By Elizabeth Snead
December 3, 2008
Glicker, who won the Costume Designers Guild award for his work on "Transamerica," had access to San Francisco's extensive gay, lesbian and transgender historical archives. But more important, many of the people portrayed in the film who had known and worked with Milk lent Glicker clothes they'd worn in the '70s for the actors portraying them.
Tell me about being able to see and touch Harvey Milk's real clothing.
Obviously, it was eerie to be handling the clothes that he wore but it was also really special. Harvey's relationship with clothes was not that different from a lot of people in the Castro neighborhood. They had very little money. One of the first things [Milk associate] Cleve Jones told me was that Harvey always had the same few items of clothing on. When he needed more clothing for his political career, he bought a couple of suits at secondhand stores and would wear them consistently.
And his shoes had holes?
Yeah, that was based on a memory from Cleve and from the shoes I found at the archive center. One of the things that Cleve said to me, and it's very powerful and heartbreaking, is that when he saw Harvey's body carried out of his office after being assassinated, he saw the holes and he knew it was Harvey. In general, everyone's soles in the film are really beautifully worn. The idea was to make sure all the actors in the movie looked as authentic, and as much like their real-life counterparts, as possible.
Tell me about the main characters wearing their real-life counterparts' clothing.
Alison Pill really did wear pieces of clothing from Anne Kronenberg, and for much of the movie she wears an earring that Anne lent me. I also re-created a ring of Anne's for the movie. And George Moscone's son Jonathan brought one of his father's ties to the set so that Victor Garber could wear it for the scene in which the mayor swears in Harvey as supervisor.
And Danny Nicoletta's amazing patchwork vest. Was that the real deal?
Lucas Grabeel, who plays Danny, wore the patchwork vest that Danny wore in the '70s. He'd really worn it quite a bit, and he saved it, and presented it to me. I was really happy to put it in the movie because it's the sort of thing you just cannot replicate.
How important were Danny Nicoletta's personal photos to your work?
He was my guardian angel in this movie. Danny was an incredible photographer of San Francisco in the 1970s, a place where cultural change was exploding and constantly evolving. Any time I had any questions, I would call him up and say, "I need to know what everyone was wearing at this party," and he would send me images.
Why was it so important to you to be so accurate with the costumes?
Danny, and the other real people, became very close friends. So I felt even more pressured to get it right. I didn't want people who lived through this to look at the movie and see something that they didn't feel represented their experience 100% accurately.
Snead writes the Dish Rag blog at TheEnvelope.com.
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