Home Uggs boots How costume designers made Selena Gomez read taller and Alexander Skarsgard shorter – The Hollywood Reporter

How costume designers made Selena Gomez read taller and Alexander Skarsgard shorter – The Hollywood Reporter


Apparently, Sebastian Stan is 6ft tall, which is comparable to the 6ft 2in Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee, who the actor stars in. Pam and Tommy. Co-star Lily James reaches 5-foot-7 in flats, which matches Pamela Anderson. But, through extensive research, Pam and Tommy Costume designer Kameron Lennox determined Anderson’s documented height could be with her trademark 4-inch heels.

In the Hulu limited series (nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Contemporary Costume), James often wore Anderson-style high heels, as on an incognito trip to the library to access the nascent internet, where his Christian Louboutin boots (an Uggs version ) brought James close to Stan’s waist. But, in the previous scene, filmed from the waist up, James actually stood flat-footed for a tense conversation with Stan as the brash Tommy. “It was so important that [Pam] felt smaller, like she was vulnerable,” Lennox says.

Sebastian Stan and Lily James in a scene from Pam and Tommy. In Pam and TommyLily James sometimes looks as tall as Sebastian Stan thanks to 4 inch heels.

Courtesy of Erin Simkin/Hulu

Whether it’s film productions or television projects, many costume designers often face similar challenges that involve mathematical calculations when dealing with the varying heights of actors. And they find creative ways to work through the differences – or play them out for storytelling.

In The Northman’In the fictional kingdom of the Vikings, costume designer Linda Muir escalated a battle between two actors who were already cutting towering figures out of their Norse costumes. “At 6ft 4in and ripped, Alexander [Skarsgard, as Amleth] has a terrific silhouette,” says Muir. “But the dweller of the mound [7-foot-1 Ian Whyte] must have looked awfully huge – even compared to Alex. So Muir topped Whyte’s head with a Vendel-period Mohawk helmet and worked with costume armor master Giampaolo Grassi to design a loosely constructed “undercoat”, complete with creepy bones showing through the robes. in tatters of the undead character.

Inside the third season of Netflix’s time-hopping superhero series The Umbrella Academy, Christopher Hargadon needed two sibling characters to appear equal in size. But because Luther (Tom Hopper) wears a prosthetic bodysuit to showcase a bulky figure and tailored boots with internal risers that add inches to his already 6-foot-5 frame, Hargadon had to increase Marcus’ height. (played by 6-foot-4 actor Justin Cornwell), too. “We just constructed his boots so he appeared as if he was hovering over everyone,” Hargadon explains.

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The Umbrella Academy’s Tom Hopper (left) and Justin Cornwell wear boots that elevate them above the other actors and also put them on the same height.

Courtesy of Christos Kalohoridis/Netflix

Playing a size differential can also energize the comedy in a scene. On Apple TV+ the after party, overgrown bully Brett (6ft 3in Ike Barinholtz) trades insults with nerd-turned-superstar Xavier (5ft 7in Dave Franco) as the two relieve themselves in the urinals. Costume designer Trayce Gigi Field padded the shoulders of Brett’s leather motocross jacket for a “Vin Diesel-style” effect, she says, so he towered even more over Xavier, who is dressed in a purple brocade suit and without a shirt. “They are completely different and you also feel the animosity [between them]says Field.

On Hulu’s Mystery Comedy Only murders in the building (also Emmy-nominated for Outstanding Contemporary Costume), the varied sight lines of Upper West Side amateur sleuths Mabel (Selena Gomez, 5-foot-5), Oliver (Martin Short, 5-foot-7), and Charles (Steve Martin, 6ft) also play for laughs during their rapid-fire – and often improvised – banter. Costume designer Dana Covarrubias adds more than 5 inches to Mabel’s height via her notched-soled “cool boots” (as Oliver called them last season) to build on the millennial trio’s dynamic against baby boomers . “So she overpowers Marty and is able to harass him and tell him the deal and also see a little more eye-to-eye with Steve, and tell him the deal,” Covarrubias explains.

Of course, on HBO Buying Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty, height is an integral part of the basketball team chronicle in the victorious era of Magic Johnson (played by Quincy Isaiah) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Solomon Hughes). For storytelling, Emma Potter not only had to recreate the precise height dynamics among the people portrayed, but also point out that the players were “often larger than life or the sets and places around them.” To do this, she used a variety of heeled boots with hidden lifts, plus, “We built high, sculpted platform shoes using high-top sneakers as a base of support,” she says.

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In winning time6ft 11in actor Solomon Hughes (far left) wore custom shoes to bring him up to the actual character he plays, 7ft 2in Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Courtesy of HBO

On It’s us, costume designer Hala Bahmet uses costume subterfuge to support the series’ non-linear story parallels and various portrayals of key characters. Nowadays, 5ft 5in Kate Chrissy Metz gets along with her mother Rebecca (5ft 10in Mandy Moore). Cut to 90s grunge, with young adult Kate (5ft 1in Hannah Zeile) and Rebecca in the midst of a tough mother-daughter moment. “We gave [Zeile] Doc Martens boots with a three and a half inch heel,” says Bahmet. “Not only to maintain the authenticity of the character to match Chrissy, but to have the two shots together feel in the same frame.”

In addition to relying on augmented shoes and apple boxes on trays, smartly designed clothes can also deceive the eye. In the movie The more they fall, Regina King as “Treacherous” Trudy Smith is a force of nature, but at 5-foot-3 stands small next to her teammates. So costume designer Antoinette Messam created a custom plain blue Victorian dress with “buttons all the way down the front that made it look like it was going on.” Trudy’s final showdown with “Stagecoach” Mary (5-foot-7 Zazie Beetz) called for a simple fix to even the field. “We took Zazie’s hat off, but kept Regina’s,” Messam explains.

Or there is the case of maintaining a character’s stature for continuity, as in multiverse jumping Everything everywhere all at once. For an alternate reality inspired by Wong Kar-wai, Shirley Kurata accessorized protagonist Evelyn’s (Michelle Yeoh) majestic Elie Saab dress with appropriate high heels. Later, Evelyn runs to cursed love Waymond (Ke Huy Quan) in a romantic scene outside in the rain. “So we bought some platform sneakers to [Yeoh]”, Kurata said. “It’s much more comfortable and safer for her.

All of this clever design further underscores the fact that costume design isn’t just about clothes and props – the work literally shapes the stories.

This story first appeared in the July 20 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.