With “The Imitation Game,” costume designer Sammy Sheldon Differ bucked tradition by trading in the earthy color tones often employed in films set during the 1940s for a richer pallet. “Some of the research I did when I first met [director] Morten Tyldum struck me that actually things don’t have to be that muted,” she says in our video interview (watch below). “I found a lot of color photographs from the period that had much more vibrant color than people would imagine.”
The story revolves around Alan Turing, the brilliant mathematician who successfully broke the Nazi Enigma code during World War II. Turing, as portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch, is a reserved, unsociable individual, something Differ helped convey in her costumes. “He – as a character in the film, and I think in reality – didn’t really care much about clothing. Anything that he put on … is kind of calculated as much as you can given that he’s not that much interested in clothing.”
She explains further, “We tried to be faithful to certain photographs that we found, but then also cinematically try and give that air of stuffiness in a way, as well as a slightly unkempt look. As we go through the story, we see him getting more unkempt, and we used different types of fabric within the suits to give that disheveled journey.”
Differ received a BAFTA nomination for her work on “The Merchant of Venice,” yet has never been nominated for an Oscar. That may change this year, as our Oscar Experts have her predicted in fifth place for the win with odds of 20/1. Check out our full interview below for more on Differ’s work on “The Imitation Game.”
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