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Backstage Interview: Costume Design



Q. Congratulations.  I was wondering if you could speak to any of the particular challenges that may have arised when needing to marry the Jazz Age of New York with the kind of magical wizarding world of wizards and witches in FANTASTIC BEASTS.

A. Well, I think I can take my imagination and imagine that they were there in the Jazz Age, in the sense it was such an amazing time of, you know, new dreams for everyone.  And then having this amazing production designer Stuart Craig create this world, I really felt like, when I walked into the room and saw the production design department, that I knew what to do.  The graphics were there, the things were there.  And the ’20s is a great period to sort of tweak into magic, because there’s a lot of ‑‑ it’s very kind of, in a sense, graphic so you can take sort of a cloche hat from the ’20s and do a little twist at the top and can become a wizarding kind of hat without being obvious, like witches’ hats, so it was a great challenge, and a great amount of fun.

Q. What was it like already having a visual canon to work from, but then also having to differentiate from that?  I’m speaking about the first seven films, of course.

A. Well, I sort of ‑‑ you know, at first I was like, “urrh?”  And then I read the script, and I met with David, the director, and then I just kind of treated it like I had a visual canon, but I had ‑‑ I was totally set free.  But it was a different time period, it was a different world.  It was America, not England, so in that sense the rawness of America at that time was my starting point and my inspiration.

Q. Hi, Colleen.  Congratulations.  A Harry Potter movie has never won an Oscar, and even though FANTASTIC BEASTS is a spinoff from a Harry Potter movie, how does it feel to make history in that way?  And why do you think none of the other eight movies has ever won an Oscar?

A. I didn’t realize that.  That’s shocking.  Because there’s so much incredible kind of artistry in the Harry Potter movies.  I think maybe the fact that this movie, J.K. Rowling’s creation, is set in the 1920s, which kind of keyed off a different sort of visual sense might be the kind of obvious thing, but I can’t believe it never won for that incredible clockwork, you know, creation of Stuart Craig’s in the Harry Potter movies.  I wasn’t aware of that.

Oscar and film awards expert. American Beauty, Grease and The Texas Chain Saw Massacre are prominent DVDs on my shelf.

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