,

  • feel like very dark spaces really.

  • So behind Elton when he's on stage, it's still fairly dark.

  • But we put a bit of texture in there

  • and we've got this neon blue Troubadour sign

  • which becomes quite a crucial bit of the design.

  • It tells a big story straight away.

  • And it's quite interesting seeing these photographs,

  • it's probably, I thought ours was much bigger,

  • but in fact, it looks like it was exactly the same size.

  • [vocalizing]

  • ♪ I remember

  • - [Marcus] Fairly technically difficult thing to do,

  • when the whole crowd is elevated.

  • La la la la la

  • La la la la la

  • La la la la la

  • - [Marcus] It's sort of quite a simple idea,

  • but we ended up with quite a complicated rig, we built two

  • rows of what looked like sort of bicycle seats

  • on a big pole.

  • We layered up the two, one behind the other,

  • so we'd get as much depth as we want.

  • And the reason we cut down on the amount of raised

  • platform is obviously that becomes a lot more expensive.

  • You never have enough money,

  • so part of the process is sort of analyzing where

  • to spend it.

  • Put the emphasis on spending the money where you feel

  • that it's gonna be on screen.

  • I think we probably had

  • at least 30 people or 40 people lifted on these devices.

  • So that gives you the basic motion of them traveling up.

  • - All right, enough of this bullshit.

  • Who wants to go to a party at Mama Cass's?

  • - [Marcus] After the Troubadour, they had off to

  • a party at Mama Cass's which is Laurel Canyon.

  • Which is of a very distinctive look.

  • So we were challenged with trying to recreate

  • that in the U.K.

  • We tried, initially, to try and see if we could find

  • a location that would work.

  • It soon became apparent that that was gonna be tricky.

  • The second phase was okay, we'll find somewhere a landscape

  • that we can control.

  • The location manager forged me a shot

  • of this particular place, it's a big ol' farm.

  • So I went around with him and we worked out a space

  • that we would be able to construct a particular building.

  • From that point, I start thinking about what we have

  • to design and what's required.

  • So these I just drew on the iPad really quickly.

  • They laid the basic idea for the space

  • based around reference that we'd acquired.

  • [upbeat rock music]

  • There are some pictures out there, there's not tons,

  • but you got a sense of the flavor of the place.

  • There was a sort of ethereal quality about

  • that particular place anyway, and there's some good photos

  • of various famous bands.

  • We did use that as our source material.

  • So once we sort of enlightened on a plan

  • or the scale of the set that we wanted to build on

  • on location, we obviously drew up some blueprints

  • which I've got over here.

  • This is a basic layout.

  • And from this we also can talk to construction about

  • the methodology and the materials.

  • It was quite a lot of discussions

  • in this particular build really about what we could

  • get away with in terms of structurally.

  • How much load bearing it needed to accommodate.

  • There are fairly stringent planning limitations in the U.K.

  • We have a structural engineer who comes along.

  • We make a good guess of what we think is the most

  • sensible way of building it.

  • We design the sets.

  • Then the set decorator on this,

  • she's doing her own research.

  • She will go off and come up with her ideas

  • of how that looks inside, show me photographs,

  • we'll discuss it.

  • So it's a real collaboration of ideas.

  • When they approach the party,

  • we found a space that we could digitally put in L.A.

  • in the distance.

  • That obviously helped sell it.

  • At night, it's very much more atmospheric.

  • In reality, it's a fairly big open space.

  • But I think because we chose to break it up

  • with different bits of dressing,

  • it's trying to give it as much depth as possible, so,

  • you're not in a contained space