When we left the cast and crew of 'The Spirit' yesterday , actor Dan Lauria (who plays commissioner Dolan in the film) expressed his enthusiasm for the wardrobe he had in director Frank Miller's modern noir vision of Will Eisner's comic.
"I loved the costume you picked out for me. Right out of Bart MacLane's closet," Lauria said, referring to the actor who appeared in over a hundred classic movies including 'The Maltese Falcon'.
Of course the most important costume to get right were the threads Gabriel Macht wore as The Spirit.
"I worked hard on Gabe’s costume because at first it looked really foolish, until we spruced you up with the black outfit and everything," Miller told reporters but credits costume designer Michael Dennison for bringing the leading man's look to fruition.
Of course, no one in the movie has a more flamboyant wardrobe than Samuel L. Jackson, who plays The Octopus. In the comics the Octopus' true face is never seen but he appears frequently in many outlandish disguises. The reader never gets any real sense of what he looks like, other than the white gloves he favors.
For the film, Jackson is clearly and consistently in the role but as a way of suggesting the comic book counterpart's penchant for disguises he wears a different costume each time we see him. One of the most eyebrow raising costumes is a Nazi uniform.
"The Nazi outfit goes back to The Third Reich thing that’s in the comic books," Jackson told reporters. "Yeah there’s a Third Reich element in the comics, but we just used it as an element in the film. That works very well.
"The Germans LOVED it! The Germans in Berlin, they were so hot for it. They thought Scarlett was the poster girl for this year," the actor enthused of co-star Scarlett Johansson's militaristic look.
"All of my costumes obviously directly correlated with Sam’s costumes," Johansson said, adding that they'd show here one of Sam's costume and then fit her for her matching outfit. "And it was always a quarter the size of Sam’s! I loved my Geisha costume just because... it’s a Geisha costume! You know, why not?"
"The big discovery for me was, Scarlett and I shared a make-up trailer. So when I was going in the morning, they’d be starting to making her up," Jackson said, "and I’d look at her – 'man, there’s some beautiful colors on her eyeshadow going on... Wow I should try some of that!' So I got my makeup artist to start experimenting with eyeshadow. And I would put it on and run to Frank! And he’d go, 'I love it!'"
Miller joked, "and he never looked back!"
"I’d go back to the trailer and go,' well if I’m wearing a Nazi outfit I should have lighting bolt eyebrows – Lighting Bolt Eyebrows – Frank!'"
For Sarah Paulson, who plays Ellen Dolan in the film, it was a different story.
"My character didn’t really have an over-the-top quality with the costumes or the look or anything. Which I kind of liked, and was also absurdly jealous of when we’d go in the makeup chair in the room when I see these pictures of the continuity in Eva and Scarlett," Paulson said. "Scarlett had these eyelashes with feathers coming off of them. It was amazing!"
The Paulson adds, "The thing I liked about the part was just that, there’s not a single woman in this movie who was a damsel in distress."
Check back on Monday where we talk about the strong women who surround 'The Spirit', the inspiration provided by Will Eisner and comics and the strange way that the cast members came together, even before there was a movie happening.
Look for 'The Spirit' in theaters on Christmas Day.