The ads for This Means War don’t really do it any favors, we know. Yes, it is the silly action-rom-com it appears to be. And yes, it does feature the problematic premise that CIA guys can totally stalk women for fun. And some of Chelsea Handler’s lines are kind of cheesy. BUT they actually make you laugh in the context of the movie. Also, after spending five minutes with Tom Hardy’s character, you will not want him ever, ever to leave the screen again in the entire future of all film. And you will want to have Reese Witherspoon’s life and Chris Pine’s apartment for your very own. Part of the credit for the surprising likability of this McG movie goes to the stars, of course. And another part goes to costume designer Sophie De Rakoff, who’s designed the costumes for a number of Reese’s other movies, including a little one you may have heard of called Legally Blonde.
“Reese doesn’t ask for me, that’s not what she does,” De Rakoff explained to us. “People know that we have a relationship and that we work well together, and she looks good when I work with her, so that if the right movie comes along, then they’ll bring me in.”
“What was different in this movie, was that we intentionally, that was myself and Reese and McG, was to make her character sexier, like more adult, more grown up, more aggressive sexually, than she probably has been in the past, but within the parameters of her character, and this being the kind of fun film it is. It just meant pushing everything a bit further but on the chic side of sexy not the slutty side,” explained De Rakoff, who is careful to make the distinction between being a costume designer and a stylist: “I work from a place of character.”
In the above scene, Reese’s character Lauren is meeting Tom’s character, Tuck, on a blind date. Her dress, from Parker, is sexy, but “not overtly sexual … It’s about finding the middle ground. You don’t want to give someone the wrong message on a blind date.” But those Louboutins are … wow.
In this Theory dress, Lauren is at work but then gets into a silly water fight with Tuck and his young son. “It had to be something practical that she could goof around in, play in it, and for it to get wet and not be translucent,” De Rakoff said. “I think it’s indicative of her character as in, you see a lot of skin, you see legs, and you see arms, and it’s short, but it’s not trashy.”
“That’s a really great dress,” De Rakoff said of the Versace above, which they had shipped to the Vancouver set at the last minute. “We know at this point, she was going on another date and she’s decided, there’s an attraction build between these two people. We wanted like a strong bright color, which is the red. This dress just worked really well on her.”
Now what about the men fighting over Lauren? They’re no fashion slouches themselves.
“Chris pretty much across the board the whole way through the movie wears Ralph Lauren, and a lot of it is Black Label, which is a higher label because it just looks fantastic on him,” De Rakoff said. “For this character, he was sophisticated, a spy, and needs an iconic look. This is an example of that: A Ralph Lauren features suit, a Tom Ford shirt, and a pocket-tie, and he just looks amazing in it.”
When he’s at work, De Rakoff said Hardy’s character has “a certain amount of that iconic spy, James Bond, suit and tie, that more put together look … a tighter more fitted silhouette,” like in his Banana Republic shirt and pants above. But on his days off, “Tom’s character is a lot more regular and just wears jeans and sneakers and a plaid shirt, more like every man.” A shame! He needs to be in those tight shirts all the time. And also in all of the movies. Did we say that already?
[Photos: 20th Century Fox]