“The Dinner”

May 18, 2017

Anna Wyckoff

During her research for the film The Dinner, Costume Designer Catherine George spent a lot of time looking at the soft light and glowing figures of Renaissance paintings. For her fourth project with director Oren Moverman, George created a tableau in which each character is recognizable at a glance. “We shot everything in the dead of winter, and all the dinner scenes are at night. We discussed classical paintings where it’s a setup for a dramatic situation, with people seated around a table. It was very intense deciding what each character would wear,” George explains, “because they wear the costumes throughout the movie, except for the flashbacks.”

The film focuses on two estranged brothers (Richard Gere and Steve Coogan) and their wives (Rebecca Hall and Laura Linney) meeting for a difficult conversation about their children. The characters all have different agendas based on their goals and backstory, making each of their costumes a distinct character study. “It was nice dressing Steve in a flashback as a schoolteacher, in that classic American style, which he thought was quite funny. Dressing Richard Gere was also a treat. I’d done a movie before with Richard playing a homeless man, so this time it was nice to put him in Armani,” chuckles George.

The fixed interior lighting of the film also meant George had to focus her color palette on the wives, and in doing so try to show their differing agendas and perspectives. “I wanted to insert color into the scene and it had to be the ladies because the men were in suits. The costumes are subtle, but they tell you almost everything you need to know about the characters in a glance. I enjoyed coming up with that.”

The Dinner is in theatres now.

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