It’s been two years since the widespread sexual harassment allegations against Harvey Weinstein broke out. Two years since women from different ages and demographics, finally broke their silences against harassment and assault through the #MeToo movement. Hollywood tried to do its bit by having movies and shows that engaged with the issue. But this year, through ‘Bombshell‘, we finally get the first mainstream movie that entirely centres around the subject. The movie deals with workplace harassment in a conservative media house, and is based on a real-life scandal which preceded the movement itself.
‘Bombshell’ is based on the lawsuit against former FOX News CEO, Roger Ailes, for sexual harassment that took place in 2016. It was initiated by Gretchen Carlson, a former TV news commentator, who sued Ailes, leading to several dozens of women stepping up for the same, including Megyn Kelly.
The movie centres around the three women, Carlson, Kelly, and Kayla, as they set out to expose their CEO, and their toxic workplace atmosphere. It boasts of an incredible star cast, with Academy award-winning actresses Charlize Theron and Nicole Kidman, who play Kelly and Carlson respectively, along with Margot Robbie as Kayla, and John Lithgow as Ailes.
‘Bombshell’ stands out because of the attention it pays to details, by recreating the entire scandal, along with the characters and settings, with the help of prosthetic and elaborate set-designs. The team recreates the FOX News offices, by studying various footage and photographs. The production design team built the set that looked exactly like News Corp., along with the studios where the real-life Megyn Kelly and Gretchen Carlos actually worked. This, it achieved without any real involvement or help from the media house. Want to know how they managed to do this? Here’s everything we know about ‘Bombshell”s filming locations.
Bombshell Filming Locations
‘Bombshell’ is directed by Jay Roach, and based on the script written by Academy Award winning screenwriter, Charles Rudolph of “The Big Short” fame. The filming of the movie was commenced in 2018, with the principle photography taking place entirely in Los Angeles, where production designer, Mark Ricker, went to extreme lengths to recreate FOX News offices accurately on sets.
Downtown Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
The entirety of ‘Bombshell’ was shot completely in Los Angeles, California. The production team worked scrupulously to transform Downtown Los Angeles to New York, where News Corp is based. This involved intensive research as FOX News did not want any involvement, and did not even let the team scout their offices for set-design ideas. Ricker apparently had “moles” inside the company that slipped him photographs for research, he also made use of old archived footage, as well as the selfies that FOX News hosts took in their offices and make-up chairs.
The abandoned Los Angeles Times building was the location used by the team to create make-shift FOX News offices for the shoot, and it doubled as their version of News Corp. for the film. The building was originally built in 1935 by Gordon B. Kauffman, and served as headquarters for Los Angeles Times. The building is a prime filming location and has been seen in several films like ‘Dreamgirls’, ‘Argo’, ‘Moneyball’, and even in shows like ‘Scandal’, and ‘Bones’.
The ‘Bombshell’ production team invested heavily in recreating Fox’s older show sets inside the building, like those of “The Kelly File” and “Fox and Friends”, where real-life Megyn Kelly and Gretchen Carlson previously worked, respectively. This was done with the help of set-designer, Ellen Brill, who worked painstakingly to recreate the sets and bring them to life.
A particular wide shot in the film shows Charlize Theron as Megyn Kelly on air, hosting “The Kelly File” show, which is a recreation of FOX News’ former Studio J. The team went to great lengths to recreate everything including the graphic designs and the logos. Similarly, the set for “Fox and Friends” was also recreated to how it looked before 2013, as Gretchen left the show then.
As bizarre as it sounds, one unconventional source of inspiration for Ricker and his production team for making replicas of News Corp. offices and studios was, wait for it, foot fetish websites. The site had photos of female FOX hosts in their “towering stiletto heels”, which revealed details of their surroundings. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Ricker stated the motivations for his strenuous recreations:
“Ninety-eight percent of the people who see the movie aren’t going to know what the inner offices look like, but the other 2 percent of the audience will be the ones who worked there, and they will know,” Ricker says. “I just wanted them to think, ‘Oh my God, how’d they get it so right?’ ”
All in all, the team behind ‘Bombshell’ did an absolutely remarkable job with the way they turned the Los Angeles Times building into News Corp. They brought to life and recreated the scandal that can be seen, in many ways, as one of the origins of the #MeToo movement. ‘Bombshell’, with its FOX office replicas, allows us to witness the relentless and toxic atmosphere that women in the media houses have to work in.
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