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Scene Stealer: 'Happy-Go Lucky'

October 15, 2008 |  6:57 pm


Flying blind, costumer designer relies on creative vision

"Happy-Go-Lucky" writer-director Mike Leigh's unique filmmaking process, in which he works with the actors scene by scene to create the script as they shoot, extended to other creative aspects of this production.

Even costume designer Jacqueline Durran had to stay on her toes to clothe the actors, having only a bare outline of the plot to work from. She had to interview the actors about their characters to get a feel for each of them.

"They would tell us what kinds of clothes the character liked to wear, where they liked to shop, etc." After working up a wardrobe selection for each character, Durran just had to cross her fingers and hope for the best. "If the process is working well, I wouldn't hear anything until . . . the crew shows up to begin filming," Durran said.

Despite flying virtually blind, that process had its share of rewards. "I was so pleased when Poppy [Sally Hawkins] went to the flamenco lesson and wore that red-and-white striped top and she made those strange bird wings. I just thought, 'What a perfect thing.' Had I known she would make bird wings, I would have chosen something that had that exact shape. But I had no idea."

--Patrick Kevin Day

MOOD LIFTER: Sally Hawkins plays good-humored Poppy in “Happy-Go-Lucky.” Miramax.