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THE ASTRONAUT FARMER

Space Suits And Other Wardrobe Essentials
When Charles Farmer isn't in standard work clothes, tending to his ranch or, more likely, hammering or welding the finishing touches to the rocket in his barn, he occasionally dons his old space suit for inspiration or to wow the kids on Career Day at his daughter's school. 

But it's not just any old space suit, as award-winning costume designer Danny Glicker ("Transamerica”) explains. "It's a detailed replica of the 1960s-era suit used for the Mercury missions. 

"It's important to the story that Farmer's suit evokes a more innocent and exciting time in American history when space travel played significantly in the public's imagination,” he says. "All its elements—the silver material, the globe helmet, the charmingly low-tech items like laces on the gloves—recall the romance of space travel.” 

Although mercifully lighter than an authentic space suit, the garment's challenge was in its "unconventional access,” notes the designer. "A full-body sideways zipper forces the wearer to contort into highly unusual poses in order to get the thing on and off. It was a time-consuming process at first, but, by the end of the shoot, Billy Bob was a pro and could make the change in seconds flat.”

Outside his NASA-issue suit, Farmer's look is down-to-earth, consisting of the jeans, boots and jackets that are the staples of any rancher's wardrobe and through which Glicker sought to convey both the warmth of his character and the sincerity of his work ethic. Citizens of the fictional Texas town where Farmer lives are similarly outfitted to be "familiar and real, yet timeless, incorporating elements of classic Norman Rockwell Americana,” says Glicker, who avoided modern fabrics such as polar fleece. 

This contrasts sharply with the clothing worn by the various government officials who descend on the town to restrict and interfere with Farmer's plans, a stylistic differential most striking in the big confrontation scene that pits the amateur astronaut and his legal counsel against a formidable collection of suited bureaucrats determined to shut him down. 

But being shut down was never an option for Farmer. 

Michael Polish reflects, "This story is about the fulfillment of dreams against all odds. I think that is something everyone might want to do, but not everyone is willing or able. Building a rocket in your barn might be a stretch but that's the definition of dreaming.”

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