by Admin March 6, 2024

by Jessica Petruccelli SDSA.

Set Decorator Jessica Petruccelli SDSA shares, “You can’t have MEAN GIRLS without pink! But we didn’t want to feel tied to the way they did it in the original. We needed to create an iconic look befitting of queen bee Regina’s personality, with an aesthetic that felt more current.” Images courtesy Paramount Pictures.

Set Decorator Jessica Petruccelli SDSA

Production Designer Kelly McGehee

Paramount Pictures

From film…to Broadway musical…to musical film! Yes, this 2024 version of MEAN GIRLS adds music & musical numbers, but also fun and fabulous visual depth! Set Decorator Jessica Petruccelli SDSA gives a peak and insider info…

And Paramount Pictures gives us a synopsis:

From the comedic mind of Tina Fey comes a new twist on the modern classic, MEAN GIRLS. New student Cady Heron [Angourie Rice] is welcomed into the top of the social food chain by the elite group of popular girls “The Plastics,” ruled by the conniving queen bee Regina George [Reneé Rapp]. However, when Cady makes the major misstep of falling for Regina’s ex-boyfriend Aaron Samuels [Christopher Briney], she finds herself in Regina’s crosshairs. As Cady sets to take down the group’s apex predator with the help of her outcast friends Janis [Auli’l Cravalho] and Damian [Jaquel Spivey], she must learn how to stay true to herself while navigating the most cutthroat jungle of all: high school. –Paramount Pictures

Regina’s house. Bebe Wood as Gretchen Wieners, Reneé Rapp as queen bee Regina George, Avantika as Karen Shetty. Image courtesy Paramount Pictures.

From Set Decorator Jessica Petruccelli SDSA…

“Working on MEAN GIRLS was a fun and tight-knit experience. We filmed in a defunct high school in Middletown, New Jersey. This is also where our production offices were, and on one occasion, we found ourselves having to clear half of our set dec office on the spot to let actor Auli’l Cravalho, as Janis, run through one entrance and out another to make it back in time for their choreography down a dressed hallway! Most of the musical numbers were filmed and choreographed like music videos, which certainly kept us on our toes because there were a lot of single-take Steadicam shots with dancers abound. This meant size and shape of set dressing had to be always kept in mind.”

“This 2024 version of MEAN GIRLS not only had the challenge of taking song and dance elements from the Broadway musical, but it also considered the cult following from the original 2004 MEAN GIRLS film. The directors chose to incorporate musical numbers in a more naturalistic way to transition between these two worlds more seamlessly. From a set decoration perspective, we aimed to create real-feeling spaces that became heightened through lighting, special effects and camera techniques.”

Regina’s bedroom. Inset: Reneé Rapp as Regina George. Images courtesy Paramount Pictures.

Regina’s Bedroom…

“Production Designer Kelly McGehee, and I wanted to have a few nods to the original MEAN GIRLS when thinking about layout and color of Regina George’s bedroom. You can’t have MEAN GIRLS without pink! But we didn’t want to feel tied to the way they did it in the original. We needed to create an iconic look befitting of Regina’s personality with an aesthetic that felt more current. We looked to influencers, teen room tours on Tik Tok, and even the Kardashians when dreaming up Regina’s bedroom. We landed on a more minimal space with bold accent colors, furniture with cool unique forms and of course shiny acrylic details in honor of The Plastics. The headboard was made by one of our favorite local vendors, Corona upholstery, the fabric is a bubblegum color raw silk from Christopher Hyland.”

“The color palette is a mix of pale and medium pink…so the actors’ costumes would pop…with accents of neon pink and undertones of iridescent plastic: teal, lavender and a golden or fluorescent yellow. We prioritized hard edges and defined silhouettes in furniture and lighting choices. When using upholstery, we created strong shapes using fabric with a sheen, so the outlines would look glossy, like plastic. Nothing mushy and blended in Regina’s world. We used some unique lighting from Entler Studios, since we felt Regina would have some elevated items you wouldn’t see in every teen’s room.”

Karen’s bedroom. Inset: Avantika as Karen Shetty. Images courtesy Paramount Pictures.

Karen’s Room…

“In truth, I wish we saw a bit more of this room, our shopper/buyer Ashley Bradshaw did such a great job helping fill out this maximalist teen girl room with many cute, fun bubbly things for Karen. A few little nods to specific stuffed animals in the original Karen’s room, but certainly more filled to the brim than the original.”

Revenge Party, Utopian Hallway. Images courtesy Paramount Pictures.

Revenge Party, Utopian Hallway…

“This setting was the brainchild of our designer Kelly McGehee. She and Art Director Grant Guilliams created concept art transforming a regular school hallway to a DIY explosion of color, rainbows, and flowers.”

“Kelly wanted the space filled with flowers of various sizes. We were able to source some 6-foot-tall paper flowers from a maker in Ukraine. We also created a mélange of bright fake flowers to line the lockers which our set dressing crew assembled over 100 feet of like pros, and we reached out to florist Flowerculttt to create some dreamy arrangements Kelly wanted spilling out of lockers.”

“This space was very narrow as it is, and the dance sequence moved through the entire space, so we had overhead plans that dictated where the hanging clouds needed to go to not get in the way of high lifts for the dancers!”

Cady’s Bedroom…

“Cady’s room had to speak for itself to show Aaron a glimpse of who she was before coming to North Shore High and becoming popular.”

Cady’s bedroom. Inset: Angourie Rice as Cady Heron. Images courtesy Paramount Pictures.
Cady’s bedroom. Image courtesy Paramount Pictures.

“We used a mix of colors and textiles as well as little collections from nature and some of her drawings from being out in the field with her mom to show softness and textures in contrast with The Plastics.”

Cady’s Home…

“We wanted Cady’s home to feel like a layered and nurturing environment with an eclectic assortment of furnishings, a space Ms. Heron would have curated for her and Cady in their new home.”

Cady’s house. Image courtesy Paramount Pictures.
Cady’s house, her mother’s office. Image courtesy Paramount Pictures.

“We worked with an African antiques collector who had pieces specific to Kenya that we added to Ms. Heron’s office space. A few things she would keep from her years working in Kenya. We were also able to reach out to a few Kenyan artists for paintings we used in their dining room.”

Kenyan Tent…

“This set was quite a project, but who doesn’t love a challenge! Directors Art and Sam had a very specific way in which they wanted to create a single Steadicam shot that took viewers through Janis’s garage out into the plains of Kenya, through the tent where Cady and her mom live and out the back ending at the front of North Shore High!”

Kenyan tent. Cady and her mother lived there for an extended period. [Note the stuffed leopard on her bed. He appears in one of her bedroom photos above – sweet set detail.] Images courtesy Paramount Pictures.

“We contracted with a tent manufacturer to create one to our specifications for filming, including skylights for our DP and lighting team. Our Leadman, Craig Capitelli, had to even do some additional augmentation to the framework to allow for the height of the camera rig to move through this tight space.”

Janis’s Garage…

“This is Janis and Damian’s hang out, and was so fun to create. It was in large part undertaken by Assistant Set Decorator Charlene Wang de Chen SDSA. She reached out to local artists and students to create much of the artwork seen on the walls of the garage.”

Janis’s garage, an artistic haven. Image courtesy Paramount Pictures.

“Janis is an artist and beholden to no one else. This space is filled to the brim with materials for creating her art, found objects and funky furniture. It’s really meant to evoke a teen’s sacred space where they can essentially collage every wall with photos, drawings and inside jokes.”

Janis’s garage. Inset: Auli’I Cravalho as Janis. Image courtesy Paramount Pictures.

“Janis’s Garage is also a bookend to the whole movie as we see Janis and Damian start and end our story here. This meant the construction team had to build a mobile version of the set that we took out to the location where we filmed our Kenya exterior as well as to the North Shore Spring Fling Gymnasium! So, we dressed this set several times and in several locations, it was a true collaboration!”

Source Article


Interior Designers Institute was founded in 1984 and is one of the few Interior Design Schools in California offering an Avocational Certificate Course, Associate of Arts Degree in Interior Design, Bachelor of Arts Degree in Interior Design, and Master of Interior Architecture Degree and is nationally accredited and also accredited by CIDA, Council for Interior Design Accreditation.