“There are so many people doing such great work out there,” said The Invisible Woman costume designer Michael O’Connor, who is Oscar-nominated for Best Achievement in Costume Design. O’Connor — who worked on the period drama about the life of Charles Dickens — was one of the most gracious people I’ve ever interviewed, handing out credit to his staff, his director Ralph Fiennes and even to his peers on other films. “If you look at a film like Nebraska, those clothes say everything about those people,” O’Connor said. “It’s good, intelligent work.” His appreciation and passion for the work is evident in every detail of the clothing he speaks of. He’s also fascinated with the historical research that comes into play prior to the actual designs and selection of fabrics. “The looking into it is the fun part,” he said. “There are subtleties that change throughout the years, and I love monitoring and watching that stuff. You know, the men started wearing suits at this time in the 1850s. The women’s bonnets changed shape as the shape of the dresses changed. The bonnets became shorter, more rounded and less of the face is hidden. They were made with a clever craft that no one makes these days anymore. The corners, the pockets for the watches, the overall attention to detail was there always.”
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He said some of his inspiration came from the French neo-classical painter Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, whose work is displayed in the Louvre. He and Fiennes — who portrayed Dickens with a contagious enthusiasm — spent a lot of time thinking about what a particular character would weare. Felicity Jones, for instance, played Dickens’ very young and demur mistress. “We had discussions like, ‘Would her character really wear this kind of dress?’ Even little, tiny rickrack mossy, mustard-colored braids on Felicity’s dress, we discussed because we wanted to make sure the costume wasn’t speaking beyond the character. You didn’t want her to gleam out even though she was the lead actress, because the camera is going to find her anyway, so (in a scene with her family) you put her sisters around her in pink.” His greatest find was an original, mint condition waist coat from the period with green vine leaves and grapes on it against black that Fiennes wore in one scene. O’Connor said his director embraced the period completely because he wanted it to be a truthful film. “When the actors are wearing these clothes, it makes them feel different,” he said. Which is the same kind of thinking behind the costuming of one of the greatest films of all time, Gone with the Wind.
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Let’s hope the first weekend of 2014 is just a blip in the calendar. As newcomers are mostly hiding out, some holdovers have held steadfast in a freezing cold weekend for a huge chunk of the country. TWC’s August: Osage County held its base in five theaters as TV commercials touted the Golden Globes nominated pic. The Meryl Streep/Julia Roberts starrer grossed almost $141K, averaging $28,177. When it opened last weekend, the feature averaged $35,895 in the same number of reporting locations. It expands wide next week. Sony Classics added one theater for its Charles Dickens film The Invisible Woman, grossing over $30K in four theaters. It averaged $30,151 for a two week cume approaching $117K. Warner Bros.’ Her is playing very strong the weekend before it expands from 47 venues to 1,700 so the studio is well set for a wider release. Her opened initially on the 18th of last month in six theaters and on Christmas day expanded to its current 47 venues. The Spike Jonze pic is getting high accolades and positive word of mouth so is up 11% from last weekend and is the only one at the moment that did not fall weekend to weekend on the same number of screens. It’s per screen rose to an estimated $15,361 this weekend on a total take of .722. It’s cume to … Read More »
The Specialty Box Office went up against an onslaught of studio hardware in what could shape up to be a record-breaking holiday weekend overall. With a number of new or almost new power-houses vying for moviegoer dollars, The Weinstein Company bowed its star-packed August: Osage County in 5 theaters in what will surely be the beginning of a sizable run after putting off its initial planned theatrical roll out in the fall. The film grossed almost $180K for a $35,895 screen average. That number easily gave the film starring Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Ewan McGregor, Chris Cooper, Benedict Cumberbatch and others the highest specialty PSA of the weekend, but given its lauded cast and awards possibility, including its Golden Globes noms, its initial prowess at the box office suggests the title has room to dazzle. TWC will move the Toronto Film Fest title outside its exclusive New York and L.A. runs into two additional markets next weekend before going wide the following week.
TWC noted August: Osage County had an A- Cinemascore and said its exit polls were “through the roof.”
Also notable this weekend, Universal opened its Mark Wahlberg and Taylor Kitsch starrer Lone Survivor in limited release. Though not a straight “Specialty” title, the studio went for a two theater bow for the true-story drama adapted from Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell’s memoir of 2005′s failed Operation Red Wings, in which 19 soldiers died. Uni is hoping to gain awards traction for the pic, and it did start off solid at the box office grossing $92,468 in two runs for a $46,234 average. Read More »
Sony Pictures Classics picked up the film starring and directed by Ralph Fiennes at Berlin in February. He plays Charles Dickens in The Invisible Woman, and the title character is Nelly Ternan (Felicity Jones), the young actress Dickens met at the height of his career and had a secret affair with until his death in 1870. Based on Claire Tomalin’s book and scripted by Abi Morgan, the film also stars Kristin Scott Thomas, Tom Hollander, Michelle Fairley and Joanna Scanlan. It opens on Christmas Day. Here’s the trailer: