Jill M. Ohanneson Interview: ‘For All Mankind’ costume designer
Apple TV+‘s “For All Mankind” asks a simple question: what would’ve happened if the U.S. had lost the space race to the Soviet Union? “What would the ripple effects of that have been,” pondered costume designer Jill M. Ohanneson. “How would it have affected culture, politics, design — all those things that are affected by what happens in the world?” Watch our exclusive video interview with Ohanneson above.
The show, created by Ronald D. Moore (“Outlander,” “Battlestar Galactica”), Ben Nedivi and Matt Wolpert, is both “a big period show” and “a big space show.” So she looked at it as “two worlds,” each with “a different feeling visually.” For NASA, “I wanted the color palette to be more grays, navies and cooler tones.” But outside of NASA, especially at the homes of the astronauts, “we had a much warmer palette: beiges, rust, oranges, ocher yellow, tans, browns, greens.” In that way, she made NASA feel more “scientific” while the real world was less “orderly.”
She also used her designs to tell the stories of these “beautifully fleshed-out” characters. Ohanneson was particularly interested in exploring the first women chosen as astronaut candidates. “It was important to me to show how they were changing” as they started to realize, “‘I don’t just have to be this idea of what society thinks a woman should be. I can actually be… an astronaut as well.'” That meant, in many cases, trading in dresses for pants.
Ohanneson has earned Emmy nominations for the TV movie “Citizen Cohn” in 1993 and the series “Six Feet Under” in 2003 and 2005. The HBO drama also brought her three bids at the Costume Designers Guild (2004-2006), where she also contended for “Revenge” in 2012 and 2013. Those are just a few of her many credits in television (“Roswell,” “Dexter,” “Preacher”) and film (“Sixteen Candles,” “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure,” “Mousehunt,” “The Pledge”).