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Oscar winning costume designer Colleen Atwood


08-05-2016 01:04 BJT

You might not know her by name, but costume designer Colleen Atwood's visual impact on the silver screen has hardly gone unnoticed.  So far, she's picked up three Academy Awards for Best Costume Design in "Chicago", "Memoirs of a Geisha" and "Alice in Wonderland", with another seven nominations. And she shows no sign of stopping there. We hear what she has to say about working on her latest project with "The Huntsman".

"The Huntsman"

"The Huntsman"

For Oscar-winning costume designer Colleen Atwood, it's all about the detail.

In 2012, she earned her tenth Academy Award nomination, this time for her meticulous work on "Snow White and the Huntsman". A few years later, Atwood was asked to return to the fairy tale realm once again for 2016 follow-up, "The Huntsman: Winter's War".

The film, which was part sequel and part prequel to the first movie, saw actors Chris Hemsworth and Charlize Theron reprise their roles as Eric, the huntsman, and Ravenna, the evil queen.

"Well I felt with Chris' (Hemsworth) character, he was sort of the base. The guy that runs through from the first one that has sort of evolved and has gone to a more different place. There's a lot of flashbacks with him back and forth, but it was really great to use him as my rock in the huntsman army and the building up of it as a backstory," said costume designer Colleen Atwood.

New to the cast was Emily Blunt, who played Freya, Ravenna's sister.

The siblings become enemies in the story, so Atwood was keen to go for vastly different costumes for the two characters.

"Freya's story - and that was incorporating the northern European ice world and taking sort of a southern European approach with Ravenna with gold and all the decadence of that world and sort of colliding them," said costume designer Colleen Atwood. 

However, it's Theron who wears some of the most impressive costumes. One stand out item is a cape made of hand-painted gold feathers, which weighed about 50 pounds.

"They are all gold foil and feathers so they have to be done individually. So we had these boxes of feathers and then I had a group of young interns gold foiling the feathers and then once they were gold foiled we sat them on these styrofoam plates and we had this room full of feathers of waiting to get put on the cape.It was so beautiful. It was like being in a gold cage of all feathers. And then we'd start at the bottom of the cape and start with the wide part with the bigger feathers and attaching them to the cape, so it's a long process. It took a month and a half really to get from A-Z to get two capes made with probably about four people working on it the whole time," said costume designer Colleen Atwood.

Despite spending months working on one single costume, Atwood didn't get emotionally attached.

"By the time you've worked on it that long you do kind of want it to go away for a while. It's fun to go back and see it later, but it's nice that it's out of the room and you can move on to something else. It's like getting your kid out of grade school and in middle school," she laughed.

You can see Atwood's efforts when "The Huntsman: Winter's War" is released on DVD and On Demand on August 23.

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