Denzel Washington as Bobby and Mark Wahlberg as Stig in Universal Pictures' "2 Guns." Costume Design by Laura Jean Shannon. Photo credits: Universal Pictures.

“2 Guns”

August 2, 2013

Based on the BOOM! Studios graphic novels by Steven Grant, “2 Guns” is a Texas-set action thriller about undercover government agents Robert “Bobby” Trench (Denzel Washington) and Michael “Stig” Stigman (Mark Wahlberg) as they infiltrate the drug world and connive to rob a ruthless Mexican cartel head named Papi Greco (Edward James Olmos).

According to Costume Designer Laura Jean Shannon, the aesthetic for the film was heavily influenced by “Spaghetti Westerns of the 60s and 70s, like ‘Once Upon a Time in the West.’ We had a very contained and controlled palette for all of the characters’ costumes and approached ‘2 Guns’ with the concept of it being a modern-day Western,” she explains.

Both leads posed design challenges, Shannon adds, because as undercover agents, Bobby and Stig required design strategies for both their true and alternate identities. “They had two personas each that had to have distinctions between their true selves and the undercover roles they played—but [those looks] also had to seamlessly integrate,” Shannon says. “It was important to convince the audience of the authenticity of who our heroes were, as much as it was to convince the antagonists in our story—since we are introduced to Bobby and Stig as alter personas before we know their true identities.”

Bobby’s undercover work in the cartel world required “some really fun character pieces, including some customized jewelry and hats made expressly for him from Stetson or sourced from Goorin Brothers and Kangol,” Shannon says. “Denzel in particular has a very evolved process and is heavily invested in really exploring the reasons his character, Bobby, makes all the choices he does for his wardrobe—which is a great journey of discovery.”

Mark Wahlberg’s character, Stig, emulates the Western theme incarnate, taking on the cowboy look in “trademark Georgia Boot Company boots” and an aged-within-its-life Levi’s trucker jacket that was screened with 1930s tattoo art sourced by Shannon. “Mark was very open to exploration and it was fun to see him morph into Stig once those jeans and boots went on.”

As with any summer blockbuster, “2 Guns” required the interplay of several powerhouse teams—from Director Baltasar Kormákur, Production Designer Beth Mickle and D.P. Oliver Wood to Shannon’s support system in the costume department. “Fellow CDG members Tabitha Johnson, Andrea Sweet and Rebecca Gregg all played integral roles as my assistant designers in New Orleans, New Mexico and some prep and fittings in Los Angeles,” Shannon notes. “Having such a hard working team makes bringing concept to reality a great shared adventure!”

You can see Bobby and Stig in their cavalier glory now—“2 Guns” opens this weekend in theaters nationwide.

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