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Monday 1 June 2015

INTERVIEW: "Mad Max: Fury Road" costume designer Jenny Beavan

Previously: My review of Mad Max: Fury Road

The Mad Max series boasts some of the most influential costumes in sc-if/fantasy cinema, kick-starting a trend for post-apocalyptic fetish punk that inspired numerous movies, music videos and outlandish outfits at Burning Man.

Oscar winning costume designer Jenny Beavan was brought in to develop the look of Fury Road, a far cry from her best-known work on historical dramas like The King's Speech and Sense and Sensibility. The result was a fresh new aesthetic that blends grimy realism with the kind of memorable extremes we've come to expect from a Mad Max movie.

Just as director George Miller's attention to detail led to the most exciting movie in the franchise, Jenny Beavan's costumes were the most technically ambitious and character-driven so far. Happily for me, she agreed to an interview about her experiences on the film, discussing the vision behind Fury Road's costumes.

HelloTailor: One of the fascinating things about Fury Road is the way George Miller worked from a 3,500 panel storyboard instead of a traditional script. Did you collaborate with [concept artist] Brendan McCarthy on the character designs, or did you get started after his storyboard was complete?

Jenny Beavan: No, I didn’t have any collaboration with Brendan McCarthy - but I did meet him when he visited Namibia, which was exciting. I came on board relatively late in the proceedings, considering the project had been prepping for some 12 years I think!

The earlier Mad Max movies have a really iconic post-apocalyptic look. How did you balance the references to Norma Moriceau's Mad Max costumes with the new aesthetic for Fury Road?

Mad Max: Fury Road was absolutely a continuation of the Mad Max genre and at the same time completely different - if that makes sense. We are in the same and a completely different wasteland, and with a lot of new characters. Because George Miller is the genius behind all the films there will always be a certain continuity, as it is his vision we were all creating.