Stacey Battat Interview: ‘The Beguiled’ costume designer
During our recent webcam chat (watch the exclusive video above), costume designer Stacey Battat reveals that her biggest challenge on “The Beguiled” was working within the “limitation of historical accuracy.” Directed by Sofia Coppola, this Focus Features release centers on how the unexpected arrival of a wounded Union soldier (Colin Farrell) at a girls school in Virginia during the American Civil War leads to jealousy and betrayal. The film stars Nicole Kidman as the headmistress and Kirsten Dunst and Elle Fanning as two of the students.
“One of the ways you start is just understanding the history of that time,” she continues. One of the things Battat learned in her research that informed her work had to do with resources. “I recognized something in the South about textiles,” she explains. “The Civil War was more important in the South, and the reason why they held onto it so tightly was because their primary industry was cotton, and they produced all the fabrics that then went to the North to get printed. That’s something that, even though I’d learned about it in school, I didn’t think about so much as I was growing up.” From there, “understanding what the textiles were, and what was available to them” found its way into her designs.
Battat previously collaborated with Coppola on “Somewhere” (2010), “The Bling Ring” (2013), and “A Very Murray Christmas” (2015). She has also served as costume designer on such titles as “The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby” (2013), “Still Alice” (2014), and “Freeheld” (2015), as well as the pilots for “Girls,” “Mozart in the Jungle,” and “Z: The Beginning of Everything.” “The Beguiled” has brought her nominations at the Satellite Awards, San Diego Film Critics Society, and International Online Cinema Awards.