October 3, 2014
Costume Designer Trish Summerville had the unenviable task of making the lithe and lovely Rosamund Pike look downright dowdy for scenes in the movie adaptation of the Gillian Flynn novel “Gone Girl.”
But Pike had a difficult task of her own—gaining 12 pounds, then losing it, then gaining it again during filming. The shooting schedule and Pike’s fluctuating weight kept Summerville busy adjusting the fit and look of the star’s costumes to keep the plot focused, the suspense real and the character believable.
Director David Fincher shot the tightly wound mystery on a Los Angeles soundstage and in Cape Girardeau, Mo., land of the Ozark Mountains where Pike as Amy Dunne becomes rather glamour challenged—a look that Summerville and the crew called “Ozark Amy.”
Amy and her husband, Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck), were enviable New Yorkers, but they lose their magazine jobs and move to small-town Missouri to care for his ailing mother. Their five-year marriage—and her looks—begin their scary transformation.
“She’s gone from being this really fit, cool girl. But then she lets down her guard and eats everything that she wouldn’t before—big hamburgers, processed food and liters of Coca-Cola.
“David originally wanted her in muumuus or caftans, but when we tried those, you lost any sense of whether she was heavy or thin.”
To guide her sense of the character, Summerville imagined Ozark Amy buying clothes at Goodwill and Walmart. “She’d just swing through somewhere, very middle America, and pick up her clothes and supplies on a shopping trip,” Summerville said.
Fine-tuning her shape and silhouette required many of the costume designer’s tricks of the trade.
“I decided to do these knits that hug her bum and give her panty lines,” Summerville said. “She wears Spanx through part of the film because she is trying to hide her weight gain.” As those burgers and colas add up, her clothes become looser and Summerville tweaked the costumes’ silhouette.
“She wears boxy tops, and she stops wearing shorts and instead wears more jeans and pants. She’s layering and wearing really dowdy shapes.”
Violating nearly every principle of svelte dressing, Summerville put the star in granny panties, T-shirts trimmed to grip her belly bulge and clingy leggings that amplified her weight gain.
In addition to stuffing Ozark Amy into usually verboten body-conscious cuts, Summerville also shortened the hems of leggings to bisect the calves at their chunkiest. Same with the T-shirts, which were cut at the widest part of the hip and grabbed arms at the fleshy parts.
She didn’t stop there. To maintain the continuity of her figure changes, Summerville scoured near and far for silicone pads used to enlarge mastectomy bras, rear ends and other parts of the figure—wherever the extra volume would add verisimilitude. (Tip: Look for suppliers to female impersonators).
“Some you don’t really see, but they affected her movement. We put pads inside her thighs so that they would touch and she’d walk differently,” Summerville said.
The artificial curves of the costumes worked in concert with Pike’s interpretation of her evolving character.
“She was great, too, because she would change the gait of her walk when she became heavier. And she would slump her shoulders and tuck her bum under to have a more slovenly walking style,” Summerville said.
Of course, turning a gorgeous, glamorous movie star into an average mortal is actually a lot of work. Summerville meticulously aged and weathered clothes so that Ozark Amy could blend into a crowd in Anywhere, U.S.A., which cleverly added to her mysterious allure.
“Gone Girl” is now in theaters.