Looking the Part

s there anyone who hasn't played dress up with a friend at some point in their lives? Put on fancy clothes, extravagant makeup, and done each other's hair to match the shoes? The people in this chapter do it for a living.

Whenever you see someone in a film, what that person is wearing has been, at the very least, approved by the director. At the most, it has been designed and built specifically for the actor who is wearing it. If the movie is a period piece—that is, set in a time period other than the present—all costumes have to be organized to enhance and not destroy the illusion. In a fantastic science fiction film like Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones or a historical romance like Shakespeare in Love, all the costumes, including those worn by the extras, have to be constructed from scratch.

Now that all of the costumes are taken care of, we need to finish outfitting our heroes. They need to have appropriate hairstyles for a period piece, or perhaps something new and exciting must be created. In Star Wars, the outfits and hairstyles worn by Ami-dala defined her character almost as much as any dialogue she spoke.

It is precisely because of this type of character identification that the director, and often the actor, works very closely with the costume and makeup designers and fabricators. They all work

together to bring the total character to life. If anyone falters, the character is the one who suffers.

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