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HomeAwardsContender – Costume Designer Julie Weiss, Hitchcock

Contender – Costume Designer Julie Weiss, Hitchcock

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Julie Weiss

As soon as costume designer Julie Weiss found out there was a script floating around about Alfred Hitchcock, she knew she had to be involved. Weiss, who has been nominated for Academy Awards for her work on Frida (2002) and Twelve Monkeys (1995), knew the film was what every costume designer dreams of. “Hitchcock was such an extraordinary character because when you think of Hitchcock, you think of the man, you think of the black suit, you hear the music, but you also remember what he’s done – and then you have someone like Anthony Hopkins playing Hitchcock and Helen Mirren as Alma,” Weiss explained.

The making of the film was a “prism” of delightful factors for Weiss who reveled in working with director Sacha Gervasi, the actors and the creative crew. The glimpse into the world of Psycho itself was also unforgettable. “Just to be there one more time, not with exactitude, but just to walk in and see the set, see the soundstage on the lot come to life. I just wanted to be witness and that’s what this was,” Weiss said.

Helen Mirren and Anthony Hopkins star in Hitchcock. (Photo By Suzanne Tenner).

Weiss did a substantial amount of research for both Hitchcock’s world and the time period, and thoughtfully worked to realize the costumes, but the triumph for her was so much more than just the design process. “You see someone like Hopkins, he’s coming from hair and makeup and you are fitting him. He puts that black suit on,” Weiss recalled. “He begins to speak and you realize it might not be exactly Hitchcock but at the end of that day he is Alfred Hitchcock. You hear the voice, and you remember the scene and you see him with Ed Gein, you see him on the set of Psycho, but then you see him with [his wife and collaborator] Alma, and Alma can make him feel bewildered, small. And this is why I went into this business. I went into it so that I could be there whether it’s past, present or future.”

The spirit on the set was one of an old theater group, filled with camaraderie, devotion and creativity. “Hitchcock was a small film shot in a very short time, and the crew was small but everybody helped. You had to have a crew who believed in these pages and these actors so much, because we knew that this had to be done, and it had to be done well and respectfully but with a level of fantasy. If you do that, I thoroughly believe the camera catches that and the camera will dance. It will pick up that aura of passion and belief in something.”

Weiss’ achievement on Hitchcock was borne out of a desire to be part of a world that no longer exists but that is still just as meaningful and sublime and what she has created is just as notable as the cinematic history the film recreates.

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