Winnebago is a company that’s had such success in producing and selling caravans that the brand name has become a metonym for any motorised or towed caravan. These can include trailers like the Star Waggon, marketed specifically for actors, but they, along with other types of trailers and campers, make up part of the vast automotive population of a set, including double decker catering buses, and ‘honeywagons'.
Some are even used as mobile production facilities, like Francis Ford Coppola’s Airstream trailer, called ‘the Silverfish,’ which he’s used for every film he’s made since 1982’s 'One From the Heart'.
Francis Ford Coppola (left) with producer Fred Fuchs, outside of Coppola’s personal editing and production suite on wheels, the Airstream trailer ‘Silverfish.’
Winnebagos have several advantages for not just film stars, but everybody on set. These can range from resting areas out of the heat, cold or, wind; dining facilities; editing suites; storage; or makeup and costume facilities. They also have the distinct advantage of being easily moved, whether under their own power or with the help of a truck, making them more adaptable and flexible than hotel rooms or on-lot accommodation.
A row of Star Waggons ready to rent. Star Waggons was founded by actor Lyle Waggoner when he bought a mobile home in 1979 to rent to the producers of the television show Wonder Woman. This brand in particular has since come to be an iconic presence on film sets.
Will Smith's double decker monster Winnebago irritated New Yorkers in 2012
For productions that find themselves establishing a set far away from home, these are essential items for everyone involved in production, and senior production staff try to account for the needs of their talent and support in procuring mobile shelter. They can be featured in film contracts, as well, as specific requests called ‘riders.’ This has resulted in some occasionally eyebrow-lifting incidents. George Clooney, while filming Gravity (2013), demanded that a custom-built beach hut, hot tub, garden, and basketball court be built next to his trailer at Shepperton Studios.
Will Smith irritated New York residents while on the set of Men in Black III (2012) when he demanded on-street parking for his two-storey, $2.5 million private trailer; locals complained that the enormous truck, along with the generators required for the trailer, produced enormous amounts of exhaust and noise.