Director Bill Pohlad‘s Love & Mercy follows the story of Beach Boys leader Brian Wilson as he struggles with psychosis from the 1960s to the 1980s. Helping to create both eras was costume designer Danny Glicker, who is known for his work on Up in the Air (2009), This Is the End (2013) and Milk (2008), the latter for which he was nominated for an Academy Award. Glicker was immensely thrilled to be a part of Love & Mercy because he’s been a Brian Wilson fan for a long time. “When they sent me the script, I was really smitten, I was really excited about it and then for me when it really clicked was earlier on in the script when I met Melinda (Elizabeth Banks) in the story and that moment I just realized that this was going to be a much richer and expansive story than I had even imagined when I considered it,” said Glicker.
The exhaustive research Glicker did for this project was especially fun. But it was vigorous too and the costume designer dove into it very intentionally. “[The characters] are so well known and I feel like on one hand, you have to nail every detail so accurately that relates to the part of their lives that are known, both in the presentation of the story and for your understanding of the physical world that it was, then on the other hand there’s this huge responsibility to go into the story and find a lot of examples in the research of details that weren’t known. And it’s not just behind the scene stuff, but it’s stuff that really reflected the nuances of the world that they lived in and the world that was a little bit more private,” he explained.
Color played a big role in this film. The director had a fascinating relationship with color where he favored subtle plays. Color was used to express emotional things that existed beyond the literal. “The major thoroughfare, the throughline was the blues. We really used it in very interesting ways,” Glicker said. There was the blue of the water, of Melinda’s dress, of physical things, but also it was used to be a soothing mood that sometimes receded and sometimes emerged.
Glicker loved dressing these iconic characters. Each one was a joy to dress. There were many especially memorable moments. “To actually be in the room with Paul Dano as Brian Wilson and with the Wrecking Crew who were all real playing musicians was amazing. Even within the Wrecking Crew, I got to design the characters, which was an unbelievable pleasure,” he said. The character of Melinda was also exciting, because she was someone who used clothes in a way that was empowering and glamourous. “I loved working with Elizabeth Banks to create Melinda because there was this wonderful tension of this glamorous career woman and the amount of time she devotes to her presentation is a powerful indicator of her character.”