Backstage Interview: Costume Design

Q. Hi, congratulations.  I’m here.  I just wondered ‑‑ hi.  Based on your comments about being kind to each other and taking care of the environment, I wondered how you were inspired to create an environment and the costumes and the look and feel of it that we might be heading towards?

A. I truly didn’t think of it when we were making the film.  In fact, the way we made the film is so much in little bits and pieces that you never got a real sense of it.  You knew it looked stunning and it was extraordinary, but it was only when I actually saw it three years later at a press screening in Berlin where I was working that I actually understood some of the power of it.  Because it’s very odd for the film, quite often, when it all comes together with all the elements, it’s much greater than the sum of its parts.  And our part was obviously just doing the costumes.  So that whole thought about that, which unfortunately, the music came up and I wasn’t quick enough, and I didn’t get the speech organized and all the rest of it, has been growing on me that, you know, actually, if we’re not kind to each other and if we don’t stop filling the ocean and land with toxic waste, I think that could all be horribly real.

Q. Hi, Jenny.  Congratulations.  And MAD MAX is clearly the below‑the‑line winner here tonight.  So can you talk about two aspects of that:  Picking up an iconic franchise again so many years later into its own future, and how you worked with the other department heads in creating and re‑creating this world?

A. I wouldn’t know about the franchise element of it other than the fact that obviously there were three previous MAD MAX films, but George Miller always said to me that this was another.  It wasn’t like a sequel; it was another MAD MAX film.  So there was a freedom in what I could do.

And what was the last part of your question?

Q. How you work ‑‑

A. Oh, work with the other department.  Well, incredibly closely, I mean particular with Lesley Vanderwalt because she ‑‑ well, she and I became very good friends.  We actually lived on top of each other, but visually, that work between us had to be seamless because, in a way, we both closely created the characters who then went into Colin and Lisa’s ‑‑ you know, vehicles, Colin’s vehicles and Lisa’s set dressing.  So we were just ‑‑ I mean we were in Namibia and we were all there was, so we spent a lot of time together and, you know, I was always looking at the vehicles and it was ‑‑ it was a real piece of teamwork.

Q. Hi, Jenny.  Congratulations to you tonight.

A. Thank you.

Q. You have worked a lot with period films primarily and tonight you ‑‑ you celebrate your second win with this very futuristic style.  So I’m curious, are you looking forward to working more with contemporary or futuristic looks in the future?

A. I have actually done quite a lot of contemporary films.  I’ve simply never done anything futuristic, and if you’re going to go futuristic, this is the perfect vehicle.  I mean, you know, George Miller’s mind is just so extraordinary.  But no, I’m up for any challenge really.  I just love attacking something completely new.  But if another Jane Austen comes up, I’ll enjoy that just as much, but I do love the challenge of the new.  So who knows what it will be.

Q. Could you talk about your awesome Oscars outfit tonight?  And also, could you talk about all the controversy behind Stephen Fry at the BAFTAs?

A. Yes.  I’m very happy to talk about it.  I really don’t do frocks, and I absolutely don’t do heels.  I simply can’t wear them.  I’ve got a bad back that, and I look ridiculous in a beautiful gown.  And this was an homage to MAD MAX and I didn’t get it quite right at the BAFTAs obviously.  The scarf was supposed to be an oily rag, but I’m actually in Marks & Spencer’s with a little Swarovski addition on the back.  And unfortunately, I had a shoe malfunction.  The glitter fell off that shoe, but you know what?  I blame the desert sand for that entirely.  And I just ‑‑ I just like feeling comfortable.  And I’m sorry, as far as I’m concerned, I’m really dressed up.  And also for my friends at PETA, the People’s Ethical Treatment of Animals, fake, not leather.

Q. Costume design is one of the more female friendly careers in Hollywood.  What can the rest of the industry learn from the costume department?

A. That we’re extremely good organizers.  We’re good at scheduling, we’re good at budgets.  I think they could learn quite a lot form us.  And we tend to run quite fun departments, but I don’t know if that would help others.  But I think ‑‑ I mean I love working with women directors.  I think we’re a really organized bunch.  So maybe that would help.

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