Here’s How Much Time and Money Went Into that Sharp Objects Dollhouse

[Be warned: Spoilers for the ending of Sharp Objects are to follow. Do not read if you still plan to watch the August 26 finale.]

Twitter lost its collective mind on Sunday over the series finale of the HBO eight-episode adaptation of Sharp Objects, Gillian Flynn’s spooky 2006 novel. For eight episodes, we watched reporter Camille Preaker (Amy Adams) try to track down clues to reveal the identity of a killer while she also struggled to reckon with her own trauma.

The penultimate episode had led viewers to believe that Adora (Patricia Clarkson), the matriarch of the family and monied patroness of Wind Gap, Missouri, was the one who killed two girls in town, removing their teeth. Still, in the final moments, it was revealed that it was actually Amma, Adora’s youngest daughter (played by Eliza Scanlen).

Because I am your irritating internet friend who read the book last month just under the wire, I knew what was coming and gleefully anticipated your freakouts. But, that said, I appreciate the show’s commitment to an abrupt ending—with Camille stumbling upon some loose teeth in one of the rooms of Amma’s tell-tale dollhouse, just as Amma walks in. Throughout, the show did a good job foreshadowing that reveal, what with all the close-up shots of Amy Adams lying on the ivory floor of the actual house, and all of Adora’s discussion about how you can’t import ivory anymore because it’s super cruel to animals.

Vulture spoke with set designers of Sharp Objects recently about that dollhouse, and how important it was to get it right. Production designer John Paino noted that designing a set is challenging enough, but orchestrating the creation of a mini version of it at the same time is even harder.

“We went to people who make dollhouses outside the industry, and usually it takes two to three years to build something like that,” he told Vulture. “We had two-and-a-half to three months.”

They handmade, weathered, and painted 1,000 tiny shingles for the roof. They handbuilt all the furniture to scale. They matched fabrics and wallpapers, ultimately building the dollhouse at three-quarter-inch scale, measuring five feet wide by three feet tall. In the end, with production costs and labor, the house’s cost ended up in six figures.

Even though Sharp Objects swept everyone’s attention this summer, there’s not going to be a second season. If you want more, go read the book (which is a quick read) and check out the rest of Flynn’s novels. She’s working on a new one, but it’s not coming out until 2021.



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