PLANET OF THE APES
Costume designer Colleen Atwood created and oversaw the manufacturing of over one thousand costumes used in PLANET OF THE APES. Atwood's team of sculptors, mold-makers, cutters and fitters began work a scant four months prior to start of production.
Like many of Tim Burton's frequent collaborators, Atwood shares a kind of visual shorthand with the director. "I know Tim's work as an artist, so I'm aware of his likes and dislikes," she states. "After working with him on four films, he now can just give me a general impression of what he feels, some loose ideas about shape and color, and I go from there."
Atwood, like the film's other key creative personnel, was mindful of Burton's vision of the ape lifestyle and
movements. "We designed clothes that would be easy for apes to get on and off, especially to accommodate their newly-learned lessons from Ape School. This resulted in asymmetrical designs for many of the ape costumes."
Atwood's designs further evolved to accommodate the actors' personalities. "Tim Roth brought such a wonderful strength to the character of Thade, and we wanted his costume to reflect that," she explains. "So his costume gives his body an almost spider-like, powerful appearance." Atwood also designed Thade's helmet to be longer than the other ape headgear, to set him apart from the battalions of ape soldiers he leads into battle against the humans.
Thade's friend and captain of the ape army, Attar, played by the physically imposing Michael Clarke Duncan. also required some special work from Atwood. "Dressing Michael was like dressing the Chrysler Building," she laughs. "We made his costume very sculptural, almost like an architectural concept. Atwood dressed Attar in black with silver, while most of the other apes wore red.
Dressing the humans presented Atwood with different challenges. "They're subservient to the apes and living in a hostile environment," Atwood explains.
Atwood worked closely with assistant costume designer Jane Clive to create a special fabric that would lend a reptilian feel to the human clothing. "It was sort of a three-dimensional material," she explains. The costume makers painted several layers of different colors on the outfit, basing the patterns for the silk screen design on aerial views of parched land and animal skin.
For Leo's costume, Atwood went in an unexpected direction. "We didn't want Mark Wahlberg in a loincloth," Atwood says. Instead, he wears a distressed version of his military uniform, burned by his fiery and physical introduction to the ape world. His 21st century outfit blends right in with the humans' primitive garb.
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