12.19.97

Making Cherry

A Real Life Ongoing Soap Opera and Instruction Manual About the Making of a Movie Called "Cherry"


 

Locations:
Production Office: Daily stuff

Tech Scout: Remaining locations

 

Principals:
Office: Skeleton

Most everyone scouting

cherryNAVmenu.gif (1546 bytes)

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The Story in a Shirt

Clothes make the character

On Wednesday night Mary Ann, the costume designer and Amy, her assistant, get together with Joe around 9 PM. The meeting was supposed to start at 8:00, but an earlier meeting--about the shooting schedule--had run long.

Jon, who was also in the scheduling meeting, sat down and got a quick tour through Mary Ann’s book. He had some ideas about Dottie’s wardrobe ("She’s the one I couldn’t picture," he said. "It should be like (Welcome to the) Dollhouse, but not just like it.") and Leila’s ("Those pajamas are good, I think you’ve got that right."), and agreed with us all that Menu Man looked good no matter what he wore. And then he left. He’d been rehearsing all day with Leila, Menu Man and Evy, and wardrobe is Joe’s area. Elizabeth sat in at the start, too, though she soon retreated, reluctantly, to hone the schedule.

Mary Ann, Joe and Elizabeth with their eyes closed

Mary Ann started her presentation much the same way she had to the Makeup and Hair Keys the afternoon before. She had only spent about 20 minutes with Leila, she said, so they’d just gone through some of the pajamas she would wear in the scenes in which she’s lounging around her house. She then moved on to Dr. Beverly Kirk, a handsome but fumbling gynecologist, with whom Leila has an appointment early on in the story to learn about how to make her baby.

Kirk wears a lab coat at his office, as doctors do, and a tweedie brown jacket away from it, as shy men do. The answers for Kirk are so obvious there isn’t much need for discussion, although Mary Ann has tried putting him in sneakers and rain boots ("to make him feel friendly"), but Joe doesn’t think either works. In another of the photos he’s wearing dark casual shoes, Rockports perhaps, and they seem to be the answer.

Next is Dottie, played by Heather Mattarazo, who made a very distinct inpression in Welcome to the Dollhouse. In Cherry she plays off of Darcy, a blonde bombshell played by Aleksa Palladino. Both are waitresses in Leila’s muffin shop, and their desultory banter is a running joke.

Heather has blossomed into "the epitome of the adolescent," Mary Ann says, and is appalled at the idea of looking dorky in another movie. And, she points out, it isn’t so much that she’s a dork, it’s just that she has aspirations to be cool that she can’t fulfill. She’s always just one beat off.

"That’s the joke," confirms Joe.

Amy with shirt

In any case, the various costumes Mary Ann and Amy have put together, featuring bell-cuffs on a polyester blouse, odd arrangements of corduroy and flowered denim, and pretty consistently dorky shoes, don’t really work. Part of it is Darcy’s flash, she wears Betsey Johnson, and part of it is because Heather has grown up a little and isn’t as ready to play degraded. It’s hard not to picture her as the character in Dollhouse. And she isn’t. She wasn’t then.

"Aleksa’s story," Mary Ann says, as she does for each of the characters, "is her red bra. No matter what we put her in we can see the straps of her red bra." Heather’s story, she goes on, is her slight "offness," she just can’t get it right. Laurel’s story, and Isaach’s too, are that they look great in everything, so it’s just a matter of choosing.

Mary Ann says that David McCallum, who plays Mammy, pointed out during his fitting that his character’s story is his neck. Or rather the wrinkles on his neck. "Which Mammy feels compelled to cover up with scarves and turtle necks. Not that David McCallum feels that way."

By the time the meeting ends it’s close to 11 PM, all the principal characters have been discussed and decisions have been made. In some cases Wardrobe already had options picked out and would do another fitting before making final decisions. In others their strong opinion (Menu Man’s wedding suit, in the photos, looked to be a very sharp brown suit that Isaach brought in, but Mary Ann and Amy felt so strongly that the black velvet suit they had found for him, which in the photo looks cool but a little slovenly, was perfect, Joe went along with them.) held sway.

And slowly but surely the styles of the characters’ costumes are put together.

  Peter Kreutzer

 

monday

 

(c) 1997 Peter M. Kreutzer