We were recently given the opportunity to conduct an e-mail interview with Ellen, which we present to you below this featurette from the movie:
HUG: Obviously you worked on the original Wall Street, did you feel like this was a continuation of your job there?
Ellen Mirojnick: Actually, yes. I felt that the original film opened the door to our perception of finance and Wall Street . WallStreet Money Never Sleeps closes that chapter.
HUG: As I understand it, you used the costumes to emphasise character traits, for instance reflecting Gekko’s shark-like personality in his suit. Can you explain how this came about and provide some additional insight?
EM: As the costume designer, I interpret the essence of the story thru the character’s imagery. This story has Gordon Gekko as an outsider. In this film, there’s a man who has nothing to do with the Street. He takes his time circling the story, sharking, until he finds a way to “feed” until he can. He Gekko’s up, and swims off to other waters.
HUG: Were there any other ways in which costume was used to tell the story?
EM: Costume is always used to tell the story. It is the film’s visual language. It is how we understand the story and the characters that inhabit the film.
HUG: To the layman, there seems to be much less scope for costume design on a contemporary film like Wall Street than on a period piece or a sci-fi film. How do you put your stamp on a movie where, by the very nature of the characters, they ought all to be wearing Armani suits?
EM: In my opinion, a contemporary film is the most difficult to design. Most people don’t realize what actually goes into the making of it. I have always liked replicating the time and place that we live in. I love creating history. It is the contemporary film that will be the period piece in 20 years! It will be the piece that documents our history. To create a contemporary film, there are many things to take into account. Your first job is to translate the story and the characters .It is the designers decision if the character is best off wearing an Armani suit. Is there another suit that will work better for the film or actor? These types of questions are considered while translating the story with every character in every scene. If the designer’s answer is found in a ready-to-wear garment or is illustrated and crafted in a costume workroom. The designer’s job is still the same.
HUG: Film making is a collaborative process, how much influence did Mr Stone have on the designs?
EM: Mr Stone, being the writer and director influences and informs the design of the film. He would continually weigh in on the look and direction of the characters. Our relationship has a long history with support and a solid trust. Given that, he was able to let me freely create the characters, knowing the choices I made and were ultimately going to tell and serve the story he was creating.
HUG: And, how different was working on a film like Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps as opposed to, say GI: Joe or Starship Troopers?
EM: There are no two films that are the same. Creating each world is a process that has different components and design challenges. The differences lie in the translation of the story and the director’s vision.
The best analogy I can share is, you are travelling to 3 different parts of the world. Each country a new foreign language. You don’t know the language, but have to communicate daily. You wouldn’t have a choice , but to learn how to communicate by learning the language.
Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps is out on Blu-ray and DVD from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment on 31st January. You can order your copy here or rent it here.