Bad Times at the El Royale

Oct. 9th, 2018

Anna Wyckoff

Working with writer/director/producer Drew Goddard on Bad Times at the El Royale for 20th Century Fox meant a mandate rich in character and symbolism for Costume Designer Danny Glicker. “Drew is passionate about using archetypes,” Glicker enthuses. “So the entry point into the movie is that all these characters arrive at the hotel and they all seem to fit into some kind of understandable archetype. Then the movie, in a very smart way, dismantles what it is we thought we had just seen.”

To Glicker the design necessitated ensuring the backstory was manifested in the clothes from the outset. “The really important thing is the first visual statement made as each character enters the hotel,” he explains. “They’re bringing the world they’ve come from with them, so aging the clothes was the first clue for the audience. Aging is the hallmark of truthful clothes. I also thought the first look was an important part of the storytelling because we were really giving subtle hints at who the people are.”

Sometimes it was the one-of-a-kind discovery that made the character come together and that meant committing to pieces that had to be built not bought. “I found a very beautiful belt that I loved for Father Flynn [Jeff Bridges]. It just was the saddest belt. And rather than try to find them, knowing that we had to have so many, we literally just cast them.” In fact, the entire project turned into an exercise in bespoke clothing. Chris Hemsworth plays Billy Lee, a charismatic cult leader, whose highly detailed shirts became a symbol for the character himself. “The idea was that with all that embroidery, you’re seeing a man who’s literally wearing the labor of others. You’re seeing the handiwork of his followers and how a man through something as simple as his shirt is able to harness the work of others to his own benefit.” Additionally, Glicker created these seemingly one of a kind looks in multiples of 12 or more.

While Glicker credits his talented crew for the detailed and finished look, he feels his work would not have been possible without the backing of the entire film production. “The director and the actors, but also the producers were so supportive of the look of the movie. They understood that this is what we’re looking at for the duration of this story, so we better love it.”

Bad Times at the El Royale from 20th Century Fox is in
theatres Oct. 12, 2018.

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