Sonu Mishra Interview: ‘Genius: Picasso’ costume designer
“It’s a whole different world,” says costume designer Sonu Mishra, comparing the challenges of “Genius” season one to her work on season two. The second season of NatGeo’s anthology series stars Antonio Banderas as Spanish surrealist painter Pablo Picasso. It follows last year’s installment of the series, which focused on theoretical physicist Albert Einstein (Geoffrey Rush). Season one was about “the scientific world,” which made it “very restricted in a way for costumes,” but season two is set in “the bohemian world, where it’s all very much invented fashions.” Watch our exclusive video interview with Mishra above.
While living in Spain, Picasso opposes the regime of Francisco Franco, the violent dictator who ruled the country from 1939 until his death in 1975. So Mishra’s designs started with “very dark colors” to convey the emotional brutality of the times. When Picasso moves to Paris her designs changed drastically. “People were a lot looser in their way of dressing,” she explains. “They were not sticking to the style of the moment. So we were creating that whole environment, all these artists and models and sculptors.”
Mishra earned an Emmy nomination for the first season of “Genius” (Best Period/Fantasy Costumes in 2017). She has also worked on TV programs including “Prison Break” and “Crossing Lines,” as well as the films “Third Person” (2013), “The American” (2010), “Duplicity” (2009), and “Gangs of New York” (2002).
Season one of “Genius” received 10 total Emmy nominations, including Best Limited Series, Best Movie/Mini Actor for Rush, and Best Movie/Mini Directing for Ron Howard, who still serves as an executive producer on the series alongside Brian Grazer. Season three, due out in 2019, will focus on “Frankenstein” author Mary Shelley.