“Creed 3”: Creating a luxurious but accessible castle for the Creed family
Production designer Jahmin Assa talks to IndieWire about creating a luxury LA mansion while filming in Atlanta.
Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan) begins Creed III as a retired heavyweight boxing champion and his wife Bianca (Tessa Thompson) is a high-powered music producer. Such a high-powered couple would have a home in Los Angeles that reflected their success, but this house also had to be a showcase for accessibility for their deaf daughter Amara (Mila Davis-Kent). This led production designer Jahmin Assa to envision a home for the Creeds that was ultra-modern in style and materials.
“I started talking to people about what you would do if you had all the resources at your disposal to care for a deaf family member, and I learned that anything (being visible) is better than having things that can sneak up on you. Assa told IndieWire. “So a lot of glass, a lot of wider corridors.” We wanted this upstairs openness to show some artists like Theaster Gates their take on the American flag. We actually got a painting from him. There is a painting by Charles White, who is a big, prominent Los Angeles artist.”
These artworks speak of Adonis, but not as clearly as what Assa calls his “man cave.” This space was designed from scratch while the production was looking for a suitable location in Atlanta, and nowhere is Adonis’ sense of self more evident than in its furnishings.
“It was just about who are your heroes? (That’s how we do it) Afro Samurai, all the heavyweight champions, the LA Lakers, Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant on the wall,” Assa said. “I wanted him to always have that imposing figure and (the boxer) behind him. So we did that photo mural of her, where she looks gorgeous and strong, and (she’s) in all her most vulnerable moments. There is a lot going on in this area.”
Meanwhile, Assa looked at “a gazillion” homes in Atlanta, looking for a modern style that Adonis would gravitate towards and that would reflect the Creeds’ taste. But Assa found a location in Atlanta that worked for the rest of the Creed mansion. “We scouted and scouted and scouted and finally found a beautiful house,” she said. “And what really did it for me was that it was on the top glass surface. So it was such an interesting way to incorporate ASL/deaf community sensibilities that (Amara) could always see the door. We wanted you to see it from every angle.
Filming in that particular house in Atlanta also had its own distinct advantages. “The location was near Buckhead in Sandy Springs. It was actually by Cardi B’s house. So we always had wonderful security who were nice. Like, they were just sitting in front of us when we were getting ready and everything,” Assa said.
Courtesy of Jahmin Assa
But there were certain things about Los Angeles that neither Assa nor director Michael B. Jordan wanted to fake. Thus, a location high up in the Hollywood Hills was used for rooftop or exterior sequences, allowing the city of Los Angeles to serve as the backdrop for Adonis’ life. “We came out to Los Angeles and shot that one brilliant scene with him and his daughter by the pool. I wanted them to be on top of the world, looking down on all of Los Angeles,” Assa said. “I was very interested in the idea of him being a heavyweight champion and them being in this fishing bowl. As the whole story unfolds, he is constantly being watched.”
His sense of inquiry proves to be enough to make Adonis end his retreat and return to the ring. But it’s telling that Adonis doesn’t find the feeling of being watched oppressive; it’s part of what makes him excel as a boxer. But it’s also telling that various forms of control are built into the walls of his family’s home. “The task is simple: to give voice to these characters,” said Assa.
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