From the sets to the wardrobe, no detail was too small
From the sets to the wardrobe, no detail was too small. The filmmakers
even commissioned a sculptor to create a lifesize figure
wearing the space suit created by costume designer Magali Guidasci.
Guidasci, along with costume supervisor Sue Moore and their team,
designed and fabricated the intricate space suits in a whirlwind.
With only 10 weeks to prepare, the wardrobe department hurried
to assemble three suits for the first several days of filming
in South Dakota.
'We really rushed to get it done," says Moore. "There
was a lot of drama involved with the fabric which was critical
to the look of the suit. We found that there wasn't enough to
make all the suits we needed and after some great detective work
by our staff, we found a company in Georgia that was not only
willing to make the 300yardlong fabric, but was also
willing to clear their calendar of all other jobs to get it done.
"We wanted to use a rayon/nylon blend, but they didn't have
rayon," she explains. "After searching, we found another
company in North Carolina that put some on a truck for Georgia
right away. But when we began shooting in South Dakota, we found
that the fabric we originally envisioned was unstable and wouldn't
hold up. By the time we got back to L.A., it was a different story
because we worked out many of the kinks and had a second batch
of teeterdesigned costumes ready to go.
Creating the helmets was equally difficult. Director Bay wanted
helmets that were not round and had an elongated faceplate so
that the camera could capture an actor's entire face even in profile.
Global Effects and Neo Tech, the two companies that designed the
helmets, also found solutions in keeping the faceplates clear
from fogging when the actors would exert themselves and breathe
The wardrobe became so involved that Bay brought in a second designer,
Michael Kaplan, to facilitate the process. The production utilized
30 suits for actors, doubles and stuntmen. Initially it took Kaplan
and his crew about one hour to dress each actor, but by the time
the show wrapped, the process only lasted about 20 minutes. Each
suit weighed between 50 and 60 pounds with its large backpack
of batteries required to illuminate the various lights and other
bells and whistles attached to the chest plate. Once an actor
put on his belt, boots, gloves and helmet, the ensemble became
even more ungainly and uncomfortable. Many of the actors used
their time on the set in the suit in place of hours working out
in the gym! The complaints and jokes became so pervasive that
Michael Bay agreed to end the griping by coming to work wearing
one of the suits.
"Bruce told me he wasn't coming out of his trailer after
lunch until I put on a suit," Bay remembers. "So I put
one on and tried to maintain that it was light as a feather and
started bouncing around. I did 35 push ups and started running
around. It was so hot, it just tweaks your body. But I told Bruce
it felt great," he laughs. "After two hours I started
to get hot flashes and my directing was really taking a slide,
so l felt their pain."
The full complement of cast and crew returned to NASA to complete
scenes that needed the realistic backgrounds necessary for the
scope of the film. Location shooting began in Texas at Johnson
Space Center in late October where they spent four days shooting
sequences at the Neutral Buoyancy Lab and Ellington Air Field.
During their day at Ellington, the company received an impromptu
visit from former President George Bush that overwhelmed even
the most buttoned
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