Mason’s clients Rafael and Mateo Gallardo, two Mexican American men accused of murdering the son of a wealthy oil baron, live in this village of makeshift homes. “Some of these shantytowns were really expansive and shockingly large,” says production designer Keith P. Cunningham, who built a “labyrinthine” set in Santa Clarita that served as the homeless encampment in multiple episodes. “We built 15 to 18 structures with finished interiors,” adds Cunningham, who notes that the VFX team “painted in with CG” to expand the world.
Art director Ian Scroggins says the Depression-era location offered “a big set of crossover issues for set dec and the art department” because of the size and amount of detail within the structures. “Once the crew got there, they seemed fueled by the scale of it all,” he adds. “The more you give them to play with, the more they draw outside the lines.”
Mason inherited his workspace from his mentor E.B. Jonathan (John Lithgow), who died in season one. “What we found in our research is that people didn’t throw things away,” says set decorator Halina Siwolop of the 1930s period. “Perry didn’t change anything — he may have hung up two photographs. I always felt like he didn’t feel comfortable being a lawyer.” She notes that the location is shot with a lighter touch than it was in season one. “He’s emerging as a lawyer,” says Siwolop. “He’s building on top of this legacy that E.B. left for him.”
The season’s main antagonist is slowly revealed to be Camilla Nygaard, an unscrupulous new-money socialite played by Hope Davis. “We wanted to fill her living room with the antiquities she may have collected on her travels — or she may have pilfered, who knows?” says Siwolop. Cunningham notes that a Beverly Hills home designed by architect Paul Revere Williams served as the location, but modern renovations meant that his team had to “strip away the contemporary” decor. Adding the grand piano to Camilla’s living room was no easy feat. “I hoisted that up to the second floor!” Siwolop recalls with a laugh.
Jen Tullock plays screenwriter Anita St. Pierre, the season two love interest of Juliet Rylance’s Della Street. “She was a really fun character to shop for,” says Siwolop, who sourced decor for Anita’s Palm Springs retreat from L.A. prop houses and antiques markets in Pasadena. “She’s got a lot of style and panache,” adds Cunningham, noting how Anita moves seamlessly between Los Angeles’ elite social circles and the underground queer scene. “To have all that wonderful subtext to these characters helped us figure out what their physical spaces would look like,” he says.
This story first appeared in an August stand-alone issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.