“The Spoils of Babylon”
January 31, 2014
“The Spoils of Babylon” is an American comedy miniseries written by Matt Piedmont and Andrew Steele, directed by Piedmont and starring Tobey Maguire, Kristen Wiig, Tim Robbins, Will Ferrell, Jessica Alba, Val Kilmer, Haley Joel Osment and Michael Sheen. Although “Spoils” has the makeup of a traditional miniseries, with generous doses of tragedy, lust, forbidden love, death, wealth and destruction, it is intended to be a spoof of the “TV events” that were prevalent on network television in the 1970s and 1980s.
Hosted by “famous author” Eric Jonrosh (played by Will Ferrell), a moribund character bloated with self-importance, Babylon’s movie-within-a-movie follows the multigenerational story of the Morehouse family, whose members are played by Robbins, Maguire and Wiig. Spanning from the 1930s to the 1970s, the miniseries showcases unique vintage backdrops and beautiful vintage clothing.
According to Costume Designer Trayce Gigi Field, “both Will and Kristen were willing partners in all the silliness and seriousness of their costumes. They were onboard with my ideas [and] it’s lovely to feel like you are working as a team. You want the actors to feel good and to feel like the characters [they are playing] while in costume. That’s the whole goal of my job!”
One of Field’s favorite costumes is the one she designed for Ferrell’s Jonrosh, which needed to convey the big personality and stature of a bombastic Orson Welles-type character. Field worked with Bill Hargate Costumes in West Hollywood to have a fat suit built to fit Ferrell’s tall frame. She rented his brown fedora, overcoat, shirt, pants with suspenders, socks, shoes and heavy knit scarf from Universal’s costume department, and the vintage, oversized sweater from ABC Studios costume department.
Field also was thrilled when she found at Palace Costume the vintage two-piece pink dress and cape with a jeweled neck for Wiig’s character.
“It’s so beautifully vintage. It’s the piece of wardrobe that I get [most] excited to see on screen. It moves perfectly; it’s like magic when Kristen walks in this ensemble. She works the cape with just the right amount of flourish.” Field completed the look with vintage silver-etched and semi-precious stone earrings from her own collection and delicate silver shoes, which she rented from Universal Costume.
“The biggest challenge of ‘Spoils’ was creating the vintage looks and custom-built looks with a conservative budget. I want to say thank you to the vendors that supported me and gave me a break when I needed it,” Field said.
“The Spoils of Babylon” is taking America back in time to live a hilarious and epic drama, breaking viewership records for IFC at 2.7 million viewers.