Costume designer Jenny Beavan makes gorgeous rags

by - 14:13

Grim, drab and in some cases, depressing – the costumes for last year’s Mad Max film very much reflected the post-apocalyptic world it was set in. The clothes worn also worked in speaking for the characters in it.

In a phone interview, costume designer Jenny Beavan said Mad Max: Fury Road was influenced by the past films but also a set apart. While familiar with the genre, she had the freedom to update the costumes for this installment.

“The base of Tom’s (Hardy) costume for instance, was always the Mel Gibson costume. But on top of that, his Max character had something to do with armies and soldiers. So overdressing the costume was to reflect this.”

Beavan, who has been nominated in this year’s Oscars for Best Costume Design for her work, revealed that the costumes were mostly made in Namibia, where they filmed. The cost was approximately £400,00 (RM2.4mil).

She noted that the costume she found most difficult in designing was for the characters Immorten Joe and Rictus Erectus. This was because those two had a lot of pieces that needed to work together.

“We ended with having many versions of Joe’s depending on whether he’s sitting in a car or standing on a rock, walking or running. That was probably the most time-consuming. But in a way they all took time to make.”

Beavan already clinched an award for Best Costume Design for her work on Mad Max: Fury Road at at 2016 BAFTAs held recently. It was during the event that host Stephen Fry made a joke about her attending “dressed as a bag lady” – which then sparked a controversy.

Beaven has been nominated for the 2016 Oscars for her work in Mad Max: Fury Road. -- Jasin Boland

Jenny Beavan has been nominated for the 2016 Oscars for her work in Mad Max: Fury Road. Photo: Jasin Boland

“I’m looking of doing a repeat form at the Oscars but slightly different,” she said in jest when asked about her thoughts on the matter. “You know how I looked like. I’m small, fat and old. I don’t do frocks, I don’t don’t heels, I don’t really dress up very well.

“These award things are very tricky for me because I just don’t enjoy the whole dressing up thing. Other people are very much better at it, and I quite enjoy looking at them. I just like being in the background,” she added.

Beavan has had about 35 years of experience in costume design. She has previously won an Oscar for A Room With A View and has been nominated an additional nine times (including for Mad Max: Fury Road).

“The role of the costume designer is to tell the story and support the actors through the clothes. That’s absolutely all it is. You should never put yourself it in. If you want to make a statement, you should become a fashion designer or fine artist,” she said.

“I love a challenge. I love doing something different. I’ve been designing costumes for about 35 years, and I still love doing period films, but I’m up for something new and different. And you don’t get much more and different with Mad Max.”

The 88th Annual Academy Awards will be broadcast live exclusively on HBO/HBO HD (Astro Ch 411/431) on Feb 29 across multiple screens, starting with the Oscars Red Carpet Live at 8am (same night primetime encore at 7pm), and The 88th Annual Academy Awards ‘Live’ at 9.30am (same night primetime encore at 8pm).

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