Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian, smooth administrator of Cloud City and former “card player, gambler, scoundrel”
A Long Time Ago in a Galaxy Far Far Away
Film: Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back
Release Date: May 21, 1980
Director: Irvin Kershner
Costume Designer: John Mollo
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
After the recent release of the trailer for the upcoming Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker teased Billy Dee Williams’ return as Lando Calrissian, I wanted to celebrate the character’s debut nearly 40 years ago in The Empire Strikes Back for this post on May the 4th, casually observed as “Star Wars Day”.
With movies like Brian’s Song and Lady Sings the Blues among his filmography, Billy Dee Williams was a popular star when he first auditioned for the role of Han Solo in the first Star Wars movie released in 1977. Three years later, Williams finally found his place in the Star Wars saga with the role of Cloud City’s charismatic administrator—and Solo’s one-time pal—Lando Calrissian.
Harrison Ford as Han Solo, world-weary smuggler and former resistance leader
A Long Time Ago in Galaxy Far Far Away
Film: Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens
Release Date: December 18, 2015
Director: J.J. Abrams
Costume Designer: Michael Kaplan
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
With the upcoming release of Solo: A Star Wars Story this month, I’m honoring May the fourth with another look at everyone’s favorite intergalactic scoundrel.
Rey: You’re Han Solo?
Han Solo: I used to be.
Ryan Reynolds as Curtis Vonn, charismatic drifter and gambler
Iowa to New Orleans, March 2014
Film: Mississippi Grind
Release Date: January 24, 2015
Director: Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck
Costume Designer: Abby O’Sullivan
I was honored to correspond with Abby O’Sullivan, the talented costume designer who worked on Mississippi Grind, to learn firsthand insight about the inspiration, concept, and execution of the costumes that gave the film its distinctive look.
Abby recalls Mississippi Grind as “a special film” that stands out on her impressive resume due to the talents of the creative team, particularly directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck and cinematographer Andrij Parekh, who all contributed to developing the “distinctive 1970s Americana road movie” attitude that radiates off the screen like neon bar lights through Marlboro smoke. Continue reading
Ryan Gosling as an unnamed getaway driver and part-time stunt double
Los Angeles, Fall 2010
Release Date: September 16, 2011
Director: Nicolas Winding Refn
Costume Designer: Erin Benach
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Drive is an excellent neo-noir throwback to the days of Point Blank, Bullitt, Taxi Driver, and The Driver, delivering a moody and stylish character study of a taciturn anti-hero navigating the violent L.A. underworld and his own emotions with existential angst. Continue reading
Michael C. Hall as Dexter Morgan, Miami Metro Police forensic analyst and serial killer
Miami, Fall 2006
Creator: James Manos, Jr.
Costume Design Team: Marina Draghici (pilot), Jill M. Ohanneson (season 1), Abram Waterhouse (seasons 2-4), James Lapidus (season 5), Kathleen Felix-Hager (seasons 6-8)
Although the network had been running original programming since the early 1980s, Showtime’s status as an original TV network was catapulted by the debut of Dexter in 2006. The show began as a loose adaptation of Jeff Lindsay’s novels about Dexter Morgan, a vigilante serial killer who only targets other killers. Dexter’s abilities as a killer are assisted by his position as a forensic blood spatter analyst for the [fictional] Miami-Metro Police Department where his now-deceased father Harry had been a legendary detective (though not without his own demons) and his half-sister is currently trying to live up to Harry’s reputation.
At a young age, Dexter’s urge to kill had been recognized by foster father-but-actually-biological-father-also Harry. Rather than allow Dexter to follow the likes of Ted Bundy and Richard Ramirez, Harry developed a code for Dexter to follow where he must only kill people who are undoubtedly murderers themselves and ensure his own personal safety by disposing of the evidence. Typically, Dexter was able to stay under the radar by only killing murderers who were untouched by the law, but his investigations began to overlap with the Miami-Metro PD’s investigations as the series continued. Continue reading
Sorry this one took me long, fellas. I had planned to have it up by Tuesday (timed for the “polar vortex” ooooh…) but it’s a long-ass movie with a lot of clothes. However, this should still be pretty well-timed for anyone in North America dealing with record low temperatures this winter.
Daniel Craig as Mikael Blomkvist, disgraced Swedish investigative journalist
Hedestad, Sweden, Winter 2006
Film: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Release Date: December 20, 2011
Director: David Fincher
Costume Designer: Trish Summerville
This isn’t one of those movies you pop in just for a laugh on a summer day or to fall asleep to. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a very dark (both thematically and literally) film that’ll stick with you for days after watching. It’s long – closer to 3 hours than 2 – but the fast-paced, heart-racing sequences and the stellar acting, particularly from leads Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara, make the time fly.
Craig plays Mikael Blomkvist, a journalist in some hot water after his investigation into a corrupt businessman resulted in a libel case. He is mysteriously called to the home of Henrik Vanger (the always excellent and debonair Christopher Plummer) and thrown into a dark investigation of a forty-year-old murder. Continue reading