“The Hitman’s Bodyguard”

September 8, 2017

Anna Wyckoff

Costume Designer Stephanie Collie relishes the opportunity to dress men in films. From period to contemporary projects, she tries to bring a sense of style that adds a subtle flourish to every character. Working on The Hitman’s Bodyguard presented her with several distinct design problems. For instance, with the exception of flashback scenes, the principles appear mostly in a single outfit, which had to become a recognizable, signature look. “The audience has to know immediately who the character is by that one costume,” she explains. “That’s always harder than finding multiple outfits.”

Collie kept the silhouettes distinctive for both the hitman and his bodyguard. She was also intrigued by the psychological overlap between good and evil. “I think that was important to show that it’s a very thin line and at the end of the day they are almost the same, coming to the same courtroom,” she notes.

Among inspirations for the bodyguard, Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds) Collie includes Cary Grant in North by Northwest. “I love that idea of the classic grey suit,” she says. “You know, despite being down in the dust and the dirt, you get up, you brush it off, and just carry on. That was a big influence on me.” With the hitman, Darius Kincaid (Samuel L. Jackson) she used pieces with a more casual, laid back feel. When Kincaid is with his wife (Salma Hayek), Collie strategically chose a Hawaiian shirt to make the character more vulnerable and sympathetic to the audience.

Having designed a number of action films, dealing with multiples is another issue that Collie is well acquainted with. That meant making sure stunt doubles had suits cut precisely like the principles, despite vast differences in size between the stuntmen and Jackson or Reynolds (both 6′ 2″). “Sometimes you have one stunt man that’s five foot eight and another who is a bit heavy. We had so many fits. Even though the costume might be just a moment on camera and you don’t know it was a stunt man, it still needs to look just as good.”

Collie ensures that the clothing helps the actors do their best work by making comfort a priority. “At the end of the day I wouldn’t want them to feel like they’re wearing a costume. It always has to feel like real clothes to me.”

The Hitman’s Bodyguard from Lionsgate Films in in theatres now.

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