March 7, 2014
In the new ABC fantasy drama “Resurrection,” director Charles McDougall deals with one of the most unknowable questions—is there life after death?
Costume Designer Tom Broecker set the sartorial tone for the pilot episode, which begins with an 8-year-old boy (Landon Gimenez) awakening in a remote Chinese rice paddy. An immigration agent played by Omar Epps brings the boy to his Midwestern home, where Henry and Lucille Langston (Kurtwood Smith and Frances Fisher, respectively) tell the agent that there must be a mistake–their son, Jacob, died 32 years ago. Now they must deal with the idea that their son has returned from the dead, unchanged.
“The show is about what happens to us when people we thought were dead come back to visit us—how their return affects our lives, both in a positive way, but also sometimes a negative way,” Broecker said. “It brings back all the unresolved emotions of past history.”
The series is set in a small Missouri town in the present day, but the conceit of the show requires period costumes.
“The flashbacks take place at the moment of death. So in the pilot we have late 70’s, as well as early 90’s,” Broecker said.
With such a high-concept story to tell, Broecker was careful to establish character and themes.
“I chose the costume that Jacob wears in the pilot. It’s a red baseball style T-shirt, it was supposed to be his favorite tee when he was growing up in Springfield, Missouri.” Broecker added to the era-appropriate look with jeans, sneakers and socks.
“Like all things in pilots, this shirt became a point of much discussion,” said Broecker, who custom-made the shirts. “We went through many different graphics and many different colors of red. We also need 12 of them, so that was an issue when thinking about this costume, too. And there were two other boys playing the roles, so the ability to get multiples was important.
“The initial graphic was a cardinal and a baseball bat, which was eventually changed. It went through a few more versions of different animals before we landed on the panther,” said Broecker, who worked with the art department and the writer to select the best font and look.
“One of the things about the color of this costume is that it represents the return,” Broecker said. “We were very careful to use red nowhere else in the production because we wanted red to represent those people who were returning.”
Broecker himself won’t be returning to “Resurrection”—Costume Designer Emmie Holmes has taken the reins for the latest episodes.
“Resurrection” airs Sundays on ABC at 9 p.m., 8 p.m. central.