Backstage Interview | 84th Academy Awards

Costume Design

CATEGORY: Costume Design
FILM: "The Artist"


Q. Congratulations. What classic Hollywood films in terms of the visual style of the wardrobe, et cetera, specifically what films inspired what you created for THE ARTIST?
A. There's a great film called SHOW PEOPLE starring Marion Davies, which was all shot on the back lot of MGM at the end of the '20s. Great research. We also watched things like IT, OUR DANCING DAUGHTERS, CITY GIRL, SUNRISE, those were sort of emotional touch spots for touchstones for us. So things like that. Not not a lot, but enough to get the flavor and know how things were worn.

Q. Yes, hello. Can you speak to the difficulties of having costumes that were going to be shot in black and white versus color?
A. Well, we actually filmed it in color because there was a chance that the film would at some markets be shown in color. Luckily, we were able to finally prevail with it in black and white. You know, it really comes down to different values and I was very concerned about the graphics, whether the actors would separate from the backgrounds that they're standing in front of. So and once we got the textures down, we knew textures read beautifully, I could tell a story with textures.

Q. Hi, Mark.
A. Hey.

Q. We spoke the other night at the Costume Designers Guild. Congratulations. I'm curious, how do you feel tonight after winning the Oscar?
A. I'm very excited as you can imagine. It hasn't quite sunk in because we've just been led from one thing to another, but I'm thrilled; I'm very proud, I'm so happy. And as I said in my speech, it really is a lifelong dream come true. I spent a great deal of my childhood where the winters are long and movies are a great escape and it has affected me for my whole life and career choice. And I think it's amazing that I was given the opportunity to do a movie that is a love letter to Hollywood.

Q. You said that you made the costumes larger in the beginning. Was Jean larger in the beginning?
A. No. What I think what Michel said was, you know, once the character George has his fall, he wanted the costumes just a little bigger to reflect that somehow George is less of a man than he was. And so we did that, hopefully, subtly through the tailoring.

Q. Is Jean as great a guy as we think he is?
A. Yes, and then some. He's an extraordinary person, yes.


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