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Hollywood & Sew On

Story: Sondra Grainger | Photo: Ben McShea
Jun 21, 2019
Hollywood & Sew On
There’s a sense of excitement and anticipation when you head off to see a film on the big screen. The special effects, music and cinematography all comes together to create the magic of movies. However, have you ever stopped to think just how many costumes each actor requires, or what’s involved in creating them? One of our local residents does.

“I’ve just completed 77 of exactly the same maroon coloured jacket for the male lead in the upcoming movie, ‘Monster Problems’, the first international feature film to be produced in the new Hemmant studios,” local costume maker, Margie Stafford, said. “Sometimes it’s very tedious, every copy has to be the same, continuity is important.”

It’s Margie’s previous projects that really showcase her attention to detail, problem solving and patience, all of which are required to create costumes for film.

“Making King Orm’s (Aquaman) suit and scales has been my favourite. We sewed over 40,000 manmade fish scales for his outfit. One boot took 1,300 scales and we had three different-sized scales on each boot.

“It took a team to create each individual scale with multiple layers to create the effects, then after two days of filming in water the scales lifted and they had to be stuck down again! It’s such an incredible process to be involved in.”

“For Thor, we had to make armour look like metal but be soft so stunt people didn’t get injured. Each character has a ‘glamour costume’ which is used for promotion, displays and events, then several costumes, sometimes in different lengths for close ups and effects, then the same costumes for stunt doubles. And at the end of the day, there’s repairs. It’s a huge, crazy business.

“I love the teamwork and comraderie, we value each others skills highly. We are makers, we love costume,” Margie said of her colleagues.

In between films, Margie creates amazing stage costumes for the Queensland Ballet, Opera Queensland and video clips. “I enjoy being busy,” she said.

So next time you’re at the cinema, save some popcorn for the credits, because you never know whose name might appear on the big screen.