Costumes, Hair and Makeup
"I saw something in his ice-blue eyes, something beneath all the years
and the illness. Something familiar." - Robert Frobisher, 1936
In addition to outfitting individual characters for their time and station,
Kym Barrett and Pierre-Yves Gayraud sought to introduce subtle themes of color,
design that could merge and unite them through their respective timeframes.
"Matrix" alumnus, says, "We chose certain green tones, for example, that appear
characters. A triangular 1970s design we found on a shirt from that period we
to become the wallpaper in Sonmi's safe house. We tried to slip motifs like this
the parts of the story to help develop a subconscious flow of imagery."
Gayraud, marking his third collaboration with Tykwer, bought ready-made garments
Berlin shops for the Cavendish segments, but the bulk of the wardrobe for the
earlier times were
handmade to his specifications, often with authentic vintage fabrics unearthed
at Paris flea
markets. For Ayrs' dressing gown, he used a 1970s fabric with geometric designs
the early 20th century's Futurism movement, which he then cut and dyed. Rufus
waistcoat was made of a fabric from the 1830s, and pays homage to the Adam Ewing
"We imagined, for example, that Luisa Rey might have bought a robe from the
from an antique market," he says. "The necklace Halle Berry wears as Luisa came
from one she
wore as Jocasta in 1936 and reappears again when she's a party guest in the
Likewise, jewelry-maker Lorenzo Mancianti created the buttons of Ewing's
that catch Dr. Goose's acquisitive eye, and later resurface as beads around
Zachry's neck. The
buttons had not only to look like an amazing stone, but resemble the Earth seen
from space, and
capture a sense of timelessness.
Barrett adopted a minimalist approach to Sonmi's wardrobe, explaining, "Hers is
political and emotional journey and Sonmi becomes a mythical icon in Zachry's
future. To make
her real and then transform her into someone who means so much to others, we
present her almost naked. We let her face be the focus."
In the rugged landscape of Zachry's world, Barrett's view was practical. "Living
forest, the characters should blend into the greenery for their own survival. I
came up with the
idea that they would be a people who knitted and everything would be hand-spun
Living with the daily threat of the Kona, they need to be mobile, and a spinning
wheel is easy to
Collaborating with Barrett and the Wachowskis on the Ewing, Sonmi and Zachry
sequences was hair and makeup designer Jeremy Woodhead. Working with Gayraud and
Tykwer on the Frobisher, Luisa Rey and Cavendish sequences was his counterpart,
Parker. Each led their teams in helping alter the ages, and sometimes the
genders and ethnicities
of the ensemble cast as they traversed place and time. Their mandate was to
change the actors'
appearances without rendering them unrecognizable. Even in the most extreme
Woodhead recalls, "The trick was in finding that balance, to disguise without
Some of the metamorphoses required prosthetics, at which they are both expert,
wherever possible, they favored traditional makeup, wigs and hair pieces.
Working on the first and the last portions of the timeline, Woodhead took Tom
from one extreme to the other. "We wanted Tom to shine through in his final role
With his Dr. Goose character in 1849, I had more leeway to create a 'character.'
I gave him a
bald cap, thinning ginger hair, sideburns, a false nose and great big teeth.
He's still recognizable,
but a million miles away from the kind, strong, silent Zachry."
Parker prepared Hanks for his turn as tough-guy Dermot Hoggins, author of
Sandwich, saying, "We created a nose that had been massively broken and gave him
head, scars and tattoos." Later, as an avaricious hotel manager in 1936, the
actor acquired a
mustache, a thickened neck and a bulbous alcohol-soaked nose.
Among Woodhead's achievements was transforming Hugh Grant into a fearsome
cannibal in white mud wash, a process that, he relates, "took two hours, and
included bald caps, a
Mohawk, tattoos, body paints and teeth. It's unlike anything Hugh has ever done
Additionally, Woodhead prepared Jim Sturgess as Chang in Sonmi's saga and
transitioned Halle Berry from a Maori to an aged Asian male, to the naturally
Meronym. He also helped Susan Sarandon become the male Suleiman, gave Doona
features a western look for her portrayal of Tilda, and helped James D'Arcy and
assume their Asian roles.
t fell to Parker to turn Hugo Weaving into Nurse Noakes. "Making up a man as a
woman-and vice versa-is always tricky," he says. "Male bone structure is
female, so it takes time to complete. The whole shape of the skull is different.
You have to alter
the forehead and the quality of the skin. There are a lot of subtleties that you
about, but, if they aren't addressed, will make it obvious that this is a man in
drag, and that's not
what we wanted."
Parker also turned Jim Sturgess into a bearded Scotsman, Ben Whishaw into the
Georgette Cavendish, Doona Bae into a Hispanic woman working in a factory, and
into a male hotel clerk. He helped Halle Berry through incarnations as an Indian
party guest, the
half-Puerto Rican journalist Luisa Rey, and the European Jocasta, wife of the
"This film was an apex for hair and makeup design, a dream job for someone in
of work," says Woodhead. "It's not going to get any better than this."
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