How the Gorgeous Villa and Over-the-Top Decor in ‘Glass Onion’ Came to Be

A lot of piecing together went into the extravagant oasis you see on screen. See some behind-the-scenes details, plus the (sadly fictional) Zillow listing.

Glass Onion commune


Calling disruptors and film-location lovers alike: Whether you saw the much-anticipated Knives Out sequel on the big screen or living room TV, you were likely stunned by the glimpses of the lavish Greek isle belonging to fictional billionaire Miles Bron. Introduced to viewers with a dock made of glass (that’s “probably a Banksy?”), you’re transported to a world of robot butlers, world-famous artwork, and a crystal allium overlooking it all. And while the film really does appear to take place on a private island in the Aegean Sea, it was actually set on a luxury resort in Greece called the Villa 20 at the Amanzoe

Director-writer Rian Johnson and his crew brought Miles’s retreat to life through sketches, 3D models, props and decor, and curated pieces from a Czech Republic glass art factory. However, the Villa 20 does actually provide some of the memorable features you see on the big screen: the large-scale sculptures, infinity pool, grand exterior stairway, and lavish gardens, to name a few.

“The unrealistic wish was to find an island estate filling the aesthetic requirements, the billionaire owner(s) of which would enthusiastically welcome the crew to shoot there,” Rick Heinrichs, production designer for Glass Onion, wrote in ADG. “We were lucky enough to find a villa owned by a game couple in the hills of the Peloponnesian peninsula that was part of a hotel there, but separate enough to have its own singular personality.”

Technology was key in making the Glass Onion getaway come together—the crew took real-world elements, like surrounding cliffs and aerial shots of other islands, and used computer generation to create the island you see in the film, visual effects producer Tim Keene described in a video posted to Tudum.

“The biggest challenge for us is creating Miles’s island and making it seem seamless,” he says in Tudum’s video. “It’s got to be a place people find and want to go on holiday, this villa and the island. It’s not fantastical effects, it just has to be fantastically real.” 

To design the atrium where the chaotic cocktail hour, Miles’s “murder,” and that explosion occur, Heinrichs and the crew kept with the steel and glass aesthetic and put Miles’s over-the-top art collection front and center. All together, it’s a physical accumulation of his character’s egotistical, self-indulgent attitude. 

Glass onion atrium with artwork, sculptures, red couch and table


“Tapping into Miles’s exploitative penchant for appropriation, I placed an awkwardly restored fragment of ancient Greek architecture with columns, fresco and tile mosaic inside the Atrium that Miles could use for his dining area, much as one might see a ruin reconstructed at the museum,” Heinrichs wrote in ADG. “The Art Department spent time carefully recreating physical paintings of important artworks we cleared, as well as working with concept artist James Carson to create original paintings ‘in the style of.’”

Basing the story in Greece was a strategic choice for the Knives Out franchise, director Rian Johnson said in another Tudum video. If the movies are to continue, he wanted to establish that they’re all going to feel very different from one another. Also, he wrote the story in the middle of lockdown in 2020 and simply wanted to be on a Greek island. Who can’t relate to that?

Glass Onion island at sunset


While the commune isn’t a real place you can stay in (or buy, if you’re a billionaire), you can check it out on Zillow, where the fictional property is valued at $450 million—but currently off market. The listing description gives some delightfully clever nods to the film, with highlights including one rooftop parking space, a “bespoke hourly time keeper,” and agent Derol Zablinkski, who has a 1-star rating on the app. It’s fine, he’s just going through some things.

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