Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Exclusive Into the Woods interview with the amazingly talented, Costume Designer Colleen Atwood #Intothewoodsevent #Oscars

Colleen Atwood is known for her work on classic films such as The Silence of the Lambs and Edward Scissorhands. She is a multiple award winning costume designer who has won 3 Oscars for her magnificent work, including Best Costume Design for  Chicago, Best Achievement in Costume Design for Alice in Wonderland,  and Best Achievement in Costume Design for Memoirs of a Geisha.
 Her body of work is outstanding, to me she is one of the top designers in all of Hollywoo.d Myself and 24 other top bloggers had the chance to interview this very talented lady. Here are my favorite questions from this amazing interview.

Question:  This film had so many amazing characters and costumes to go with the characters, which was your favorite to work on? 

Colleen Atwood: You know, it's kind of like children, it's a weird question to ask, because I never like one, one day some of them are definitely not my favorites.  I had a great time of course with Meryl’s costume because of the textile art that was involved in it.  And it involved not just my ideas but the hands of a lot of really talented people, mainly women. Each one has a different beat, so it's kind of fun to- the thing that makes it great for me because I kind of bounce around.
It's great that you can go from- in the room you can go from Meryl’s costume and walk over to, to Billy’s costume, and walk over to the baker and his wife’s costume. The vocabulary is so varied that, that when you walk around and go from one thing to the other, you're thinking about each thing as you go, and you kind of as you hit one, you go oh, and you kind of go back to the other one.  But it's, it's nice 'cause they're so varied and you can always, you know, take from one and- and sort of lend to another when it's something isn't working in the room. 

Question:   You mentioned the costumes of the children…do you cringe a little bit inside when-when they're wearing these amazing designs and they're falling down a hill and they're tripping over the costumes are getting destroyed?  Do you cringe a little inside?
Colleen Atwood:  You know, I like the costumes to look like they're worn, so it doesn't bother me. I cringe on a different level like if I don't have enough of them to be destroyed. But I don't cringe on an artistic level at all. Especially with a movie like this because of the rehearsal period, I kind of knew what the costumes were going to have to do so I made them to kind of accommodate that.
 Into the Woods design by Colleen Atwood

Question:   Has there ever been a costume that you were stumped on and that took some time? 

Colleen Atwood: You know what, a lot of times for me, when you work on a movie, all the costumes aren't done the first day of shooting.  You're still continuing making as you're shooting.  Because the schedules for preparing are pretty tight and sometimes the casting doesn't happen at the beginning, and you get the actor later in the story.

To me the costume that kind of stumps me the most is when I know it's going to be the last costume.  And then you're sort of it's a weird thing, it's like psychological, you don't want to let go of that costume or something, it's like the baby of the family.  So it- that was all- traditionally with me the hardest costume to kind of like say, oh it's at the right thing. Like I get more anxiety about that than the first one, you know, it's, it's funny.
Question:   Whose costume would you say involved the most from your first thoughts to the finished product and why? 

Colleen Atwood: I’d say Emily’s because she was pregnant. It changed the most of any costume.  It had a lot of, it had a lot of panels and, you know, when I got her, she was just barely pregnant.  And  all of a sudden she got into that like kind of fifth month kind of thing.  And she came to work after a weekend and it was like she’d grown I swear.

She’d grown like two or three inches I'm like what happened over the weekend!  I was continually kind of modifying her costume because, you know, her bust was bigger and her belly was bigger and- and you're kind of- even though she was incredibly small for how pregnant she was.  I was continually like making the body- the apron bigger and- and all that.  Thank goodness she was in an apron from the start, and the little jacket, I kept raising the kind of where it buttoned and kind of painting it in darker and darker on the side, so you kind of use a lot of tricks of, the trade. But,  that costume I was continually changing and touching the whole time.
 Question:  I read that Meryl went to school for costume design, so did she have any input or involvement in her costumes? 

Colleen Atwood: Well there's not a aspect of a character development that Meryl isn't involved in.  She is the Meryl Streep. But in fact she understands costumes really well, which doesn't like mean she designs them on any level, but she feels them.  And any request she made to her costumes were all sort of related to movement in the costume and what it had to do for her.  And she embraced all the textiles and stuff in a way that somebody that really knew what it took to make it appreciated it, so it was a really gratifying collaboration to, you know, not only work with someone of her kind of amazing talent.

But just somebody that kind of just loved going in the room and seeing what everybody was doing and, you know, was really great with the stitches.  Like she, you know, actually acknowledged they existed, which is really nice for the people that make the costumes, because a lot of times, you know, I always try to like get the actors to kind of walk through when it's done, just to give them that gratification.  But a lot of times actors, you know, they're like, reluctant to do it, and Meryl was just so kind and- and generous in that way.

Question:   Speaking of Meryl’s design, you mentioned that a lot of your inspiration came from the woods and the forest and the light and the dark.  But her costume was very blue.  Even like when she was the, the, the more evil looking witch, to her transformation.  Who’s- who is more, who gave more input, was that her or your- your thought process?  And why those blues? 

Colleen Atwood:   Well the reason, you know, as a writer pointed out to me, since it was the blue moon, I go yeah, that's like the blue witch, the blue moon.  But also when you're doing a film with a lot of dark and you're using black, it's really easy for the black to just turn into a flat blob with the digital photography and- and the lighting.  So I wanted to put what I did is I put color behind it to make it not just a dead black thing and the blue kind of came forward.
Into the Woods design by Colleen Atwood 

 It felt good with the night sky and sort of the elements of witchery that went with her.  And then when it- the transformation happened, we just went to the blue.  We,  wanted the blue. It was sort of the same textures.  But amplified and put in satin and sort of what she thought was beautiful, everything matched.  The hair the nails the dress the jewelry, everything was blue.  And she thought, you know, that would make her the kind of the kind of beauty that her teenage daughter would embrace.

Question:  Can you talk just a little bit about the design process of Cinderella’s costume?
Colleen Atwood:  Cinderella’s costume for me, the first costume in the house in the, you know, that- that whole world, it's hard to talk about just her without the world, because she's in the world with the steps.  And it kind of when I saw what Rob was doing with the rehearsals with the, with the girls and their action and how they were playing that opening scene, where you kind of establish who they all are, I immediately went to the eighteenth century for kind of reference.

Because it's such- it, it lends itself well to that kind of comedy.  It's exaggerated in a way that really worked with the girls.  And I wanted, so for Cinderella she was sort of a nod to that world but with a little bit of a more modern kind of take on it, not so over the top and very peasant and aged down and- and dirty.  What you’d expect Cinderella to be in a way.  And then when she has her moment, it's based on her- that costume was sort of based on the fact that, the costume was created by her mother.
 And in the early Grimm fairy tales, the shoes are gold not glass. I kind of wanted it to be gold and sort of the tree and the willow.  And I started with more green in it, but then it became, I found this great thirties vintage fabric that I had been hoarding for a while.  And it sort of had the right feeling of, I wanted it to be when it went through the forest kind of like a butterfly wing, like when you see a butterfly in the light and it goes in the dark and you don't see it.
Into the Woods design by Colleen Atwood 

 So I wanted it to have that kind of flighty quality to it.  And she had to do a lot in the dress, I mean, you see, she runs, she goes upstairs, she goes downstairs.  You know, I wanted to re- I kept the same sort of silhouette, but I sort of made the, the, the sort of shape of it more loose and modern in the sense, and also to get the movement I wanted for the camera.

Into the Woods design by Colleen Atwood 

Question:   When you watch a film, is it hard to watch the whole film, are you always watching the costumes?  Can you get past the costumes and see the whole film? 

Colleen Atwood:   You know what, I really love movies, I really love watching them still, I always have my whole life, and I can really not go- I think when the costumes are bad or the- or the hair, which is kind of can be more disturbing.  I really don't like it.  It takes me out of the moment.  But if, if the movie is a good movie and stuff, I don't do it.  Watching my own work is harder, I'm more self-critical than I am of other people.
Question:  As a mom, did you do costumes for your kids at all?
Colleen Atwood:  You’d think right, it's so funny, in the early Halloween years, I did a lot of costumes.  My favorite was when my daughter was like in sort of kindergarten, I made her a giant pumpkin, it was so cute with her little hands coming out and she hated it so much.  But it was so- it was really cute. But I love going to see what the kids- what people do for their kids for Halloween is pretty amazing, like the kind of low tech and where they go with it is really crazy.

When my daughter got to a certain age, she went through a huge like Darth Vader, and then she wanted to be Batman Girl and then like she went like I think we had a ninja turtle phase.  Like but she didn't want, like she wanted the thing like, you know, she was a total victim of the store bought costume, so it was kind of embarrassing really.

Colleen was a down to earth lady who loved what she did for a living. She is just a working mom like us, who has a job that lets her live out her dreams by designing all of these spectacular costumes. After the interview we all piled around the couch to take a picture with Colleen Atwood.  
This was an marvelous experience, to be in the same room as all of these incredible Into the Woods stars, was just a dream come true! Colleen Atwood is a 3-time Oscar winner with all of her spectacular work on Into the Woods, it would be great for this to be her to be nominated for her impressive work with Into the Woods. With the Oscar announcements, coming out soon, I would not be surprised to see quite a few of the actors from Into the Woods on the list. It would be wonderful for Into the Woods to be nominated for Best Picture too!
Have you had the chance to see Into the Woods?  I have seen the movie twice so far, and it got even better the second time I saw the film. My daughter and my husband were also fans of the film, so if you are looking for a great movie to see with the entire family be sure to see the family friendly rated PG film Into the Woods, I am sure you will love it just as much as we did.

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INTO THE WOODS is rated PG and is in theaters everywhere!

 ***Disney provided me with an all-expense paid trip for me to cover this event***

Interview Photos courtesy of Louise from Mom Start

Did you have a favorite costume from Into the Woods?


Disclosure: The reviews and or opinions on this blog are my own opinions . No monitory compensation was received. I was not required to write a positive review. Your experience may differ. The opinions I have expressed are my own I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsement and Testimonials in Advertising .


Masshole Mommy said...

I haven't had a chance to see this yet. I am hoping to get there this weekend.

Christi said...

Wow, LOVED reading this post and seeing the sketches behind the costumes - they are all gorgeous, but I typically don't think too much about all the forethought that goes into the final products. Great post!

Tammi @ My Organized Chaos said...

The costuming for this movie is incredible! So beautiful! i can't wait to see this movie!

Dawn said...

I'm always so impressed with the job that costume designers do. They have to be some of the most creative people out there.

Jennifer said...

Colleen Atwood did such a great job on all of the costumes. It's really hard for me to pick a favorite.

Gabriel Bregg said...

This looks like a fun twist on the typical fairy tale movie. My wife wanted to be a clothing designer growing up, so she is fascinated by things like this.

Christine C said...

I liked the Baker's Wife's costume...I got to play her on stage before. I'm a bit partial I guess! I also was Rapunzel in another production of Into the Woods. I love the show!

Kelly Hutchinson said...

I love to learn about the costumes on my favorite movies. This is one of the most interesting parts of the interview I have read so far.

Laura O in AK said...

The costumes can really make a film. It looks like Colleen did a phenomenal job with Into the Woods and I can't wait to see it.

Unknown said...

Oh my goodness, I am so in awe... What a great opportunity you had! We saw the movie a bit ago and loved it. The music was fab and the story was so much fun.

Unknown said...

This is amazing. I'm in awe of costume designers- they have to have talent in SO many different aspects to make it all come together!

Unknown said...

I loved this movie! The details on the costumes is amazing in the film!

tammileetips said...

I loved everything about the movie! The details on the costumes is amazing!

ourfamilyworld said...

This looks like really interesting twist to the fairy tales we know, I might see this!

Shelley Zurek -- Still Blonde after all these YEARS said...

I just love seeing the whole costume concept. It's especially fun to see Meryl in hers.

Betsy Barnes said...

I haven't seen the movie yet, however, I really love the Meryl’s design from this post. Absolutely beautiful and the color is gorgeous :)

Amy Orvin said...

I love some of the dress designs for this movie. I really want to see this one.

VickieC said...

im glad you had a nice time,,I dont think this movie is for me,looks too scarey,I certainly wouldnt take any of hte little grandkids to see it,they would be terrified

Jerry Marquardt said...

I like Into The Woods and I like your review. It was very informative and revealing. Keep up the great work doing these nice reviews.

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Disclosure: The reviews and or opinions on this blog are my own opinions, . No compensation was received. All opinions are my own. This is a unofficial fan site that is not affiliated with the Walt Disney Company or Disney theme parks.