To help create the costumes for his musical adaptation of “Cyrano,” director Joe Wright enlisted Oscar-nominated costume designer Massimo Cantini Parrini to bring his signature steady hand to the project. But while the end result – which is out later this month in limited release before a nationwide debut on February 11 (“Cyrano” had an awards-qualifying run in December of last year) – looks as lavish and bespoke as Wright’s other films, its production was anything but effortless. Wright shot the film in the fall of 2020 before the coronavirus vaccines were widely available, and as Parrini tells Gold Derby, it created a unique set of challenges unlike any he experienced before.
“It was extremely difficult,” Parrini says through an interpreter in our exclusive interview. “The day before we had to start shooting we had four or five very important people from my department who had to be quarantined. The first 10 days were a nightmare because I had to work by myself with none of these precious people to help me out with the work.”
But Parrini was able to enlist help from designers in Italy, near where the “Cyrano” production was taking place, and the result of his and the costume department’s hard work has thus far paid off. “Cyrano” ranks in the top-10 in the Gold Derby Oscar odds and could land Parrini a second consecutive Academy Award nomination following his recognition in 2021 for “Pinocchio.”
Based on the stage musical by Erica Schmidt, Wright’s “Cyrano” stars Peter Dinklage as the title character, with a supporting cast that includes Haley Bennett as Roxanne and Kelvin Harrison Jr. as Christian. The film includes original and anachronistic music from Aaron and Bryce Dessner of The National, and Wright’s effort to subvert expectations for what a musical set in the 1800s might include didn’t stop with the soundtrack. Parrini, too, sought to move beyond the traditions of the period while remaining faithful to the overall aesthetic of the time and place.
“What we wanted to do was recreate the world of the 18th century but not in the typical way in which it has always been represented. Not in the typical baroque touch or the excess of that time,” Parrini explains of his approach to the Wright film. “We wanted to be very linear and go to the essence of that period of time. We worked a lot on the color palette that we used. If you know Joe’s work, you know color is extremely important for him. It’s always in the limelight. I would always match and combine the color palette of my costumes with the environment of the film and of the set.”
Watch the exclusive video interview above.
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