Luis Sequeira, “Carrie” (2013)
By Cassy Salyer, Oct. 31, 2012
Costume Designer Luis Sequeira began his career as a fashion designer, inspired by his mother who designed wedding dresses in Portugal. After spending six years in fashion he made the transition into the entertainment industry, working as an Assistant Costume Designer on films such as “Mean Girls” and “Cinderella Man,” as well as serving as the costume conscience of numerous television shows. Though designing for film and designing for television have their own merits and processes, Sequeira credits his work in television for his ability to problem solve quickly in any situation.
That gift has carried over into film, aiding Sequeira in his work for “Carrie,” a modern-day reimagining of the 1976 film based on theStephen King classic, set to premiere next spring.
“In many people’s minds, [Carrie] didn’t need to be remade. The challenge for me was to stick to the feel of the original but not copy it completely, all while bringing it forward 30 years to the present day,” he says, noting that the film itself accomplishes this by taking the concept of bullying, for example, and applying it to modern day technology and social media to make the storyline more relevant to today’s audience.
The most blatant re-creation in the upcoming film is a scene in which a bucket of animal blood is dumped on Carrie White (played by actress Chloe Grace Moretz) at her high school prom, soaking her dress and sending her into a scorned telekinetic fury. The bloodysilk dress is a critical costume piece and Sequeira said they worked with eight different dresses in different stages of filming to ensure they got the “right look” for the blood. When the bucket was first dropped on Carrie, it needed to look wet, but not get everywhere, a feat he said was achieved using a gloss medium watered down with pigment.
“Chloe said she felt as though she were literally wearing a heavy, blood-soaked wet gown,” he recalls.
Conversely in later scenes the blood needed to appear darker and drier. They also had to decide whether to use stencils to apply the blood, or paint freehand. In the end Sequeira was able to achieve the dynamic splatter effect by freehand, as the stencil looked too staged.
Despite taking place in modern-day Maine, Carrie and her mother Margaret (played by Julianne Moore) both wear plain, modest looks, created to appear authentically homemade and more reminiscent of the 1930s and 1940s.
It was a delicate balance working with Director Kimberly Peirce to find and create pieces for Carrie – who is described as “a sweet but meek outcast whom Margaret has sheltered from society” – that would be drab and uninteresting to the general public, but also have some semblance of detail or a pattern that a sweet girl would wear.
“Carrie is a young girl who was troubled by her surroundings and upbringing,” he says. “There is nothing ‘designer’ about her… the more drab she was, the more [Kimberly] was happy.”
The central theme for Margaret’s clothing was “the loneliest floral in the world…with a few petals of a flower here and there, and then lots and lots of blank space,” Sequeira says of the timeless character, who is described as deeply religious, conservative and controlling.
In stark contrast to Carrie and Margaret, Sequeira’s vision for the girls who bully Carrie at school featured current fashions, albeit with different qualities between the two. He describes bully Chris Hargenson (played by Portia Doubleday) as “uber fashionable” with a sexual undercurrent to her clothing and style, whereas her accomplice Sue Snell (played by Gabriella Wilde), who comes from a perfectly happy family, had a much more relaxed and “normal” look about her. The distinction between the two is important to show that bullies can come in all shapes, sizes and styles.
Click here to watch the official trailer for “Carrie,” which is set for a March 2013 premiere.