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THE ODD LIFE OF TIMOTHY GREEN

Costume Design
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. "So we started Cindy off with darker clothes, more buttoned up as she is in a pretty depressed place," says DeSanto. "We dressed her in grays and browns. Then as she becomes a mother and experiences parenthood with Timothy, she 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 stripes 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 Chanel suits and the styles of the eccentric and well-dressed philanthropist Brooke Astor. "Bernice Crudstaff's pieces, although beautiful, don't go together tastefully or artfully. This may be because her eyesight is so bad that she can't see what she is putting together. Her thick, round glasses are the icing on the cake to create the character's look."

As for Timothy's best friend Joni Jerome, DeSanto created an earthy and ethereal look to her wardrobe. "Joni is 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 was made in 2011."

For some of the larger crowd scenes, like the Town Hall sequence, it was important to DeSanto to follow Peter Hedges' lead that the people of Stanleyville should look and feel like real people, so audiences could relate to them. DeSanto created a timeless feel to the tone of the scene so that the town meeting could have taken place 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 hard 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 is, people have things in their closet from five to twenty years ago. So would many of the characters in this film." DeSanto did a lot of research to create authentic uniforms for the Stanleyville Pencil Factory employees. From union meetings to old photographs of the workers from the Hershey factory in Pennsylvania, DeSanto settled on chocolate brown, long-sleeve uniforms. "After all, Stanleyville is a working-class town. Like Hershey, Pennsylvania, 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 spectators in frame. DeSanto chose blue uniforms for the soccer team, and they are the only blue costumes that are seen 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 looking for."

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