Los Angeles Times


Production design by Catherine Martin and Karen Murphy (“Moulin Rouge”)


Production design by Rick Carter (“Lincoln”)

Time frame: mid-1950s through mid-1960s

Hero home No. 1: Two-story in New Jersey

Spielberg alter ego Sammy Fabelman and his family initially lived in a New Jersey two-story suburban house typical of the postwar era. Filmmakers actually shot those scenes in Chatsworth. “It was kind of funny to see crew members in shorts and tank tops laying out snow carpets on this 100-degree day,” Carter says.

Hero home No. 2: Ranch house in Phoenix

The Fabelmans move to a Midcentury Modern ranch-style house in Phoenix. “It’s a new community, new opportunit­ies, a new way to start fresh away from the old world,” Carter says. Filmmakers located and painted a house in Simi

Valley that resembled the Spielbergs’ Arizona residence. Inspiratio­n: Carter referred to old photograph­s and home movies shot by Steven Spielberg.

Hero home No. 3: California Craftsman

The Fabelmans relocate to the Santa Clara area around 1965 as the marriage falls apart during Sammy’s final year of high school. Carter says, “Craftsman houses were common to that area, and I thought it would work for the story because of the heaviness and somber colors. California’s supposed to be the promised land, and yet for this family, it’s not.”

‘ELVIS’ Time frame: 1955 through 1973 Hero home: Graceland

Elvis Presley’s iconic headquarte­rs in Memphis were replicated on the backlot of Village Roadshow Studios in Queensland, Australia, based on blueprints provided by the Graceland estate. Filmmakers reflected Presley’s aesthetic by changing the 1939 mansion’s original floorboard­s to red carpet throughout. “Graceland was very much the symbol and expression of Elvis’ success,” Martin says.

Workplace: The carnival

Elvis meets manager Colonel Tom Parker in 1955 at a carnival featuring country singer Hank Snow. Tents, sideshows, concession stands, freak shows, food stands, wagons and carriages were all fabricated in New Zealand

by the film’s art department, with only the Ferris wheel, carousel and swing chair brought in from vintage sources. “Colonel Parker used to be a carnival barker,” designer Murphy notes. “Baz Luhrmann wanted the carny world to provide an enticing location for Parker to cast his spell.”

Home away from home: The Internatio­nal Hotel in Las Vegas

A modernist skyscraper newly built in 1969, the Internatio­nal Hotel presented Presley as a Vegas workhorse whose glitzy revue featured a massive gold curtain. The fabric was dyed gold, and sent to Australia to be sewn together.

Complicati­on: Graceland and the other “Elvis” sets were wrapped in plastic for nearly a year due to COVID.

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