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SYRIANA

Costume Design
Authenticity was just as vital when it came to costuming the actors, and the filmmakers took great care in ensuring that the many cultures represented in Syriana were accurately depicted throughout the film. That considerable responsibility fell to costume designer Louise Frogley, whose previous films include Traffic, Spy Game and the acclaimed television movie Live From Baghdad. Frogley was charged with maintaining authenticity while creating an enormous, international array of wardrobe changes that crossed cultural and class lines.

"We made great effort to be as ethnically correct with our costumes as possible, because each state, each country is so incredibly different,” explains Frogley. "For example, in the madrassa scenes, the boys are mostly Pakistani. So we made contact with a man in Pakistan and bought some sportswear from his factory. He also went into the village and bought lots of second hand clothes, which he then shipped to us, so it was all authentic.

At times, it was important not to include details that would call out a particular segment of society. "We also created a number of generic looks,” explains Frogley, "either because we didn't want to offend a particular group – for example, we might not have wanted all the terrorists to look Saudi, so we dressed them as generic Arabs – or because we wanted to avoid getting too specific with the region being represented – for instance, if you're in a specific part of Pakistan, you might see a lot of jeweled hats.”

Wardrobe was reflective not only of region, but specific to the characters' personalities and histories. For instance, Prince Nasir and his brother Meshal were educated in Europe, and so while their father wears traditional Arab clothing, his sons dress in a distinctly western style. Nasir's wife wears a headscarf and covers her arms and legs, but did not wear a traditional burka, in a nod to her and her husband's progressive views in regards to women.

George Clooney as Bob Barnes was dressed down in cheaper suits, while industrious lawyer Bennett Holiday displays a distinctly sharper style. "We thought Bennett's character would be a very snappy dresser,” says Frogley. "He's the type of person who would probably line up his pencils in a row, so we extended that attitude to his style. And it worked.”

Frogley's department created over 2,000 costumes for characters whose origins ranged from corporate America to the slums of the Gulf States.

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