“The Brothers Grimsby”
February 26, 2016
Paco Delgado owes Victor Hugo a large debt. As the Oscar-nominated Costume Designer on director Tom Hooper’s “Les Misérables,” Delgado dressed Eddie Redmayne as Marius and Sacha Baron Cohen as crooked innkeeper Thénardier.
The Madrid-based designer netted a second Oscar nomination for Hooper’s “The Danish Girl,” which starred Redmayne as transgender pioneer Lili Elbe. Four years after “Les Miz” won three Oscars, a new Delgado and Baron Cohen project returns to theaters, the action/comedy “The Brothers Grimsby.”
Baron Cohen plays Norman “Nobby” Butcher, a football hooligan and family man who never stopped looking for the little brother who left their orphanage to be raised by a different family. Nobby reunites with his brother, top MI6 agent Sebastian Butcher (Mark Strong), and they team up on a dangerous mission.
No simple buddy caper, Strong described the story as “moron crashes action movie.” Baron Cohen said his character is “a new action hero–except he’s drunk.” To make that moron convincing, however, was a tough job.
“As an audience member, I love comedies, but I find them very, very hard to do,” Delgado said. “You don’t want the costume to be extremely funny. If you give everything away with a costume, there isn’t enough surprise. Comedy works when things are out of place, but not as much as to lose you.”
Delgado collaborated with Baron Cohen and the hair and makeup departments to develop Nobby’s look. He wears a short-sleeve football (soccer) jersey featuring the emblem of a fictitious team. His awkwardly cropped, distressed jeans, Adidas slides with white anklet socks and aggressive sideburns help exaggerate his lopsided proportions.
“The costume most complicated to do is Sacha’s. It’s very simple, but it took us a really, really long time,” Delgado explained. “We had to decide which colors, patterns, lines. Were they black or white? Do we show his knees, or not?”
Delgado built most elements of the costume, partly because trademark rules governing professional teams prevented using anything off the rack.
“We really wanted to create an iconic, simple costume,” the designer said. “Sometimes to find simplicity is the most complex thing.”
“The Brothers Grimsby” arrives in theaters on March 11.