I Am the Night

Feb. 1st, 2019

Anna Wyckoff

Seeped in the darkest aspects of Hollywood history and legend, I Am the Night is inspired by the 2008 memoir One Day She’ll Darken written by Fauna Hodel (India Eisley). The story of a girl whose exploration into her family background leads her to face the possibility that her grandfather, Doctor George Hodel, is a prime suspect in the horrific, 1947 murder of Elizabeth Short, more commonly known as the Black Dahlia. The dark subject matter was a launch pad for Costume Designer Rhona Meyers to explore a fascinating range of characters and periods.

Telling that tale meant several decades of clothing to portray—from the 1940s through the 1960s—and capturing those periods was a prospect that Meyers relished. “I love my background actors and I think they’re just as important as everybody else,” says Meyers. But the first order of business was to show the lead character’s transition from rural Sparks, Nevada to Hollywood as she investigates her dark family background. “My job as a costume designer is to make the actor feel like they are stepping into the skin of the character they are portraying. Fauna goes from 1950s full skirts and little white blouses and sweaters to being a teenage woman,” she explains.

The project allowed Meyers to explore not only the gritty underbelly, but the glamorous, evocative images of old Hollywood with which we are all familiar. To portray Jay Singletary (Chris Pine) the disgraced “hack” journalist whose obsession with George Hodel was both downfall and potential redemption, Meyers considered 50s icons like Paul Newman and James Dean. For performance artist Corinna (Connie Nielsen) she conjured images of Veronica Lake and Audrey Hepburn. “The whole movie is basically an art movie,” she enthuses, “it’s about artists and surrealists and each party showed a different group of people.”

Another aspect of the project that attracted Meyers was the prospect of working again with director Patty Jenkins. “She has a vision and she knows what she wants, but she’s open to talk about things and we just share ideas really well.” Meyers found the scope and breadth of the project stimulating but satisfying. “It was a challenging project but it allowed me to be creative and do a great period piece and tell the complex but true story of an amazing woman.”

I Am the Night is a limited series on TNT.

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