COSMOS MOVIE PRODUCTION BLOG 21: CHARACTER COSTUMES
“What a costume designer does is a cross between magic and camouflage. We create the illusion of changing the actors into what they are not. “ — Edith Head
Costume Design, as the name suggests, is the creation of costume or clothing for a character in film, tv or theatre. The development of this overall appearance contributes heavily to the believability of the world and its population in a particular story.
Costume styles vary significantly depending on gender, nationality, geography, class, period, economics, religion, season and even character backstory. Historical dramas obviously rely heavily on believable and accurate character costume. Science fiction obviously accesses artistic license to the same effect.
But remaining faithful to the old movie maxim, why tell, when you can show…? here is a collection of insightful vignette videos all about the costume design process and its value to the production, the actors and the audience. Enjoy.
When it comes to COSMOS, we have not gone through Costume Design but a process closer to that of Costume Coordination, where existing or stock clothing is assembled or rented to create the overall appearance of the characters.
However being a true indie film with an extravagant budget at our disposal (!), we worked with our actors and effectively raided their personal wardrobes for clothing that met our story requirements; COSMOS follows three intelligent engineers / space scientists and their clothing should exude that character. These guys aren’t scruffy nerds with doritos down their shirts; they’re smart, intellectually and stylistically, and take pride in their appearance. We fixed on a cool-casual look that’s both comfortable and practical to wear “out in the field”.
The guys took photos of themselves wearing a variety of clothing and then, via email, we started to piece together the individual character costumes. Interestingly, as we’d worked so hard to cast actors with personalities and values similar to our characters, they also turned out to have a similar dress sense to their characters; with each of them offering personal variations on the hard-working and humble style we were looking for.
In an ideal world I guess we’d have had more time and flexibility with our costume process, however we are extremely happy with the results and feel that, although unorthodox, our “wardrobe raid” yielded the results we were looking for.