Interview: Discussing the intricate costumes and looks of ‘Everything, Everywhere, All at Once’ with Shirley Kurata, Michelle Chung and Anissa Salazar

Working on a movie like Everything everywhere all at once seems like a daunting task, especially when you’re responsible for creating the characters’ costumes and looks for each universe they inhabit. For costumer Shirley Kuratathe biggest challenge in approaching the film’s costumes was the short preparation time:

“It depends on how much prep time you have, as well as the budget. You need to put these factors in place. We can all agree that our prep time was succinct on this film. Did we have camera tests for this film or not?

Michelle Chung, the head of the make-up department, answered Shirley’s question and said, “We only had camera tests for the main character’s normal appearance. We found everything else while we were filming.

For the head of the hairdressing department Anissa Salazar, there were “a lot of collaborative meetings between the Daniels, the hair, makeup and costume departments. It was fun because we all brainstormed about each other and thought we had a bunch of similar ideas waiting, which was really fun.

Salazar added that creating the hairstyles for the film required a balance between what the Daniels wanted and their own take on the characters:

“We took a bit from the script, which the Daniels [Daniel Scheinert and Daniel Kwan] wanted, and then apply our own vision to them. For this film, in particular, it was important that the uniqueness and individuality of each character could be realized through the film and its multiple scenarios with a shared vision in the hair, makeup and costume departments. This shared vision is important because the main focus of the film is a sensory experience for the audience.

For Chung, the collaboration was vital, especially taking direct inspiration from Shirley Kurata’s costumes:

“I was doing mood boards as I went, looking at the costumes and drawing inspiration from that, but also from images that I had drawn and ideas that I had thought of. I made sure that each look was very distinct because they all came from different universes.

Kurata added that all departments “were in constant communication via email, text, in person about what we had in mind, but also after fittings, talking to actors, trying things out, which direction we were going with.” From there, we can bounce off more ideas or variations, which means even more constant communication with each other.

When creating multiple looks for the same character, Salazar explained that “continuity didn’t matter to the Daniels. I remember them saying either “it doesn’t matter” or “trust us. Of course, because we were jumping between so many universes, continuity matters to some degree, but it was nice to know that it wasn’t going to limit us.

For the makeup department, one of the biggest challenges was figuring out how to tell each character’s looks apart, as they’re played by the same actors, as Michelle Chung explains:

“Work on Stephanie Hsuhaving the character of look different in each universe was my biggest battle because you want her to look different in each universe, but it’s the same face. You must then choose looks that are distinct from each other. For michelle yeo, I wanted to establish a very different Evelyn in the main world compared to everywhere else, to make sure we knew she was the worst version of herself. I made her the most tired and scruffy girl in this universe. But Evelyn might look a little better in any other universe to establish a difference between her character and the various universes she inhabits.

For Salazar, this process required “a lot of quick decision-making that had to happen on the spot. Thanks to the Daniels, they trusted us a lot and always said, “OK, cool. It is what you want to do that corresponds to this world; do it.” There wasn’t a lot of time to do make-up tests and things like that. We had to get ready the day before the shoot or the day of it, and there were a lot of quick changes happening.

While designing Jobu Tupaki’s multiple costumes, Kurata spoke of the multiple influences that inspired her for the character:

“In the movie star universe, we wanted to make her look more like a 1940s movie star, especially with the hair and makeup. I was mainly influenced by anime cosplay looks for some from the other scenes, especially for the star Gothic Lolita and K-Pop. I also like Japanese avant-garde fashion. It played a part in creating a confused Jobu look, which is the look where she all the different elements before she’s almost sucked into the bagel.

What’s great about Jobu is that she changes her costume multiple times during any given scene, especially during the one where she’s fighting some police officers in a hallway. Kurata revealed that “she wasn’t supposed to change that often because she was originally supposed to get shot in the Elvis costume, but I had told the Daniels there was a budget issue that I didn’t know if we could get many Elvis costumes. made. You probably need at least five if we’re going to spit her up and make her bleed.

We found something else that was much easier: the Luchadora look. I was able to get multiples pretty quickly. Because we’re limited by time and budget, we’re able to change, and that works in a positive way because seeing her change so quickly made it so much more fun and exciting.

When designing Michelle Yeoh’s hair, Salazar explained how difficult it was to make her as less glamorous as possible than her “normal” look at the tax office:

“Her manager was with us during the shoot, and she was always like, ‘Enough is enough!’ I created a specific gray in her hero wig, and she was like, ‘Okay, that’s too gray!’ we still have to age her a bit [laughs]. In this specific part of the film, her hair is shattered. She was not well tied up. Evelyn is everywhere. Michelle trusted us enormously, which was the biggest reward in the end. She was a team player and we were always on the move.

We have all worked in independent cinema and started our careers in commercials where time and budget are limited. Between all of us having that experience, it felt like the most passionate indie film you’ve ever worked on, because everyone in their departments was so passionate and creative and pulled out all the stops.

I feel like you can see that on the screen. He translates it so well. People cared about it and wanted it to work. Although we all had concerns, questions and challenges, no one resisted. You just trusted the process and did it, and everyone was happy at the end, which was fantastic.

Everything Everywhere All at Once is now available to rent or purchase on video on demand.

[Some quotes were edited for length and clarity]

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