‘Loot’ Production Designer Breaks Down Depicting an ‘Imbalance of Wealth’ and Series’ Status Symbols

When “Loot” production designer Jennifer Dehghan signed onto the production, she knew it would “snag people with the funny and the pretty,” but she hoped that the series’ “larger conversation [would keep] going on.” Dehghan noted for Variety how “‘Loot’ delves into the late capitalist world, the housing crisis, rising poverty and the imbalance of wealth.”

The AppleTV+ half-hour comedy follows billionaire Molly Novak (Maya Rudolph), after her husband John (Adam Scott), leaves her for his secretary and the series picks up as soon as Molly reroutes her life. With a settlement of $87 billion and newfound free time, Molly heads to the foundation she created and soon she settles herself with the staff, Sofia (Michaela Jaé Rodriguez), Howard (Ron Funches), Arthur (Nat Faxton) and her secretary Nicholas (Joel Kim Booster).

Showcasing the exorbitant wealth meant Dehghan had to explore Los Angeles’ multi-million dollar mansion marketplace and create several sets on sound stages to perfect the depiction of the billionaire divorcee. Finding the Novak’s home led Dehghan to house hunt exclusively where the 1% shop, and eventually discover and secure the largest home in the U.S., known as “The One,” as the Novak’s residence. 

Ahead of filming, the “Loot” team toured several homes, but the Bel Air home was one of the first homes Dehghan viewed, and while she wasn’t opposed to continuing location scouting, Dehghan knew it was always “the one.” Although the “Loot” centerpiece, the series only filmed at the expansive 3.8-acre estate for six days. Leading the team to build sets for Molly’s dressing room and living room, as well as her private plane, the plane’s runway, the foundation’s office, the vineyard outdoor living space and Molly’s San Bernardino family home.  

“Everywhere we went after that. It was like ‘It’s okay, it’s all right’ — and it’s a $48 million dollar home. It tainted the waters because you couldn’t unlearn that house.”

Dehghan envisioned the Novaks would reside in a home that resembled famed Los Angeles architect Paul MacLean’s work. But then, the “Loot” team struck gold, once they realized “The One” was designed by MacLean. “He’s the architect for the 1% in Los Angeles.” Dehghan continued, “We talked about how we liked Paul MacLean’s style. So maybe we pick a few Paul Maclean homes scattered around Los Angeles and film [each] and combine them into one. That was on the table for a while.”

Dehghan added, “It had never been occupied, which was also perfect because we felt there should be no signs of life. It should truly be a void and she’s left in this vacuum trying to figure out how to fill it, and become whole again after the split.”

With the endless supply of rooms, pools and kitchens, Dehghan disclosed Molly and John’s yacht from the opening scene, was actually “The One’s” underground level. 

“That was an underground pool. There were five pools on this property including a moat. We felt we could really fake it. It has lower ceilings, it’s squat and flat, so we put blue screens outside of the windows,” revealed Dehghan. “The yacht’s interiors were all at ‘The One,’ and we faked all of that in the underground levels.”

While the yacht was filmed on location, Molly’s additional status symbols were built by the team, including that private plane, which Dehghan said is “technically a slight variation on a 737,” and its private runway.

Season 1 of “Loot” is now available to stream on AppleTV+.

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