Tuesday, January 12, 2010

In the Making of NINE [9/10]

Like Beebe, costume designer Colleen Atwood began her creative process with the sexy, glamorous Mod looks of 60s Italian cinema, but riffed on her own fantasy interpretation of that look. “We did watch a lot of Italian cinema,” she explains, “which certainly influenced the style. But there’s also a hyper-reality to the world of NINE, so we took out all the things that weren’t as visually interesting from that world and left only the most striking elements.”

Atwood’s costumes are also created in direct response to the choreography, and to the movements the actors’ bodies had to make. “Before I design any costumes, I watch what Rob and John have choreographed and the costumes are very, very well thought out ahead to respond to the needs of the number,” she says. “The clothes have to fit very, very precisely which meant working closely with our large female cast.”

As for Daniel Day-Lewis’s outfits, Atwood recalls: “Daniel and I spent a day together early on and we went shopping to get a feeling for Guido—his suit, his shoes, his style. We ended up with a black silk suit that has a grace to it, a soft, iconic feeling. The tricky part with Guido is that clothes aren’t what this character is thinking about, but they still exude a certain beauty his character seeks.”

An unabashedly dazzling beauty is imbued in the rainbow array of ladies’ costumes thatAtwood created, ranging from showgirl corsets to elegant evening gowns to slinky go-go miniskirts as she dressed every iconic incarnation of feminine energy, from starlets to prostitutes to a costume designer not unlike herself.

In the process, she used over 1,000,000 crystallized Swarovski Elements ™ to adorn 36 costumes. Nine different applications of crystal in 31 styles and 22 different colors were used to literally allow the characters of NINE to shine. Nadja Swarovski, Vice President of International Communication, says, “Swarovski is thrilled to have collaborated with Colleen on the showstopping costumes of NINE. It is an honor for the outstanding cast to be embellished with our crystal and Colleen’s artistry as a costume designer is perfectly showcased in these sparkling creations.”

Weaving in with Atwood’s array of costumes is the handiwork of Oscar® winning Hair and Make-Up Designer, Peter King. King had never worked with Marshall previously, but he instantly caught the tone Marshall was after. “The challenge on this film was getting that feel for the 60s period while absolutely never being held back by it,” he explains.

King continues: “Rob was very specific that he wanted to reflect the ‘New Wave ‘look—the Brigitte Bardot, Claudia Cardinale look. It’s a tough look, not a perfect look. It’s a ‘just out of bed’ look that we felt was far sexier an image than the stiff formal look of England and America at the time. We didn’t emulate any particular film but looked at lots of images for inspiration. We went through hundreds of looks until we arrived at the right one for each particular character. Of course, what you are always trying to achieve in any film is to make it look as though you’ve done no work at all.”

After shooting on soundstages in London, the cast and crew regrouped to shoot where Fellini’s films were born: in Rome’s Cinecitta Studios, as well as at such iconic Italian movie locations as the Piazza del Popolo, the Via Veneto, and the towns of Anzio, Surti and Anguillara.

Everyone was inspired by the atmosphere at Cinecitta, one of the world’s most historic motion picture studios. Originally founded in 1936 by the dictator Benito Mussolini for propaganda purposes (under the slogan “cinema is the most powerful weapon”), the studio would flourish after the war, becoming home to numerous classic films, among them QUO VADIS, AMACORD, BEN HUR, CLEOPATRA, THE GODFATHER III and GANGS OF NEW YORK.

All the great names of Italian cinema became intimately familiar with the terracotta buildings in the tree-lined avenues around the massive sound stages. By the 1950s and 1960s Rome had become “Hollywood on the Tiber,” attracting the world’s most prestigious filmmakers to the Via Tuscolana.

“For anyone who loves film, shooting at Cinecitta is a thrill,” saysJohn Myhre. “Just going in the gates for the first time was a life changing experience. It’s like no other studio in the world. You feel you’re going back into history, with these ancient terracotta buildings, stepping into the heyday of 1960s. We filmed at the front gate, doing a little work to get it back to the way it once look. And they also allowed us to repaint stage 5 to get it back to the way it once was, which was exciting.”

Once in Rome, the production took advantage of the city’s vast array of picture-perfect cinematic locations. “We wanted to capture the Rome of LA DOLCE VITA,” explains Myrhe.“We filmed on the Via Veneto, at the Forum and the Coliseum.”


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