The Daily News loves the sets for Sex and the City 2 so much that they devoted an entire supplement to Lydia and her memorable, iconic decorating. Getting a chance to jump off residential and commercial interior design for a minute to do an occasional movie or photo shoot keeps our work fresh, exciting….always pushing the envelope! view the full article here
Much effort went into designing the fabulous life led by Carrie and co. in ‘Sex and the City 2.’
Before the ladies take their first-class trip abroad, they reunite in the city where they first met as twentysomething girls. On the second day of shooting, the crew re-created 1980s New York at the intersection of Fifth Ave. and 58th St., which involved a head-to-toe makeover.
“We had to work with the city and close down part of Fifth Ave. to pull it off,” says producer John Melfi. “And to really sell it, we brought in dozens of period cars and hundreds of extras in ’80s costumes.”
Add to that a hundred-person crew, an army of trucks carrying tons of equipment, swarms of paparazzi and hundreds of onlookers, and you get the challenge of filming on the streets of Manhattan.
Even a less ambitious scene can require months of preparation. Explains Melfi, “Carrie and Big’s apartment is supposed to be located in a pretty tony building on the upper East Side. It took months to secure just that one location. We had meetings with the city, every resident in the building had to give their approval, the street had to be closed, and buses had to be rerouted.”
But one location remains unchanged after all these years: Carrie’s old apartment. Her upper East Side brownstone isn’t really on the upper East Side, but is far downtown in Greenwich Village. And it was there, while shooting the second film, that the crew witnessed a first — the “Sex and the City” tour group stumbling upon the movie set.
“They just kind of swarmed over us,” remembers Melfi. “It was surreal to be shooting while people were getting off the ‘Sex and the City’ bus. It was overwhelming to be part of this cultural moment.”
Other locations were a little more manageable to re-create, such as the iconic SoHo coffee shop set from the series. The original set seen in many episodes was actually built on a sound stage at Silvercup Studios in Queens. But for the films, the coffee shop was re-created, if not for real, then in the real world — in an empty furniture store in SoHo.
Carrie’s new closet
Even though the apartment is for the two of them, one space remains signature Carrie: the closet. “One side of the closet is Carrie, and the other side is Big,” says production designer Jeremy Conway. “What I love about that, of course, is that there’s not enough room for Carrie, so she has to come over to Big’s side a little bit.”
“The palette in this closet is very different from the palette in Carrie’s old closet,” adds set decorator Lydia Marks. “It’s really about Carrie’s grownup clothes. There are no tutus here.”
The wedding set
The design team went all out in creating the big white wedding that opens the movie. Says director Michael Patrick King, “The wedding is stylish in a way that you don’t see anymore. It has a very old Hollywood feel to it. The scenery is extravagant: It’s a huge exterior built indoors. And even the wedding motif is in black and white, so there are times when it actually looks like something out of ‘Top Hat’ or a Preston Sturges movie. It’s in color, but we deliberately stressed the black and white.”
Over two months on a soundstage in Brooklyn, production designer Jeremy Conway and a crew of hundreds of carpenters, painters and craftspeople re-created the rustic Colonial courtyard of a quaint country inn — and then transformed that inn into an outrageous, snow-white, crystal-covered party.
“Sparkle was a very important part of this set,” says set decorator Lydia Marks. “We managed to add sparkle into the flower arrangements, into the trees, into the handrails on the footbridges — pretty much anywhere we could put crystals.”
“You haven’t seen a set like that since MGM in 1935,” says Mario Cantone, who plays Charlotte’s wedding-planner friend, Anthony Marantino. “I mean, it’s literally like a Busby Berkeley musical.”
Excerpted from “Sex and the City 2: The Stories. The Fashion. The Adventure,” publishing this month from Running Press, Copyright 2010.