Backstage Interview: COSTUME DESIGN

Backstage Interview: COSTUME DESIGN

INTERVIEW WITH: Jenny Beavan

FILM: "CRUELLA"

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          Q.    Hi, Jenny. Congratulations.

          A.    Sorry. I love him.

          Q.    We love you, too, honey. How does it feel? I thought you were

                in Australia, for heaven's sake, making some movie.

          A.    (JENNY BEAVAN) I am. I am, but I was allowed on good behavior.

                So I came up, and I go back on Tuesday. I was allowed out for

                five days.

          Q.    So tell me about creating movie designs, you know, what was

                your inspiration?  Sure, the books and comics and all that

                stuff, but what was the crux of it?

          A.    (JENNY BEAVAN) The script, because that's where I always start

                from, the storytelling from the script.  And there was -- a lot

                of the looks were in the script, not what they'd looked like,

                but the fact they would happen, like the trash dress and --

                So, also, I have to be honest. I was there in the '70s, and

                perhaps '77 was probably my hay day of actually buying clothes

                and having a relatively good figure and going to places like

                Viva and knowing about Vivian West, which -- although I

                couldn't afford her.

                But I was quite, you know, around. So I had a real memory of

                that time, which was lovely, especially when I could see all of

                my supporting artists dressed.  And I suddenly thought, I

                actually am back there. They were so brilliantly done.

                But the arc of the Estella Cruella costume is very clear in

                a way. She starts as, obviously, a very creative and rebellious

                small child who then becomes this extraordinary designer and

                then become someone who could, possibly, in 25 years, be Glenn

                Close. That was my sort of thought.

                It wasn't like we were actually going to do an antipal

                [phonetic] look, but there was a sort of chance that you could

                go off in that direction, if they wanted to.

          Q.    I loved Cruella. I loved the costuming. I loved the motif of

                the red, white, and black. And I was just curious if there was

                any specific, you know, costuming details or any nods or

                references that viewers may or may not have missed that you

                were able to sneak into the costuming for either Emma's

                character, either of the Emmas.

          A.    (JENNY BEAVAN) Well, I think I tried to give her a consistent

                look and make sure that the work she did in her atelier, her

                warehouse, her workshop, was very much still in the style of

                the House of Baroness, because I think an audience feels safer,

                and they just believe it, then, far more.

                So her look, sort of developed out of fittings, and the

                asymmetric thing came out of just, I think, the very early

                fittings, when Jane Lord -- who is an amazing costume maker,

                who did all her clothes.  So it was very much just her, her

                look.

                And when we went symmetric on something, we thought, that's

                her, isn't it. And then it was almost easy.  If you use really

                sculptural fabric, something quite thick to drape. And the

                other Emma -- no, I don't think there was anything -- it is

                quite a clear story.

                So it was the fun of finding all the stuff.  And some of it is

                real vintage, and some of it is -- we made, or, obviously, we

                made loads of it. But there is some bits of my memories of

                being -- growing up in London in 1970.

          Q.    Congratulations, what a wonderful film.  And the color palette,

                it's always the red, the black, and the white, but you use

                other colors to really make it very modern. How was that

                decision made?

          A.    I think a lot of what I do is instinctive. I read the script, I

                make my notes, I look at a huge amount of research, and, out of

                that, just comes an instinct for where it should go. I mean,

                obviously, I was working with Craig, with Nadia, with Fiona

                Crombie, so we are all on the same page with the looks.

                But the colors just seem to be right for Cruella.  Like, the

                red dress, when she burns off the white cape, it's the obvious

                color to use at a black-and-white ball if you want to stand

                out.

          Q.    I wonder if you can talk about how dramatic the shift is to go

                from Cruella -- there's a couple of films in between, but to go

                from Cruella to Furiosa?

          A.    You know, I've done it all my life.  I mean, I've gone from one

                job to another, and they have been so different, which is

                actually the joy of the job.  And I read the Sydney Morning

                Herald. Mind you [indiscernible] to England, you know, before I

                came up, so I had a sort of feeling for Australia.

                But, I mean, it's great.  And, obviously, I've worked on Mad

                Max Fury Road, so I know the dynamic, and I know George, and I

                know our wonderful work crew. But, you know, that's what I do.

                I leap around.

          Q.    Congratulations. You made some really incredible remarks last

                June around the release of this film about costume designers

                sort of being cut out of merchandizing deals and when it comes

                to the inspiration for your costumes and how they trickle down

                through places like Target and high-end places like Rag & Bone.

                        I'm curious if you've had any substantive conversations

                with your representatives, with your guild, about how to change

                this for the many costumers, many of them are women.  And also

                if you could tell us about your cuff that says "Naked without

                us."  Thank you.

          A.    (JENNY BEAVAN) This says:  "I am woman.  Hear me roar." And

                here we have:  "Naked without you," which is the girl's, you know, thing.

                Yes, I did.  And I had a bit of interplay with Disney, with

                Alan Bergman, and Alan Hahn, who I know and who are very kind,

                and I have kept it very, very polite.  And I have been really

                waiting to see how I can help in the most positive way, I mean,

                with everything that's going on.

                I was shocked by what happened to me. I felt -- I have never

                felt so disrespected and realized a huge amount of things that

                I'd never thought about, because I'd always just done the job

                and puddled home and, I don't know, played with the cat, gone

                out to garden, whatever.

                And suddenly, I realized there was this wealth of inequality

                and -- just walking over you. I mean, when we do a film,

                Furiosa at the moment, I am thinking about it, 24/7. And it's

                my idea and my thoughts, and, suddenly, they own it, and it

                doesn't seem quite right.

                But I don't want to be -- and I didn't think tonight was the

                right time to be political, with everything that's going on in

                the world, and it's far worse things happening in, obviously,

                Ukraine and so many things. It is bad, what's happening.

                But yes.  It has not gone away. I think they may have thought

                it's gone away, but it hasn't.

          Q.    Hi, Jenny.

          A.    (JENNY BEAVAN) Hi.

          Q.    Hi, I am actually in Los Angeles, and we spoke a while ago.

          A.    (JENNY BEAVAN) We did.

          Q.    And I want to congratulate you on the grand slam you just won.

          A.    (JENNY BEAVAN) Thank you.

          Q.    How does it feel to have won BAFTA and the Oscars?

          A.    (JENNY BEAVAN) I -- I find it quite odd, in one way, but I'm so

                thrilled for my team because it absolutely cements the fact

                that they were the best in the world, and what they did and did

                for me and did for the film was extraordinary. And so -- you

                know, their sheer creativity and generosity in what they -- the

                ideas they produced, and their blooming skill.

                I had some of the most -- you know, the top people --

                which Clare Sprite got the extraordinary team together, and she

                is my plus-one tonight.  But it really is absolutely wonderful

                for them.  Hopefully, they realize, you know, it is them, not

                just me.

          Q.    Thank you so very much, and a huge, big congratulations to you.

          A.    (JENNY BEAVAN) Thank you.

          Q.    Hi, Jenny, can you hear me?

          A.    (JENNY BEAVAN) Yes. Marvelously, actually

          Q.    Congratulations. Thank you so much. My name is Sheila.  I am

                with WIE:  Women in Entertainment.  I love your work. I just

                want to know, what inspires you?

          A.    (JENNY BEAVAN) A good story is what inspires me.  A good

                director and a good actor, obviously, is fantastic. But, you

                know, if it is a really good story and you can get your teeth

                into it -- and in a way, I just love, as I said before, the

                variety of what I do.  So I find that pretty inspiring.

                But I think I'm moving slowly into a slightly more educational

                world, perhaps. I do rather enjoy lecturing and talking about

                what I do. So that might sort of -- I find that quite

                inspirational, and I'm working with students and young people,

                so who knows.

                And I probably wouldn't stop designing, and I do have a

                mortgage to pay for the next four years.  Let's get that real.

                But it is interesting how you -- how you change.

          Q.    Thank you. Wonderful.

          Q.    Hi, Jenny. Congratulations.

          A.    (JENNY BEAVAN) Thank you.

          Q.    So how well do you think the Academy pulled off blending the

                non-televised categories into the broadcast, and what do you

                think about the decision overall?

          A.    (JENNY BEAVAN) I find it very difficult. I think what I saw --

                obviously, because I could see them blending it -- it was much,

                much better than I'd feared, and I certainly signed the -- the

                thing that we all said, you know, we didn't feel it was right

                and we felt it was very disrespectful.

                I think they -- I think they've really got to think about it

                for next year, though. I think it felt a little bit cheating on

                the people, because there's something lovely about the three

                presenter -- I mean, they were traffic, those two presenters.

                I thought they were wonderful, Jason Momoa and -- actually, I

                have completely forgotten who the other one was, but they were

                lovely.

                But it was still a lot bit like, dun dun dun dun, you know, put

                through this. Although it was funny and they said -- but then

                the minute the actual women came on, Amy Schumer and those --

                it just went into a different world, I thought. That's my

                feelings on the matter, but I -- it is not for me to say.

                But I think it would be better if they could find a better way

                of, if they need to shorten the show, shortening it. But not

                possibly that many. I thought that it was crafts, so there was

                pretty serious crafts in there. Anyway, that's my thought.

          Q.    Thank you so much, and congratulations.

          A.    (JENNY BEAVAN) Thank you.

Acceptance speech transcripts for the 94th Academy Awards are created by a team of transcribers in real time and with minimal editing, for the benefit of the press on the night. They may contain omissions and errors, especially in the spelling of names. Clips of winner acceptance speeches may be found on oscar.com.

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