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CLOUD ATLAS

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, costume designers Kym Barrett and Pierre-Yves Gayraud sought to introduce subtle themes of color, pattern and design that could merge and unite them through their respective timeframes. Barrett, another "Matrix" alumnus, says, "We chose certain green tones, for example, that appear on several characters. A triangular 1970s design we found on a shirt from that period we subsequently rearranged to become the wallpaper in Sonmi's safe house. We tried to slip motifs like this into all the parts of the story to help develop a subconscious flow of imagery."

Gayraud, marking his third collaboration with Tykwer, bought ready-made garments in 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 reminiscent of the early 20th century's Futurism movement, which he then cut and dyed. Rufus Sixsmith's rich waistcoat was made of a fabric from the 1830s, and pays homage to the Adam Ewing period. "We imagined, for example, that Luisa Rey might have bought a robe from the 1930s 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 Cavendish piece."

Likewise, jewelry-maker Lorenzo Mancianti created the buttons of Ewing's waistcoat 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 a 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 decided to 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 in a 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 or macramé. Living with the daily threat of the Kona, they need to be mobile, and a spinning wheel is easy to pack."

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, Daniel 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 makeup, Woodhead recalls, "The trick was in finding that balance, to disguise without obliterating their natural features."

Some of the metamorphoses required prosthetics, at which they are both expert, but, wherever possible, they favored traditional makeup, wigs and hair pieces.

Working on the first and the last portions of the timeline, Woodhead took Tom Hanks from one extreme to the other. "We wanted Tom to shine through in his final role as Zachry. 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 Knuckle Sandwich, saying, "We created a nose that had been massively broken and gave him a shaved 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 before."

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 luminous Meronym. He also helped Susan Sarandon become the male Suleiman, gave Doona Bae's features a western look for her portrayal of Tilda, and helped James D'Arcy and Hugh Grant assume their Asian roles. I

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 different from 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 wouldn't think 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 demure Georgette Cavendish, Doona Bae into a Hispanic woman working in a factory, and Xun Zhou 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 composer Ayrs. "This film was an apex for hair and makeup design, a dream job for someone in our line of work," says Woodhead. "It's not going to get any better than this."

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