Actress Minnie Driver as Fiona in "About a Boy." Costume design by Roemehl Hawkins. Photo credit: Jordin Althaus/NBC.

“About a boy”

February 28, 2014

NBC’s new comedy series “About a Boy” is based on Nick Hornby’s best-selling 1998 novel about a single, unemployed and financially comfortable man, whose otherwise isolated existence is shaken when a needy single mother and her 11 year old son move in next door.

Will Freeman (played by actor David Walton) wrote a hit song years back and has been living off the royalties, chasing women and essentially keeping himself free from any sort of commitment. Soon after Fiona (Minnie Driver) and her son Marcus (Benjamin Stockham) move in next door, the youngster starts coming by Will’s place unannounced. Initially put-off, Will realizes that he can bait women by pretending to be a single father, so he and Marcus strike up trade—the kid pretends to be Will’s son, in exchange for free range and access to Will’s fun bachelor pad. Inevitably, however, they develop a true friendship.

Costume Designer Roemehl Hawkins says this series is quite a departure from her usual repertoire. “Especially the character of Fiona—it’s one of the most different projects I’ve ever had to do because it isn’t ‘fashiony.’ I had to pare back on that,” says the designer, known for her work in markedly fashionable and trendy series including “Mistresses,” “Devious Maids,” “Entourage” and “Desperate Housewives.”

For Fiona’s somewhat alternative style, Hawkins says she works closely with actress Minnie Driver to develop looks (it helps that the actress is a mother in real life, says the designer, and that she’s enthusiastic about trying original pieces). “Sometimes I’ll use recognizable designers, but mixed with off-the-beaten path items from, say, a thrift store in Topanga Canyon,” Hawkins says of Fiona’s unique duds. “I’d describe the look as ‘Bohemian meets Isabel Marant’.” A departure from the UK-set novel and 2002 film adaptation, this “About a Boy” is set in San Francisco, so Hawkins works with layering jackets and knits, as well, to develop a look that’s suited to the Bay-area weather.

Despite the less than fashion-forward feel of the show, the task isn’t without its unique design requirements, Hawkins says. In one season one episode, Will takes Marcus to a less than kid-friendly pool party hosted by guest star rapper Lil Jon. Instead of standard waitress and waiter uniforms, Hawkins opted to spray her pool party staff down with gold spray paint and outfit them in skimpy garments like lamé loin cloths. “Definitely not an appropriate pool party for a kid!” the designer says.

You can catch Will and Marcus’ “About a Boy” adventures on NBC Tuesdays at 9/8 pm c.

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