On Sunday, March 8th, 2020, the Sloppy Jones cast and crew shot the teaser video for their upcoming series and other social and behind the scenes content.
Finding the Perfect Location for Sloppy Jones Grill
Planning started back in October 2019. Initially, we had hoped to film in January 2020 but it turned out that Sunday, March 8th, 2020 was the first date certain cast and crew were available. Hop To It partners and producers Susan Nation and Nina Beveridge quickly realized how difficult it would be to find the right restaurant available in their price range on a weekend. After months of searching and a few tentative bookings, Nina and director/mentor Winnifred Jong finally found the perfect Bar and Grill for the shoot. The location was serving patrons until the wee hours of Sunday morning, so Nina had to pick up the keys at 4:00 am — that’s dedication.
The Schedule and Set
The day started super early but ended up wrapping early thanks to the military organization of Script Supervisor and 1st AD Simon McNally, plus the efforts of the whole team. Nina, Winnie, Simon, and Dale Hilderbrand planned everything to the smallest detail.
Nina did an awesome job on Art Direction and Set Design with the help of the creators who created mood and inspiration boards for both the look and the wardrobe.
Nina and set designer Cole built an entire wall from boards she hand-painted to create a makeup area for the cast and a nice backdrop for the restaurant tables. The kitchen entrance got a mini makeover including a new wooden floor.
Setting the Mood with Lighting
Director of Photography Dale Hildebrand, gaffer Machie Kulpa, and grip Chris Armstrong did an amazing job lighting the set. The lighting and mood went from day to night. Dale and Director Winnifred Jong knew that we loved the gorgeous neons and smoke in Atomic Blonde (2017), and wanted our bar to have the same sexy grunge look. They totally delivered.
What a Transformation
Co-creator Jonathan Neil Alexander reminisces on transforming the space into Sloppy Jones Grill,
“So in lieu of us finding this great bar to shoot at, we discovered that part of its charm lived in the eclectic decor. From the ultimate and classic ‘live laugh love’ sign, to a portrait of a hockey team made with beer caps, it had everything we wanted. Shoot day arrived and as far as I knew we had a couple neon hearts to, ya know, keep us on brand. And we had our extensive but very sexy menu hanging on the wall. When I arrived, I was blown away with all the extra details and changes! Our team of set decorators did this amazing transformation of the “lounge” which before was a bare floor and a karaoke set up. It became this wild spot with these burnt orange and yellow couches, fun shag rugs, this 70s energy was so cool and worked so well, we were all very here for it. It was just another example of how talented and excited our team was to bring together this fun ideas. 70s couches. Who knew?”
Everyone pitched in to help transform the space into the Sloppy Jones Grill. Props master Yasmin created the Italic rather sexual blackboard menu by hand.
Decor and props like sofas, rugs, tables, chairs, vases, and neon hearts were brought in from all over by Nina, Susan, and Cole, and the Creators.
Obviously, everyone did a good job keeping the set looking like an authentic bar. An unsuspecting local was completely duped, Jamie Hart recalls.
“A man came in through the back door just as lunch was being brought in. He tottered past half the crew up to the bar. Everyone thought he was with catering, or some sort of Union inspector, until he tried to order a drink from a crew member who was standing behind the bar. His wide grin exposed a single tooth. Producer Susan Nation quickly confirmed he wasn’t with ACTRA and gently ushered him back outside.”
“You have to give it to us that we looked #authentic!”
One of the biggest challenges was creating the fake-blood/ketchup message on the whiteboard.
It took many tries for Nina and Cole to get the right look and consistency. The restraints were durability, texture, and non-toxic edible ingredients for Linda Kash (playing Deb Jones) to wipe and lick. Nina actually made 2 for multiple takes.
MVP of the day: Pom Pom Chewy
Winnifred Jong is the most powerful woman on Earth. We know this because she somehow convinced a literal Pomeranian puppy in a tuxedo to give a consistent performance—assisted of course by his brilliant trainer Nicole. Pom Pom Chewy sat there super chill, enjoying the pats and attention. Somebody give that dog an Emmy.
“Walking on set and seeing Jeigh with his hand stitched flamingo feathered sweater was iconic. He spent the entire night stitching on those feathers and it added so much to Antoni and just made him even more fierce. Seeing those feathers blowing in the wind while he ran was incredible.”
Fun on Set for Sloppy Jones Grill
Getting Oiled Down to Get Down
Sebastian is just the complete opposite of his character. Damian is a fuckboi with a vacant motel room in his skull and Sebastian is a sweet loyal erudite gentleman. Sebastian had his shirt off for saucy red-lit make-out scenes with first Jonathan Neil Alexander who plays Thomas Collins, then Linda Kash who plays cougar Debborah Jones.
When you take your shirt off on screen, Makeup oils you down, and you have to give it to Sebastian, he’s very chill and confident. It was his first on-screen kiss and he got rubbed down with shiny lotion (by three women in the makeup department that he’d never met before). He was jovial and chatty the whole way through.
Right before The Oiling started one of the MUAs said, “Don’t worry I’m a lesbian,” just completely deadpan. It was hilarious and set an easy-going comfortable mood for everyone involved in make-out scenes for the rest of the day.
The Hair and Make-Up team was headed up by industry veteran Film and TV make-up artist Joan Chell. Joan, who is also a Pro-Makeup 3 Instructor at George Brown College, brought some of her top emerging talent with her to work with the cast including Amanda Bella Strange, Carly Berman, and Christina G. The cast make-up and hair was perfectly applied workplace glam/dive-bar chic. They did an amazing job bringing the characters to life and really making them shine (but not shiny on camera).
Another funny memory from the set was Jamie and Sophie’s “sex scene.” Director Winnie asked them both who would be the one giving and who would be receiving and without a breath, both simultaneously said “Jamie”. Some people just exude Big Top Energy.