|Joes office, what used to be Joes office, is now
Wardrobe. Which means where there was once a nice open feeling, a nice open room around
his antique rolltop desk, there are now 5 racks of clothes and untold boxes of shoes. In
the corner, Mary Ann, the costume designer points, are five or six neatly stacked clothing
"Isaac Mizrahi sent those over," she says. "I havent had time
to sort through them yet."
Having a fashion model as your star makes the product placement persons job quite
a bit easier, at least when it comes to clothes. There are also cases of sneakers from a
multitude of manufacturers, stacked by the door. I wonder how any one person can keep it
Mary Ann, of course, does, because thats her job and shes a professional.
She now has racks of clothes out in the reception room, which is being used by the Art
Department. Wardrobe is encroaching.
"I come up with an idea about the character," Mary Ann tells me, "from
the script. And then I find clothes for her or him to wear in each scene. My job is to
develop their personas through their clothes."
Youd be surprised how many clothes.
On Tuesday Mary Ann is meeting for the first time with Kelly and J, make-up and hair
respectively, and the three will coordinate their individual takes on the characters and
figure out how to make them whole.
There are technical considerations, as well.
"Im concerned about the veil during the wedding," Kelly says to Mary
Ann. "Have you selected it?"
"Were developing the wedding clothes, both the flashback and present day,
here in house. We dont know yet about the veil."
"And the hat," J asks. "Because it will affect her hair. And the other
"Well," says Mary Ann, "were working on the wedding clothes and I
think well be making decisions up until the last minute. But well address
those issues in time. The wedding is being shot last, so, why dont we start at the
And she does, pulling out a loose-leaf binder full of photographs of each of the
characters in each of the outfits theyre to wear in each of the scenes. First up, of
course, is Leila, who is to be played by Shalom.
In the first picture she wears a Harvard football shirt as a night gown.
"Does she always wear Harvard?" Kelly asks.
"No. It is important for her character that she went to Harvard. It is the closing
comment in the first scene, Youll go to Harvard, first. But once
thats established and supported we have her in other things."
Mary Ann turns the page and in other photos Shalom stands wearing a variety of
sleepware styles. She describes each of the scenes-- there are many of themin which
Leila lounges around her house. In almost all of them she wears some kind of pajama. But
they are funny pajamas, fluffy and powder soft, like the ones little girls might wear.
"Shes like a little kid in a lot of ways," Mary Ann points out.
"What about the scene with the porno tapes?"
Mary Ann gets up and snakes her way through the chairs and shoes to Leilas rack.
(Each of the characters has her or his own section of a rack, marked with a circular white
piece of plastic with their name on it, as if they were a size.) She pulls out three
"These are what Evy (Leilas sister) brings to her, when shes watching
the tapes trying to figure out how to do it."
Thats "do it" as in "make a baby."
"Is Evy conservative?" Kelly asks, though Im not sure where the idea
comes from. Clearly Mary Ann is not, either.
"I see Evy as a really hip New Yorker," she says. "Evy thinks about what
shes wearing and consciously tries to look good. Both she and Leila grew up in
Manhattan, theyre Manhattanites, so theyre sophisticated, but Leila is more
"Have you done a day breakdown," Kelly asks. "Id like to see a
page breakdown. When Leila goes to the doctor for the first time, is that the same day
shes with her sister? And then at work."
"I have a breakdown, but it hasnt been updated yet. I havent had time
to incorporate the changes in the new script. But yes, its the same day."
"So she hasnt gotten dressed up for the doctor," Kelly continues.
"Shes wearing jeans..."
Mary Ann interrupts.
"I have Leila wearing khakis to work, that sort of thing. Shes the
boss, remember, and she tries to do well. She considers herself the entrepreneur of
muffins after all. So she pays more attention when she goes to work.
"Outside of work shes more like Shalom. Have you met Shalom yet?"
J and Kelly both shake their heads, no.
"Well, shes great. Shes unlike any supermodels, you both know
supermodels, shes unlike any supermodel youve met. And so Ive got Leila
taking on some of Shaloms feel.
"Shes a real bohemian, very Birkenstock. But then, as she starts to fall in
love, sort of, she starts trying to look better. For Kirk."
At this point the 2nd AD wends her way through the racks. She has to take J
and Kelly over to meet the actors. This will be their first consult. Chop, chop, its
time to go.
Mary Ann is frustrated. She has a fitting in 45 minutes, and a lot to do. But she also
needs to settle the creative issues. She has clearly worked out individual approaches to
each of the characters, and it is impressive how readily she can jump back and forth
through the script. This is the essence of filmmaking, where people in all kinds of
different positions are working to interpret the written words and apply them to real
Well, make believe real life.
The three try to figure out a way to squeeze in some more time on Wednesday.
"I can stick around," J says, "if that helps."
It does. Mary Ann has fittings. J and Kelly have a string of consultations. But there
may be another 45 minutes to meet, if they all hurry, before Mary Ann is to sit down with
Joe to hone the creative vision.
Theyd better hurry, theres a lot to discuss.