Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Truth, Justice...
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Hollywoodland still of a club scene

On Friday September 8 Hollywoodland opens in movie theatres here in Toronto. I worked on this film last year, when its title was Truth, Justice and the American Way. Apparently DC Comics wouldn’t allow the original title (or the Superman “S” to appear in promotional material). I guess DC is afraid of tarnishing Superman’s image by associating him with the real life violence that ended the life of the actor George Reeves. In my mind it will always be “Truth, Justice”. I had a great time on this film set, helping to dress the background actors. The costume designer Julie Weiss was a force of nature. Some people hated working with this forthright individual but I loved it. She made her presence felt wherever she was and made the costume department an important part of the film set. Often on set costumers are made to feel as if they are in the way of the production. Julie made it clear that the costumes were just as important an element as any other technical aspect (lighting, sound etc..) and that we had to be allowed the time and space to do the job properly.

The film takes place in the 1940s and 50s, and featured several elegant Hollywood scenes: clubs, parties etc… We had hundreds of background actors to dress. Julie wanted each and every one of them to be ready for a close up. In other words picture perfect and historically accurate in dress and manner. Most of the actors had no experience getting into the layers of clothing that were worn in this era, and they had to be assisted in dressing themselves. On set final accessories and alterations would be added as we found out where the director placed each individual and where the cameras were in relation to each actor. At one moment Julie called me over. With here hands she gathered the draping fabric on an actress’s bodice and said: “Make this a Fortuny.” The very idea that she thought that with a few stitches with my needle and thread I could transform this gown into a Fortuny gave me a confidence that before that moment I have rarely felt.

I hope Hollywoodland does well, and that the audiences appreciates the artistic efforts made in this production. Julie Weiss was nominated for a Tony for The Elephant Man. She was overlooked for Frida. I hope she gets nominated for an Oscar for Hollywoodland.


Blogger dawn said...

i just saw this preview last night during project runway! i have queued it. when it comes out on video, you will have to queue me into what to look for.

7:47 a.m.  
Blogger Scheherazaad said...

Dawn, I helped to fit and dress the background actresses who were in club and party scenes. I was also there to dress the children in a scene where Superman makes an appearance at a theme park.

8:31 a.m.  
Blogger Not An Artist said...

Amazing, I will definitely see that one when it is released!

PS: Verbena grows on the median of University Ave one light south of Dundas, accross from the armory.

11:51 a.m.  

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