For the costume designers on “The Irishman,” time was of the essence, in both the lead-up to production, and in actually outfitting the sprawling cast, which includes Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, and Al Pacino. “The Irishman” costume designers Sandy Powell and Christopher Peterson recently spilled secrets from behind the scenes of Martin Scorsese’s time-jumping period gangster epic at the IndieWire Consider This FYC Brunch, a first-of-its-kind event held for Academy voters, select press, guild members, and other industry affiliates at Liaison Hollywood on Tuesday, November 5.
“We spent so much time with these guys in fittings, like with Bob [De Niro], four-hour fittings, and at least 10 or 12 of them over a period of time. That’s like a couple of weeks of fittings,” Sandy Powell said. In the film, De Niro plays Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran at different stages and ages in the real-life crime figure’s life. The actor’s physical transformation therefore also happened in camera, and not just thanks to the film’s now-famous de-aging technology.
“He always asked when the next one was at the end of a fitting. He’s that into it,” Powell said of De Niro’s readiness to step into Frank Sheeran throughout the film’s shoot.
At the IndieWire FYC Brunch, Powell and Peterson joined a group of below-the-line contenders, totaling two dozen, who came out to celebrate their films across a series of in-depth panel discussions.
On the heels of a busy year, Powell knew she couldn’t do the movie alone. “I was finishing up on ‘Mary Poppins’ and ‘The Favourite,’ which I somehow managed to do simultaneously. And ‘The Irishman’ came up and it would have meant me starting really the minute I’d finished both of those…[so] I brought in Christopher and asked if he would co-design with me.”
“The volume of work is certainly daunting when you pick up the script and realize you’d be better suited to a time machine,” said Christopher Peterson on the daunting task of mounting Scorsese’s crime saga, which is set across six decades. “Marty’s projects are usually in gestation for years at a time.”
IndieWire’s FYC Brunch took place at Liaison in Hollywood on November 5. The event is presented by Amazon Studios, Apple Originals, Netflix, Disney, NatGeo, and United Artists Releasing.