All the hard work and planning that went into creating a sewer led to this scene in which the guys choose which Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle best represents them.
To get a shot of the water sinking in from the drain pipe the crew had to create an entire drainage system and pump all the extra water out to avoid flooding the sound stage. The sludge mixture that looked like poop water was made with brownie mix, pudding mix and oatmeal. It was entirely edible, albeit disgusting.
While our Art Department gave the sewer set it’s look, Gaffer David Hayball and Director of Photography Grant Smith lit and shot the sewer so as to seemingly bring the grime into your living rooms.
Making it feel cramped, claustrophobic even, came down to their conversations with Director Kyle Newacheck over how best to capture the depth of the set.
Luckily no one fell in the drain and ruined their clothes, equipment, or the shot, boy would that have sucked.
In a gesture of solidarity, our grips (led by Key Grip Patrick Heffernan, their “Splinter” in red and sporting the rat whiskers) dressed as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles while building and shooting in the sewer. Their energy and enthusiasm helped keep the mood appropriately playful while everyone was stuck in such cramped quarters.
No word on if their turtle characters matched their personalities, or what kind of pizza they prefer.
Shooting in the sewer was a little tricky. It was really slippery and smelled pretty weird, but the actual sewer was much bigger than it looked on TV so there was plenty of room for the guys and the cameras.
In our first photo, Production Designer Gary Kordan surveys the Art Department’s handy work inside the sewer set.
Construction may have built the set, but it was the Art Department’s set dressing that made it gross, dank, and uncomfortable to be in. Set Decorator Julie Drach worked with her team of Josh Richter, Shane Passantino, Garrett Zunt, Brian Ferguson and Caitlin Williams to turn the clean to the disturbing.
We didn’t ask how they knew how to make a place so destroyed, and frankly, we don’t want to know. We’re sure they used their professional skills and not any first-hand experiences, of course.
We also have to give our thanks to Brian for providing us with such great photos of the sewer progress. We’re 95% sure he took pics of the set, and didn’t spend any actual time in a sewer.
Coming up we’ll have more on what happened once Adam, Blake and Ders got to the set and started playing in the sewer setting.
The sewer was built over the course of a week on a sound stage (the first and only thing we shot on a sound stage) while the guys were filming the scenes in Montez’s gated community.
Nobody knew quite what to expect since there were stunts involving fire and rising water - and because we only had use of the sound stage for 1 day. Luckily, everything went smoothly; Blake’s hair almost caught on fire during one take of the fire stunt, but that’s it.
Designing the sewer was the first challenge our Production faced; where it would be built, how big it would need to be, and what the scripted scenes would require of the set.
Production Designer Gary Kordan read an early draft of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Roommates script and got to work visualizing and sketching his ideas.
The sewer would need to be big enough for Adam, Blake, and Ders to each have their own “sections” once their arguments escalated, plenty of water to flood safely, and a shit tunnel to escape out of. As you see from the early sketches, Gary’s final design captured all that and more.
The challenges of filming inside the close quarters, as far as the water flooding, lighting the set, and a fairly large stunt explosion were still to come; but first, production had to build the damn thing.
Stay tuned for more on how the sewer was built, how we shot it, and just how much poop was in the poop water as A DAY IN THE SEWER continues.
Today we’ll be bringing you the story of how the guys ended up in that Sewer Divided for TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA ROOMMATES.
Stay tuned for more pics, stories, videos, and more throughout the day!