On the set of Netflix’s ‘High Seas’ Spanish Murder Mystery Series – The Hollywood Reporter
Fans of the melodrama and period style mix of some Spanish series popularized by Netflix would instantly recognize the switchboard of Cable Girls, the Art Deco entrance to the fashion showroom on Velvet or the elegant interiors of great hotel.
Ramon Campos, executive producer at Bambu Producciones, the Madrid company behind all of these series, says that a single image or artistic style can serve as a benchmark for the look of an entire series. For great hotel, it was the paintings of Joaquin Sorolla. At Velvet, the main lobby of the Chrysler Building in New York. Cable Girls was modernism.
For High sea, the new eight-episode mystery murder from the 1940s set aboard a transatlantic ship traveling from Europe to South America, which Bambu is producing for a spring release on Netflix, was “Streamline” style from the Art Deco era, heavy in curving lines and rounded edges. High sea is the most expensive set of all Bambu productions to date and the largest and most complex Netflix has undertaken in Spain.
“It is very important that when the viewer starts a series, even if it is the same genre or a similar genre to other series, they feel that there is something completely different about it. ‘aesthetic that will never bring him back to the same world,’ explains Campos, the co-creator of the series with Gema R. Neira.
Campos sits on the bench of a long table in the fictional ship’s third-class dining room, surrounded by plates of chorizo and crusty bread perfectly laid out to resemble leftovers from a modest but festive meal, giving Hollywood journalist a behind-the-scenes look at the multi-faceted ensemble.
Months of research and documentation went into creating the High sea aesthetics and design – the most for any Bambu series to date, says Campos. Decorator Regina Acuña worked hand in hand with chief decorator Carlos Bodelon to recreate the look and feel of ships of the time. They were particularly inspired by two luxury Art Deco liners of the 1930s, the SS Normandie and the Queen Mary, says Acuña.
One of the fictional ship’s most eye-catching adornments, called the Barbara de Braganza, is a wall-sized mural of a map designed in warm earth tones to illustrate the ship’s route from Vigo to Rio and Buenos Aires. The map was modeled closely on an original on the Queen Mary. The rectangular shape of the studio building where the series was shot, located about 45 minutes from Madrid, allows the 2,700 square meters of the High sea tuned to mimic the traveling corridors and curved decks and cabins of a Streamline passenger ship.
The designers incorporated authentic period pieces from England and northern Spain to recreate the control deck of a four-turbine ship, including the steering helm. Specific wood was brought in for the panels embellishing the walls of the grand first-class two-story columned living room, which is packed with carpeting, gold trim, minimalist Art Deco font panels, and golden arch door handles. The original liner logo, designed for the series, adorns the folded fabric napkins on the round tables and the crisp white cushions covering the wooden lounge chairs on the deck.
The third-class and crew quarters “below” (actually around the corner on the plateau) are quite different, characterized by light blue wall panels, bulky wooden furniture, and rough blankets. One of the main characters, a nanny, shares a small cabin cluttered with two beds, stacks of suitcases, clothes and, in the middle, a period ironing board which Acuña says was handcrafted. when they could not find exactly. I like this. Designers studied how people made their beds in the 1940s because, Acuña insists, sheets were folded differently back then.
Most impressive is the multi-utility of the many spaces on the board. With furniture and decor moved accordingly, a deck serves both sides of the ship. A single cabin also serves as the cabin of several different characters. Depending on where the figures are in a scene, the walls and light sconces throughout the corridors of some areas must be broken and replaced with others to differentiate the sections of the ship, which is said to carry 1,400 people on board. . .
“We need each space to serve as many spaces,” Campos notes, admitting that every time they edit the script – Campos is also co-writer of the series with Neira, Daniel Martin Serrano, Curro Novallas and Jose. Antonio Valverde – decorators are the “sufferers”.
Still, that attention to detail is sure to show on screen, and it’s a sign, Campos says, of the enhanced possibilities that come with Netflix support, as well as the creative freedom that comes with the “very trusting relationship.” which has consolidated between Netflix and Bambu, who have teamed up on the streamer’s first original series in Spain and only his second in Europe, Cable Girls, now in its fourth season.
High sea is directed by Carlos Sedes (Cable Girls, Velvet, great hotel), who also produces the series with Campos and Teresa Fernandez-Valdes. It will air on Netflix this spring.