One of the most iconic movie figures of the 1980’s was Michael Douglas as “Greed is good” Gordon Gekko in the original “Wall Street,” written and directed by Oliver Stone. The sequel, “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps,” opens this week, and one of the challenges for bringing the character 23 years forward was presented to the costume designer, Ellen Mirojnick. She spoke to Clothes on Film about how “the first Wall Street opened the door to encourage a man to exhibit his personal style.”
Over the past 23 years, Wall Street has come to symbolize a moneyed style. Always with a certain confidence; one’s own personality and panache. Whether it is as easy as jeans, a button-down, no socks and Gucci loafers or put together in a bespoke ensemble, the pieces are expensive and convey power…..The elements in this film are very rich and naturalistic. As wealth accumulated, during the aughts, the excesses blurred the boundaries of style, causing a gilded muscular appearance. But, when everything is gilded, one cannot discern the showiness or the colourfulness; it all appears to be the same until you get close and see the expense in the details.
Mirojnick talks about bringing Gekko’s look into the 21st century and about her surprising model in dressing James Brolin, who plays, in a way, the new Gekko, the wealthiest and most powerful (and financially voracious) character in the film.
Josh Brolin is a fetching Bretton James. He is all about presentation, money, power and conquering the world. Bretton is ruthless. This time, the stakes are much bigger than when Gekko originally played with similar ingredients back in the eighties.
When designing a look for a character, I always think about the actor playing the character. I break it down, to build it up. It is an assignment that is architecturally inspired. To think about Bretton, one thinks of Darth Vader.
Mirojnick also spoke to Esquire, explaining that she dressed the characters like movie stars, not like Wall Street financiers and what she said to Oliver Stone when he told her the wardrobe was not authentic.
I said, “It’s a movie, and they’re all going to look like it and we’re elevating the genre. It’s telling the story, Oliver. We’re not doing it to be 100 percent rooted in reality. We’re telling a story in a movie.”
Some costume designers prefer period films, but Mirojnick likes to work on contemporary stories.
People on the outside said to me, “Why do you want to do this movie? It’s about guys in suits.” And I said, “No, it isn’t. It’s about power, money, and seduction.” That’s what grabbed me.
Hurray! The fall season is off to a grand start with three big feature films opening this week and there’s something for everyone. “You Again” looks like a hoot. It’s a “frenemy” movie. Kristen Bell plays a woman whose brother is marrying the “mean girl” from her high school. She may be capable and confident in her grown-up life, but having to welcome her former nemesis into the family has her feeling as though she is 14 years old and no one wants to sit with her in the lunchroom. This becomes a multi-generational problem when it turns out the two mothers (played by the magnificent Sigourney Weaver and Jamie Lee Curtis) were also high school rivals. With Betty White in the mix, it could be one of the year’s best comedies.
It’s been 23 years since Gordon Gekko went to prison at the end of “Wall Street.” And the real-life Wall Street has never been as vital a topic as it is following the subprime meltdown. Put those two together, with “An Education’s” Carey Mulligan as Gekko’s daughter and Shia LeBoeuf as the young man who loves her and wants to prove himself to both members of the Gekko family, and it might be a “Wall Street” for the millennial generation.
“Never Let Me Go” is a quietly disturbing story of three children at a boarding school whose mysteries are only gradually revealed to them and to us. Kiera Knightly, “An Education’s” Carey Mulligan and future Spider-Man Andrew Garfield (who also appears in the upcoming Facebook movie, “The Social Network”) play the school’s graduates who struggle to accept their fate.
How well do you know your Facebook “friends?” New York photographer Nev Schulman friended a group of family members in Michigan after a little girl sent him a painting inspired by one of his photos. As he became romantically involved with her older sister, even though they had never met, his film-maker brother started making a documentary called “Catfish” about what was happening. The movie’s tag line is: “Don’t let anyone tell you what it is,” so I will just say that the end of my review will be available by email only!
The Guardians of Ga’hoole is a popular series of books about groups of heroic owls. “Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole” is the animated 3D film, directed by “300’s” Zach Snyder, known for his striking images. It features the voices of Sam Neill, Oscar-winner Geoffrey Rush, and Hugo Weaving of “The Matrix” and “Lord of the Rings.” The title may be a mouthful, but this could be an adventure film for the whole family.
Stay tuned! Reviews will be up on Friday.
“Glee’s” visibility and panache has attracted the top talent from Broadway and is now drawing from Hollywood as well. Gwenyth Paltrow is rumored to be appearing on upcoming episodes as a substitute teacher — and yes, she will sing and dance. Paltrow has a lovely voice, as she showed in the under-rated “Duets.” I love her duet with Huey Lewis to “Cruisin’ Together.” She has a lovely, clear voice and a gift for harmony.
She plays a country singer in her upcoming film, “Country Strong.” Can’t wait to see what she’ll sing on “Glee.”
If, as the Gothic calligraphy tells us as the beginning of this film, tyrants inspire heroes, then the clear implication is that heroes inspire movies. And Robin Hood, who stole from the rich to give to the poor, has been one of the most frequently portrayed on screen over the course of the last century, beginning with a silent film in 1908 and continuing through portrayals that have included Disney animation, Mel Brooks comedy, a space-age version, a gangster version, and films with Robin as a woman, as a child, and as an old man decades after his famous adventures (played by Sean Connery at age 45, Crowe’s age when he made this film).
Pretty much, though, all versions have stuck with the idea of Robin Hood as a nobleman who valiantly defends the rights of the commoners against a corrupt prince who hopes to take over the throne and who falls in love with the beautiful Maid Marian. In this version, something of a prequel, Robin is not noble and Marian is not a maid.
The “Gladiator” director and star reunite ten years later with another story of a heroic rebel leader. Russell Crowe, looking a little more doughy than he did a decade ago in the toga, is Robin Longstride, an archer in the army of King Richard the Lionhearted who has the courage to tell the king he is wrong, landing in the stocks for his impertinence. The king is killed in battle and the knights taking his crown back to London are ambushed by Godfrey (all-purpose villain Mark Strong), a traitor close to Prince John (Oscar Isaac) but working for King Philip of France. Robin and his men pretend to be the knights so they can get back home. And he promises the dying knight whose armor he takes that he will return his sword to his father, Sir Walter Loxley, in Nottingham.
With John as the new king, Godfrey is given the authority to collect taxes from the noblemen, who have already been taxed into poverty. But Godfrey’s plan is to pillage the country so brutally that the nobility will no longer support the king, making the country more vulnerable to attack. Robin delivers the sword to Sir Walter (Max von Sydow), who asks him to stay and pretend to be his son, to help protect his land. Sir Walter’s daughter-in-law, Lady Marian (Cate Blanchett), the knight’s widow, reluctantly agrees. This puts Robin, now known as Sir Robert Loxley, in Godfrey’s path.
As you can tell from this rendition, it’s overly complicated and a lot of what we expect in a Robin Hood story is missing. But it is one thing to omit the archery competition and another to remove the key element of the story, the idea of a nobleman who fights for the commoners. While “Gladiator” did a masterful job of creating a sense of time and place, “Robin Hood” has some clanging anachronisms that take us out of the movie entirely, including some of the dialogue and a scene where von Sydow and Crowe have an Oprah-esque therapy session so that Robin can have an epiphany about his feelings for his father.
Scott and his CGI crew have put together a gorgeous and compelling re-creation of the landscape and architecture of the era, and the movie conveys the fragility of the overlay of civilization as unsettling new ideas about justice, equality, and self-determination are beginning to take hold. But the script itself has a sense of struggle behind it, with too many story lines and too little resolution. Retro elements like burning map montages to show the progress of the pogrom-like raids compete with winks to the future as scenes suggest iconic images like Joan of Arc in armor, D-Day, and the Holocaust. And the concluding scene is such a fundamental re-writing of history that we wonder whether it is not we who have been robbed.