5 of the best Dante Ferretti film sets

Here are five big Hollywood films that showcase Dante Ferretti’s talent at creating magnificent sets

PUBLISHED : Monday, 22 August, 2016, 6:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 22 August, 2016, 6:00am

Gangs of New York (2002, Martin Scorsese)

To recreate the roiling ambience of 1850s Manhattan, Dante Ferretti immersed himself in historical photographs and researched the era. Ferretti used colour – and its absence – to make essential distinctions about the class conflicts at the heart of Scorsese’s film. “There are many levels of society – the politicians and upper classes, the middle class and the lower class – and we used colour only for the upper class.”

The Aviator (2004, Martin Scorsese )

When Scorsese began planning his aviation epic, a decision was made to film flying sequences with scale models rather than CGI special effects (Ferretti also prefers models to CGI). The building and filming of the flying models proved cost-effective and timely. The primary scale models were the Spruce Goose and the XF-11; both miniatures were designed and fabricated over a period of several months. The 170 kg Spruce Goose model had a wingspan of 6.1 metres, while the 340kg XF-11 had a 7.6-metre wingspan.

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007, Tim Burton)

Ferretti’s first collaboration with Tim Burton saw a set that was a stylised version of 19th-century London reminiscent of classic black-and-white horror films of the 1930s. Ferretti’s designs followed a desaturated colour palette – mainly of greys and blacks. Everything was built from scratch and a highlight was a full-scale recreation of London’s Fleet Street as it looked in the Victorian era.

Hugo (2011, Martin Scorsese)

A 3D adaptation of Brian Selznick’s 2007 children’s book The Invention of Hugo Cabret set in the early 1930s, the film looks at the life of an orphan who lives and works in a Paris train station. The massive set was built at Shepperton Studios just outside London. Ferretti said sketches in Selznick’s book worked as inspirational storyboards.

Cinderella (2015, Kenneth Branagh)

To give the palace a magical feel and to recreate grand staircases, Ferretti referred to French architecture, including the Louvre, the Palais Garnier and the Palace of Versailles. The ballroom set — built on the 007 stage at Pinewood Studios in Britain – was nine metres high, with an additional 13-metres digital-set extension. Set decoration included 5,000 oil candles, which had to be lit by hand, and 17 enormous chandeliers that were custom-made in Venice. Cinderella’s magical carriage, made piece by piece by a sculptor, was fully functioning and sturdy enough to be pulled by four horses.