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July 10, 2024

Recreating 2014 Hong Kong: The Making of Expats

Set against the complex tapestry of Hong Kong residents, Expats depicts a multifaceted group of women after a single encounter sets off a chain of life-altering events that leaves everyone navigating the intricate balance between blame and accountability.

US - In the world of Amazon Prime Video’s drama series Expats, three US expat women navigate life in Hong Kong circa 2014. But what went into recreating the vibrant cityscape of that era?

Authenticity Matters

Director Lulu Wang and production designer Yong Ok Lee embarked on a meticulous journey to recreate 2014 Hong Kong. Their goal was to capture the essence of the city, from its British colonial history to its vibrant Cantonese culture. Lee scouted locations in Hong Kong, immersing herself in the unique details that would breathe life into the show.

Unexpected Challenges

Initially, the plan was to film location shots in Hong Kong and then move to a studio in Malaysia for interior scenes. However, pandemic-related restrictions disrupted these plans. Lee and her team adapted, relocating to Los Angeles. The challenge? Recreate almost every Hong Kong location in LA.

Attention to Detail

Lee’s dedication extended to the smallest details. She imported authentic door hinges from Hong Kong to ensure accuracy in the Los Angeles apartment sets. After all, hinges in Hong Kong differ from those in the US—a subtle touch that adds authenticity.

The Show Must Go On

Despite the hurdles, Expats successfully captures the spirit of 2014 Hong Kong. From the bustling night market to luxury penthouses, the city becomes a character in its own right. So next time you watch the series, appreciate the craftsmanship that transported us back in time.

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