The Back-Lot podcast talks with costume designer Kim Bowen, who worked on the film Welcome to the Rileys starring Kristen Stewart, James Gandolfini and Melissa Leo. Bowen talks about working on the film with director Jake Scott and the level of commitment from each of the three stars. She also talks about the costume designer profession as a whole and the difference between working in films and commercials.
Here are some excperpts of Bowen’s interview talking about Stewart:
Getting the perfect look for Stewart’s character of Mallory:
“Kristen Stewart was a challenge because she is really, really elegant. She is one of the most naturally elegant people I have ever encountered. She just had a natural thing about her body, the way she is shaped and the way she moves. She is an extremely gifted actress and I don’t know if that is part of what lends her as such an expert interpretation of clothes."
Kristen is a very courageous actress. She wanted to be fully that character of Mallory. She didn’t care about looking beautiful; in fact she thought quite the opposite. She had the make-up artist cover her with bruises and cold sores. Kristen looked a wreck half the time. She didn’t have any desire to be physically perfect.”
Welcome to the Rileys tells the story of Gandolfini and Leo, as Doug and his wife Lois who are dealing with the death of their teenage daughter. On a business trip to New Orleans, Doug meets teenage stripper Mallory. After turning her down at the strip club where Mallory works, Doug offers to pay Mallory $100 a day if he can stay for a while, get his head together. No sex. No strings. Lois soons joins Doug in New Orleans, and the couple try to heal their broken lives and save Mallory’s in the process.
“We went through three different paths to get her wardrobe right. The first time it was a stylist’s dream, she looked amazing. A modern version of Jodie Foster in “Taxi Driver,” she just looked amazing. We then realized it was wrong, she looked too good. We wanted to have her look more fragile.”
”In the end, we had to really strip it down. She ended up wearing large over-size clothes, hiding herself. You only get to really see her fully in her stripper outfits, very crude -what a young girl would think sexy looks like.”
Kristen Stewart’s investment in the character:
“Kristen is a very invested actress. She has been doing the Twilight films, and it was very important to her to play this character with a real dose of reality. I don’t think she wanted anything frivolous out of it, I don’t think she wanted to be glamorous. That wasn’t important to her, she wanted it to be real.”