We absolutely loved all the beautiful costumes on Sky Living's Dracula (not to mention the fact that the very handsome Jonathan Rhys-Meyers was in it). The show's award winning costume designer Annie Symons tells what it was like working with the lovely Mr Rhys-Meyers, the nightmare of getting blood all over the costumes and dressing Douglas Booth for Great Expectations.
Grazia Daily: What was it like working with Jonathan Rhys Myers on Dracula?
Annie Symons: He was fantastic and brought so much to the role. You get to work very closely with actors to create the character when you’re a costume designer. We used motifs of ‘warrior’, ‘clean’ and ‘military’ to create his Dracula. He’s very good with clothes, he looks great and he knows what looks good on him. He had hundreds and hundreds of suits because he kept getting blood on them. I’d say ‘you’re not going to spit blood in this scene are you?’ Then I’d turn around and he would be covered in it. I’d be like, ‘you promised me!’ It was an epic project, huge in scale and speed.
Grazia Daily: You filmed Dracula in Budapest. What was that like?
Annie Symons: Being away from my three children was hard. It’s really tough on all of us. Dracula was the longest I’ve ever been away with work, I was there for eight months. It was difficult but they came to visit and they loved Budapest. It’s perfect for teenagers! There was lots for them to do and see.
Grazia Daily: How did you come up with the costumes for Dracula?
Annie Symons: It all starts by reading the script. Then I draw, I find images, I looked at the period it is set in and then I start making stuff. The costumes need to tell a story. I’m involved in every bit of detail from choosing the lining to standing over the pattern cutters. Dracula was set in the 1890s but they wanted it to seem contemporary. I came up with something that was a bit 1940s.
Grazia Daily: You worked on the BBC’s adaptation of Great Expectations. What was Douglas Booth like?
Annie Symons: He was a sweetheart, most actors are. It was brilliant but I felt a huge responsibility because Great Expectations is everyone’s favourite book. Sometimes you hear things about actors and then you get them in a room and you’re like, ‘you’re standing there in your pants, and we need to get you into character,’ and it’s fine. They have to trust you.
(DOUGLAS BOOTH IN GREAT EXPECTATIONS)
Grazia Daily: What do you do when you’ve got a day off?
Annie Symons: I like to clean, cook, tidy my house, and go for a run on Hampstead Heath. I have very simple needs. I travel so much for work that I’m not fond of travelling for the sake of it.
(ANNIE SYMONS WINNING THE BEST COSTUME DESIGN AWARD FOR WORRIED ABOUT THE BOY AT THE 2011 BAFTA TELEVISION CRAFT AWARDS)
Grazia Daily: What was your first job?
Annie Symons: It was in the wardrobe of my local theatre when I was 15-years-old. I did everything from sowing on buttons to ironing collars. When I left school I lived in a squat in Bloomsbury where I made clothes for dancers, performers, strippers and people in the music industry. It all went from there.
Dracula: The Complete Season One is available now on Blu-ray and DVD from Universal Pictures (UK)