You can learn a lot about a character – and an actor – talking to a film’s costume designer. Here, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse’s Tish Monaghan reveals a few secrets from the wardrobe closets:
• Robert Pattinson wanted to wear karate pants for the training sequence. “So we got him some karate pants, and it’s like the crotch hangs down to the knees, and I just thought, Ugh. Who’s gonna go for this? Because everything has to be approved by Summit,” Monaghan says. “We took them in a little bit, and they loved the karate pants. Who knew? I was so surprised.”
• Even at the film’s premiere, people squealed when Taylor Lautner turned around in that black T-shirt. “It was almost embarrassing. I felt so bad for him,” Monaghan says, with a laugh. “They were screaming and going ‘Wooooo!’” As she’d done on New Moon, her M.O. was to put him in smaller size Gap or Banana Republic T-shirts to emphasize his biceps, tightening the tees around the arm holes and taking them in down the side. (Pattinson wore Gap T-shirts, exclusively, she adds. “They were what fit him best. They had the best colors. So that’s what he ended up wearing, even when Edward takes Bella up to the tent. It may strike people as odd, but he doesn’t feel temperature, so that’s why we only put him in a shirt, and Bella’s all bundled up, and Jacob, of course, is running around shirtless.”
• Rosalie’s wedding dress was the star of a deleted scene: For Rosalie’s flashback to the 1930s, Monaghan’s department both rented original period dresses and made two ensembles – the one she wore when she was attacked, and her wedding dress. “Unfortunately in the film, we only see her arriving at the door,” Monaghan says, of the latter’s entrance. “I’m not sure why the scene with her floating down the hallway was cut out – maybe it’s because the element of surprise had a stronger impact. They didn’t want us to know in advance who was coming to the door. But we made a silk train for her that floated down the hallway as she kind of hydroplaned down the carpet. [Actress Nikki Reed] was mounted on a contraption, almost like a bicycle seat, and the camera was in front of her and to the side, and she just when whoooooooosh. She was rolled down the hallway at quite the speed and a fan would blow up her veil so that it was trailing behind her. It looked wonderful. The train itself was probably about 10 or 12 feet, and then the veil went beyond that.”
• Riley (Xavier Samuel) has great taste in victims: “The sensibility of all of the newborns, including Riley, is that they’re scavengers. They’re going to steal pieces from whomever they find. Riley just happened to find somebody who was wearing a G-Star jacket and some really cool jeans,” Monaghan says, with a laugh. “Once he was turned, I just wanted to put him in something that was edgy and very contemporary. We wanted to make him young and powerful but still have this kind of dark sexiness to him. We found this great G-Star jacket for him and tight, tight jeans and a beautiful Paul Smith shirt. And then he had one other change after that, which was the same jacket and tight reddish maroon jeans, which for us was important because once he got into battle with the Cullens and the werewolves, we had to separate the newborns from the Cullens color-wise. We had to make sure that there wasn’t any confusion as to who was on whose team when a body was flying through the air. So with the Cullens, we intentionally put them in black, dark navy or dark gray. With the newborns, we put them in earth tones and hints of brighter colors.”
• There’s a bit of old Victoria in new Victoria. “Because of the transition from Rachelle Lefevre to Bryce Dallas Howard, we decided that the first time that we saw Victoria, we should definitely put her into pieces of the costume that we had last seen Victoria wearing in New Moon, just so that the audience, aside from her large mane of tangled red hair, would definitely know that this is who that character is. There’s all these things that you work on so hard, and then it ends up becoming such a subliminal thing,” Monaghan says. “Gradually, we transitioned out of that into something a little bit different to make it Bryce’s own character. Because she was going to be courting Riley, I wanted something that was dark and foreboding but still sensual, because she has to lure him. We made a black lace top with a zipper that kind of went around her neck, and you could unzip it as far down the front as was necessary. Just a romantic/punk look. It works really well with her red hair, and her skin showed through, and you could see that she was being a little bit of a siren and trying to work her magic on Riley.”
• Emmett wears lighter colors than the other Cullens to showcase Kellan Lutz’s muscles. “Absolutely,” Monaghan says, when asked if this theory about his Old Navy hoodie is correct. “I also knew that the focus was going to be on him and his chase with Victoria in the woods, so I just really wanted to make sure that he stood out amongst all the dark backgrounds…. You probably won’t notice, but I made a very conscious decision to have the Cullens move through the color palette. They’re in lighter colors when they first hunt Victoria. The next big scene, when they’re in their workout wear, they’re in sort of midtones. Then when they have the final battle, that’s when I put them all in black, because I wanted them to be more stealth-like.”
• A lot of work goes into seconds of screen time. Take the newborn army Jasper (Jackson Rathbone, in a uniform purchased from a company that clothes reenactment societies, then aged as though he’d been riding in the desert for months) trained in his Civil War flashback. “It’s so fast, but for us, we have to do the work and prepare for that scene just as much as we would for any character,” Monaghan says. “They were scavengers from the 1800s, so it was a mix of garments that they grabbed from different armys, bankers, merchants, hookers.” The siren who turned him and leads the army is actually wearing his jacket and sash over her skirt. “That’s just me trying to show the link between the two of them,” she says. “For us, it’s the challenge in doing all of these thematic linkings that makes our job worthwhile. It’s important to do it, even if nobody else notices.”
• It takes a village to build a village. Unearthing what the Quileute tribe would have been wearing in the 1700s, before photography, was another challenge. Monaghan turned to ship logs from explorers who landed on the Pacific Coast and described the natives’ jewelry, their cedar bark clothing, and their dog-haired blankets. She looked at works by artist Paul Kane, and visited two Canadian museums of archeology with extensive native artifacts unearthed from burial sites. “We took all of this, and we said, ‘How are we gonna make this cheaply?’ Because we found someone was selling a recreated cedar cape online for $25,000 a garment. We ended up making them out of ground cover used in landscaping. We got something like 200 feet for $25,” Monaghan says. “So I had a whole team of people who made it one-time wear. We went to a taxidermist, and we got bones. We went to restaurants and got mussel shells. We went to another place and got abalone shells, which we used for our jewelry. We made hats out of straw baskets from Chinatown. We used wool blankets and raw silk. I was so happy with the outcome of recreating the Quileute village in the 1700s. I just thought it worked spectacularly for its, I think, 10 seconds of screen time.”
• You almost saw Kristen Stewart in a swimsuit. That’s what Bella was wearing in the script when she was saying goodbye to her mother and the sun. “Realistically, that’s never gonna look good on anybody if they’re just lying there. If they’re gonna dive into a pool and swim, maybe,” Monaghan says. “I just approached the director and said, ‘Listen, can we just do cutoffs or something instead?’ I think originally, we were going to shoot on location [in Florida], but instead, we shot in Vancouver. The temperature was not warm at all, and we wanted to keep them comfortable as well.”
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