‘Hawkeye’ costume designer Michael Crow on those ‘ridiculous’ LARPing outfits and keeping Kingpin’s cameo on the down-low [Exclusive Video Interview]

Michael Crow is no stranger to superhero costumes. He was the assistant costume designer on a handful of Marvel films, including “Avengers: Infinity War” (2018) and “Avengers: Endgame” (2019), and was the costume designer on “The Falcon and The Winter Soldier,” for which he had to craft a new Captain America suit for Sam (Anthony Mackie). And he took the same design approach when he joined “Hawkeye.” “We try to stay as true to the comics as possible because I think that’s sort of what everybody wants. We want to see what’s on the page come to life as closely as possible,” Crow tells Gold Derby (watch above). “As far as my own creative input, that comes in like styling it for the particular actor and proportions. It’s the challenge of making superhero costumes come to life.”

When it came to interpreting the iconic purple costumes donned by Clint (Jeremy Renner) and Kate (Hailee Steinfeld) in the comics, Crow looked to sportswear for inspiration. The two wear the outfits during the final battle against the Tracksuit Mafia on the Rockefeller Center ice rink — the moment, to Kate’s delight, they finally become partners — and Crow wanted to focus on functionality and utility as they fight, kick, punch and slide on the (fake) ice with their bows and arrows.

“Getting into Jeremy’s costume was not exactly easy. It looks like a T-shirt, it looks like you pull it over your head except we can’t. So we had to hide zippers in places and he sort of had to crawl into it and be zipped in,” he explains. “It was important to me when we were developing Jeremy’s costume specifically because in the comic books it’s a T-shirt with a print on it and early on we talked about simply doing that for it. But I brought up the point that we’re gonna need high harnesses and he’s gonna need something to hold the quiver … so there’s a lot of stuff we have to hide under a T-shirt that they can fix in post if that’s how they wanna go. But I said that it would be nice if we did something maybe a little neoprene, maybe it’s something a little higher tech than a T-shirt that’ll allow us to hide some of that gear we need for filming.”

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Outside of our heroes, Crow had a wide array of looks to create for the holiday-themed series. There were costumes for the actors playing the Avengers in the “Rogers: The Musical” show, for which he looked at other Broadway productions for inspiration; the “pretty ridiculous” LARPer costumes that they “cobbled together” from rentals for the second episode; and red tracksuits for the Tracksuit Mafia. After toying with the idea of using a real athletic company, Crow and his team ultimately decided to make custom suits that “people don’t necessarily have a relationship with in real life.”

“Trying to make each of them seem individual and not be repetitive was the hard part of that because they’re all basically wearing the same thing,” he says. “And some of the actors were very surprised when they showed up. I’d reached out to them because I needed their sizes … so they were expecting these crazy custom costumes — superhero show, right? And they show up and are like, ‘Oh, it’s tracksuits and T-shirts.'”

On the other hand, Crow could not get a head start on the costume for Vincent D’Onofrio, who reprised his role as Kingpin from Netflix’s “Daredevil,” making his foray into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The guest appearance was obviously top secret and Crow was one of the first, if not the first, person told of the plan to bring in the crime lord. “I got a call and [executive producer Trinh Tran] whispered, ‘This is what we’re doing. Nobody knows. You can’t tell anybody,'” Crow shares. “So even for a month after that, I couldn’t talk to vendors, like nothing. Vincent wasn’t signed. It was very secret.”

Crow brought to life another well-known look from the comics for Kingpin: his Hawaiian shirt and white suit. The idea came from D’Onofrio and Marvel chief Kevin Feige as a way to “bring down Kingpin a couple of notches based on what had happened during the Blip” and to differentiate his “Hawkeye” look from his “polished”  “Daredevil” look while incorporating key details, like his cufflinks. “Plus, through the entire shooting, I wasn’t — and I don’t know if I still am — very clear on if it is in the same universe as that one. It’s a multiverse so maybe it’s a different version of that character. I don’t know!” Crow exclaims. “It was not made clear to me as we were going.”

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