- Talks about working with a dialect coach to play West Virginian Lucy Elkins
- Preview of upcoming scene between Nurse Elkins and Dr. Thackery about keeping quiet with regards to the whole injecting his dick with liquid cocaine thing
Ellen Mirojnick Talks Costumes on 'The Knick'
Costume designer Ellen Mirojnick was most recently responsible for transforming Michael Douglas into the ever-resplendent, sequin-encrusted Liberace in Steven Soderbergh’s “Behind the Candelabra,” for which she won an Emmy (her relationship with Douglas spans back to the Eighties; she costumed several of his films, including “Wall Street,” “Fatal Attraction” and “Basic Instinct”). Soderbergh was so taken with Mirojnick’s costumes on “Candelabra” that he invited her back to outfit the cast of his new miniseries, “The Knick,” a period drama that premieres tonight on Cinemax.
“I heard Steven was going to retire and I was like, ‘S--t. This is my guy,’” Mirojnick says. “And he retired from film, but not from long-form storytelling. So, nine months after ‘Candelabra,’ ‘The Knick’ showed up. Our design team came back together with Steven and I was happier than a pea in a pod. I fell back in love with costume design because Steven is such a great collaborator and a true believer in letting everybody do their job. He trusts you to create the world that he has in his mind’s eye.”
Set in downtown New York in 1900, the majority of “The Knick” takes place inside the Knickerbocker Hospital at the dawn of modern medicine and stars Clive Owen as Dr. John Thackery, the hospital’s head surgeon — and a hopeless drug addict. Soderbergh directed all 10 episodes of the show’s first season, which could be described as a decidedly unromantic period drama.
“We wanted to create a modern time and not an old-timey feeling,” Mirojnick says. “It was not a contemporized version either, but a clear-cut, new, electric version of 1900. It’s urban, it’s gritty, it’s modern in a deconstructed way. We could not make anything seem precious. That was key.”
Mirojnick and her assistants dove headfirst into research and then ran into their first challenge: most of the vintage clothing they sourced from 114 years ago had practically disintegrated. “We had to build a lot of new stock,” Mirojnick says. “We manufactured the uniforms — suits for men, suitings for women. We had to figure it out and have enough clothing to fit 2,500 extras.” Suits were made at Martin Greenfield, the Brooklyn-based tailor, with footwear by Stacy Adams. With production designer Howard Cummings, Mirojnick created a color and fabric palette of the different class sections amongst the cast: For the hospital staff, it was lots of whites and blacks (and for Owen’s character, a touch of green, which Mirojnick said juxtaposed nicely with the color of blood). For the high-class philanthropists and wealthy financiers, the fabrics were richer: brocades, laces, silks and velvets.
Mirojnick remembered when Owen tried on one of his character’s looks for the first time. “Clive looked at himself in the mirror and he fell in love. He said, ‘Can I really wear this?’ I would say, ‘John Thackery would wear anything.’ He would say, ‘But is it appropriate?’ And I would say, ‘John Thackery is the head of the hospital, he can wear whatever he wants.’ And then he said, ‘Can I be the David Bowie of the 1900s?’ We said, ‘Absolutely.’”
Mirojnick, who lives in Los Angeles, was so inspired by the men’s wear silhouettes in the show that she’s started to design her own men’s wear line, which she hopes to launch by fall 2015. “My life is really reborn. I drool over men’s wear. It’s just so odd that no one let me do this earlier,” she says with a laugh. “The authenticity comes from really getting the research in your head. And I’m just one of those people that always follows my gut.”
How ‘The Knick’ turned the streets of Manhattan into old New York
By ROBERT RORKE
Turning back the hands of time to 1900 was no mean feat on “The Knick,” which premieres Friday at 10 p.m. on Cinemax. The drama about a struggling New York City hospital was filmed in 70 days in a studio in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, and on the streets of the city.
Boys High School in Bedford-Stuyvesant provided the exteriors for the show’s Knickerbocker Hospital, where John Thackery (Clive Owen) and a staff of doctors deliver babies, repair hernias and treat the diseases of the day — typhoid and syphilis among them. A sparkling example of Romanesque Revival architecture, the school was designed in 1891 by James W. Naughton. It is both a city landmark and on the National Register of Historic Places.
“It is a beautiful building,” says Howard Cummings, the show’s production designer. “The script was talking about an older hospital, supposedly on the Lower East Side. Period-wise, we were going to be in 1900 to 1901, so the building was going to have to be from the 1880s. That kind of Victorian architecture was perfect.”
Finding a city street to approximate one of New York’s poorer neighborhoods was easy enough — the Lower East Side boasts enough tenement architecture to inspire any set-dressing team. “We did remove air conditioners on the lower floors,” Cummings says. “All others had to be removed digitally. Everything at head level has to look realistic. Above head level you can get away with a lot.”
Madison Street, Bedford-Stuyvesant
In this scene, character Lucy Elkins rides a bicycle to work while two street sweepers clean the sidewalks behind her. The bike is a fully restored Gormully & Jeffery Rambler from 1900 that was purchased from and restored by Via Bicycle in Philadelphia. The wooden wheels and crocheted fenders were custom-made.
The street sweepers in the background are an interesting bit of New York history: “The spread of tuberculosis was pretty prevalent in the descriptions of the streets in the 1880s and 1890s,” Cummings says. “There were mountains of horse manure everywhere in 1896. In order to stop the spread of disease, the White Wings were created. They were the city’s first sanitation workers. They were also responsible for snow removal.
“I also added gray dirt to the street and sidewalks to blend the sidewalks away, because there would have been flagstones there.”
Broome Street, Lower East Side
What you’re looking at is an outdoor shopping mall, with vendor carts and characters carrying a piece of furniture they’ve just purchased. “Almost 90 percent of the world’s clothing was coming out of the Lower East Side [at the turn of the 20th century],” says production designer Cummings. “The buildings were jam-packed with people sewing. The street looked like a giant farmer’s market.”
Creating this scene for a two-day shoot was an intricate task. “We dealt with every business on those blocks,” says Rob Streim, location manager. “Restaurants didn’t really want to close down,” says Cummings. “There was a laundromat that had no interest in shutting down. If they had plate-glass windows, we made fake facades with bay windows to put product in, and the owners could walk through fake doors to still do business. When I couldn’t take down awnings, we made canvas skirts to hide them. I would hang laundry where I could.”
More at the third source link.
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Because everyone loves the electronic score, HERE is a preview. The OST will be released on August 19. Bow to Cliff Martinez, tbh.
Mods: Sorry about the first submission. It was premature.