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The Clothing Alchemist
Filmmakers called on Michael Kaplan to create the centuries-spanning wardrobe for "The Sorcerer's Apprentice.” The pro, whose credits include "Armageddon,” "Pearl Harbor” and "Flashdance” was up for the challenge.

"The characters in ‘The Sorcerer's Apprentice' were so much fun and so diversified,” says Kaplan. "There were contemporary clothes, medieval, Chinese armor—I wanted each character to have their own color palette and for each one to be recognized immediately not only from their faces, but from what they're wearing.

"Balthazar Blake is mysterious and timeless,” continues Kaplan, "kind of a dark figure even though he's a good guy. I saw him as a shadowy figure, always in the same clothes throughout the movie—his uniform. I thought about sorcerers and their long robes and imagined that he should have a long leather coat instead, with a leather vest beneath. I wanted it to have a period feeling but not any specific period, with elements he had picked up through the ages, some never really seen: a necklace with amulets from different time periods, keys he could have used in the last century, small lockets with old hand-painted pictures of loved ones he might have left behind, stones which bring luck of protection, a shark's tooth in a little pouch, a sun pin he wears on his shoulder, a bracelet with cobalt stones.”

Kaplan worked with the actor to perfect the look. "Nicolas Cage was very specific about some of the things he wanted as part of that costume. Balthazar's sorcerer ring, which might date back to the time of Merlin, is a green diamond, the rarest of all diamonds, which Nic feels is very empowering. Balthazar wears rings on every finger, and each one was made for Nic, because we needed so many multiples. Most of them look ancient and as if they're from different parts of the world.

"But I didn't want Balthazar to be a character who, when he walks down the street in New York, gets stared at like he was from another planet,” continues Kaplan. "He does look a bit eccentric, but by New York standards, it's within the realm of acceptability.”

Everyone on set knew when Nicolas Cage—or at least his long coat—was approaching, from the incredibly earthy smell of the leather. Ten copies of the coat were handcrafted. "Most of the costumes were custom-made,” says Kaplan, "including the hats. Balthazar's hat was based on a fedora, but we adjusted the height to make it into a quasi-peaked sorcerer's hat.” Balthazar's hat is emblazoned with crescent-moon and star pins, an obvious tip of the brim to Sorcerer Mickey's famous headwear.

Dave Stutler's look was a little less eccentric. "I wanted Dave to seem a brilliant but scatterbrained NYU student who was more interested in science than clothes,” says Kaplan. "So his clothes don't necessary always match. Dave has his little uniform of his hoodie, plaid shirt, blue jeans and sneakers, just stuff that he throws on every day. I wanted it to be cinematic, but not to look like he'd put a lot of time or care into it.”

Kaplan dressed Teresa Palmer's Becky with effortless elegance in a student-like combination of sweaters, parkas, pants, scarves, blouses, skirts and boots. Alfred Molina's Maxim Horvath, however, harkens back to the '20s, the era in which he was imprisoned in the Grimhold; he wears the bowler hat and spats to prove it.

"Horvath is very dapper, very well dressed, always in beautiful suits and coats,” says Kaplan. "I tried to find fabrics that had metallic threads in them. It just added a level of mystique and I thought, perhaps, that his alchemy would work better if there was a fabric which was a conductor of electricity. He has an amazing fur-fringed coat with this material. Horvath wears a different homburg in each one of his scenes.”

Toby Kebbell's character—complete with three-inch boot heels— drew much enthusias


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