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102 DALMATIANS

The Sets

"102 Dalmatians" also sees the welcome return of the creative genius of production designer Assheton Gorton.

The sequel provided Gorton with many new challenges, creating worlds not only for Cruella, but also for all the characters and most of all, creating worlds that were safe for puppies.

"The whole narrative is more complex than in ‘101 Dalmatians,'" Gorton says. "The major problem is the puppies. In the previous film we did have puppies, but bigger dogs achieved most of the action. When you're dealing with something so small, you have to pay incredible attention to detail to ensure they come to no harm and that the set looks good from every angle, particularly a puppy's point of view."

Luckily for Gorton, not all sets had to meet the rigorous requirements of the puppy world. The dog shelter set, which was filmed on location in London, was one of them.

"Obviously, the set was primarily to be viewed as a dog shelter, but rather than just rows of oppressive cages, we made it more interesting by deciding that we would make a dog village out of scrap metal. It's not directly referred to in the script, but the implication is that the character of Kevin is also a sculptor as well as a dog fanatic. It's a fantasy world," Gorton explains.

Another set that Gorton had fun with was undoubtedly Le Pelt's fashion show. The script made it clear that because of the revulsion felt by the public to fur, Le Pelt and his show had been forced underground to the darkest of locations.

"We found an old tram depot in Bishopsgate in London," says Gorton. "It was dirty and dank and made a terrific backdrop for Le Pelt's show."

But, perhaps the two most awesome and imaginative sets were those actually built at Shepperton Studios, namely Cruella's mansion and the bakery.

The mansion is not just a set, it's a work of art. The set is filled with ancestral references to the De Vil family including a range of beautifully painted family portraits.

"The script refers to ancestral portraits so I started thinking and decided that the mansion has been in the family for some time and I therefore started to do some research," explains Gorton. "I had always thought that it was strange the way that Cruella sacrifices her career and whole life for a coat made of fur. So, my own motivation was that she represents a long line of dubious magic and I designed a very shadowy set full of arches and galleries. I filled the house with ancient stones with real inscriptions."

Gorton was tireless in his research and attention to detail in understanding this mystical family. He charted every stage of Cruella's family with eight portraits depicting the De Vils through the ages. As he explains, "The first portrait dates back to the fifteenth century and guards the door to the secret room. All the portraits are of women as this is a very matriarchal family and of course, all have black and white hair. If you look at the cave paintings inside the secret room, even those have black and white hair!"

Every element of Cruella's mansion has subtle references to what Gorton sees as a magical obsession with supernatural powers, including a three headed dog as the centerpiece on the dinner table. He continues, "Wherever I could, I quoted th

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