THE ODD LIFE OF TIMOTHY GREEN
Costume designer Susie DeSanto had done three other
movies with Jennifer Garner when she was asked by
Peter Hedges to lend her design talents to "The Odd Life
of Timothy Green." Says DeSanto, "What initially attracted
me to the project was the concept of it being a classic fable
with emotion about people and families, and their journey
and transformations. I was looking forward to creating a
new closet for Jennifer as Cindy Green and the large cast of
characters in the film."
At the beginning of the story, Cindy Green receives the bad news about not
being able to have a child.
started Cindy off with darker clothes, more buttoned up as she is in a pretty
depressed place," says
dressed her in grays and browns. Then as she becomes a mother and experiences
parenthood with Timothy,
begins to blossom and her clothing reflects that, using brighter colors."
As Cindy Green flourishes in motherhood, DeSanto and her team worked a lot
with botanical motifs, and
and plaids, moving into flowery fabrics to express Cindy's joy of parenting.
When creating a look for Dianne Wiest as Bernice Crudstaff, DeSanto turned to
the influences of vintage
suits and the styles of the eccentric and well-dressed philanthropist Brooke
Astor. "Bernice Crudstaff's
although beautiful, don't go together tastefully or artfully. This may be
because her eyesight is so bad
can't see what she is putting together. Her thick, round glasses are the icing
on the cake to create the
As for Timothy's best friend Joni Jerome, DeSanto created an earthy and
ethereal look to her wardrobe.
the type of girl that goes out on a whim to collect rocks and bird nests. There
is vibrancy to her
pieces that stand
out from the other girls her age," says DeSanto.
Says Peter Hedges, "I wanted Joni to look pretty, but not
to be a fashion plate. And Susie has some of Joni's clothes
repeat, which feels so real."
For Timothy Green's wardrobe, DeSanto wanted Timothy to
stand out from the other children, but she also didn't want
him to look nerdy. Says DeSanto, "Timothy is the emotional
center of the film and you need the audience to fall in love
with him. He's got to be an odd little boy, but he couldn't
look like a freak. So I chose classics pieces for him, like a red hooded
sweatshirt. I don't want the costumes in the movie
to date the film. My wish is that if you watch the film ten years from now, you
would have no idea it
For some of the larger crowd scenes, like the Town Hall sequence, it was
important to DeSanto to follow
Hedges' lead that the people of Stanleyville should look and feel like real
people, so audiences could
them. DeSanto created a timeless feel to the tone of the scene so that the town
meeting could have taken
in the forties, fifties or present day. Says DeSanto, "The clothes for the
Stanleyville patrons came
from all over.
We shopped at The Salvation Army and other consignment shops as this
community is going through some
times and the clothing needed to mirror that."
Says DeSanto, "When you go to the mall, you get clothes for the season and
the latest trends. The truth
people have things in their closet from five to twenty years ago. So would many
of the characters in
DeSanto did a lot of research to create authentic uniforms for the Stanleyville
union meetings to old photographs of the workers from the Hershey factory in
chocolate brown, long-sleeve uniforms. "After all, Stanleyville is a
working-class town. Like Hershey,
everything revolves around the factory workers and their families."
The soccer sequences were large scenes with the soccer team, The Stanleyville
Erasers, and also the
in frame. DeSanto chose blue uniforms for the soccer team, and they are the only
blue costumes that are
in the movie. "We wanted this moment to feel special, so we
used a color you haven't seen before in the film."
As for the Best family wardrobe world, DeSanto prepared
costumes peppered with Brooks Brothers, Ralph Lauren and
Tory Burch. Everything is color-coordinated and pressed.
Says DeSanto, "Brenda Best's life is like a train that runs on
time. She's got her three kids and her husband all dressed
perfectly. She is a bit of a control freak."
Like production designer Wynn Thomas, DeSanto too
found the paintings of Edward Hopper a good reference
when creating her color palette for the film. "It was such
a coincidence that Wynn, cinematographer John Toll and I
were all looking at the same reference material, even before
we had our first pre-production meeting," says DeSanto.
"Hopper's hues of saturated golds, oranges, reds and
browns created just the autumnal type of theme we were
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