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Making of the One-Take Las Vegas Scene in Season Three

Making of the One-Take Las Vegas Scene in Season Three

Season three of Max’s Hacks begins with a suspended camera pan above the Las Vegas Strip that guides viewers inside Caesars Palace, where it follows a familiar figure through the casino for a gag of a reveal. Captured in one take, the shot, which the show’s director of photography Adam Bricker calls “kind of badass,” is a nod to the pilot episode of the comedy, which followed Jean Smart’s Deborah Vance from her curtain call through the backstage and bowels of the casino and into her dressing room.

“Our showrunners really wanted to reintroduce the viewer to this world,” Bricker says, noting the two-year gap since season two debuted in 2022.

Getting the pacing right for the scene, which was set to the Electric Light Orchestra track “Evil Woman,” was a choreographic feat. “We flew an aerial drone down the strip, then as it was approaching the casino door, another drone operator, who was hiding behind a car, ducks out, runs and catches it in a fluid motion. Then he carries it through the casino floor and around the corner where we reveal the stage,” explains Bricker.

The crew began doing dozens of takes around 1 a.m. to get the last shot of the season, coordinating hundreds of background performers and building the stage for what turned out to be a Deborah Vance slot machine reveal.

“We finally got a take that everyone loved around 5 a.m., essentially just beating sunrise,” says Bricker. “It was really fun to be able to wrap up a year-plus of shooting to celebrate with this last epic shot.”

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This story first appeared in a June standalone issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.

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