Steve McQueen as Ralph “Papa” Thorson, real-life bounty hunter
Los Angeles (among other locales), Fall 1979
Film: The Hunter
Release Date: August 1, 1980
Director: Buzz Kulik
Costume Designer: Thomas Welsh
On the anniversary of Steve McQueen’s passing, I’d like to explore his style in the final film he made before his untimely death at the age of 50 on November 7, 1980.
The Hunter starred McQueen as Ralph “Papa” Thorson, a colorful real-life bounty hunter who had reportedly logged more than 5,000 cases throughout his career including the capture of would-be presidential assassin and Manson family follower Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme.
The concept of a bounty hunter conjures the image of a deadly serious and dangerous enforcer. The real Ralph Thorson certainly looked the part at 310 pounds and 6’2″ though Christopher Keane’s 1976 biography counters this image by describing Thorson’s many roles and talents as “a church bishop, Master bridge champion, renowed astrology, criminology alumnus of the University of California Berkeley, child nutritionist, [and] aficionado of classical music.” Continue reading
Brad Pitt as Max Vatan, Royal Canadian Air Force intelligence officer
London, April 1944
Release Date: November 23, 2016
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Costume Designer: Joanna Johnston
Following their adventures in Morocco, glamorous spy couple Max Vatan (Brad Pitt) and Marianne Beauséjour (Marion Cotillard) “settle down” for their shared life in World War II-era London, spending their time picking mushrooms when not in service to their respective governments.
For these [not so] innocent outings, Max shows off his stylish approach to “smart casual” civilian attire anchored by a brown suede vintage-inspired jacket custom made for Brad Pitt by costume designer Joanna Johnston’s team. Continue reading
Johnny Depp as Paul Kemp, expatriate American journalist
San Juan, Puerto Rico, Summer 1960
Film: The Rum Diary
Release Date: October 28, 2011
Director: Bruce Robinson
Costume Designer: Colleen Atwood
“In summary, this airman, although talented, will not be guided by policy,” heralded Hunter S. Thompson’s honorable discharge from the U.S. Air Force in November 1957, a considerable understatement given the iconic writer’s eventual symbolic anti-authoritarian status.
Following his discharge, Thompson tried a few journalistic stints in New York but was fired by Time (for insubordination) and the Middletown Daily Record (for damaging a candy machine) and moved to Puerto Rico in 1960.
Having failed to procure a position with the San Juan Star, Thompson wrote for the El Sportivo sporting magazine… though it folded quickly after his arrival. His experiences in San Juan formed the basis of The Rum Diary, a novel that he penned shortly after his return to the U.S. the following year, although it wasn’t published for more than three decades.
While it would be inaccurate to describe The Rum Diary as a strict roman à clef, its morose, restless narrator Paul Kemp is clearly modeled on Thompson himself, and Thompson’s friend Johnny Depp was naturally tapped to play the role in the film adaptation. Continue reading
Steve McQueen as Thomas Crown, millionaire playboy and heist mastermind
Salem, New Hampshire, Summer 1968
Film: The Thomas Crown Affair
Release Date: June 19, 1968
Director: Norman Jewison
Costume Designer: Alan Levine
In 1968’s The Thomas Crown Affair, the titular millionaire is every bit the sportsman that you’d expect a Steve McQueen character to be. A brief scene shows Crown spending his weekend recreationally gliding a Schweizer SGS 1-23H through the skies over Salem… although it was actually local pilot Roy McMaster who rode in the cockpit during the actual scenes in flight.
This vignette also featured Steve McQueen sporting casual outerwear that was also a real-life favorite of his: a classic Harrington jacket. 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
Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher, badass drifter and former U.S. Army Military Police Corps officer
Pittsburgh, October 2012
Film: Jack Reacher
Release Date: December 21, 2012
Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Costume Designer: Susan Matheson
Tom Cruise’s Costumer: Nancy Thompson
BAMF Style’s semi-annual Car Week is returning this winter with more looks at cool outfits and cool cars. Today’s post examines Jack Reacher, the 2012 adaptation of Lee Child’s 2005 novel One Shot. Although it was the ninth of Child’s novels to feature the character of Jack Reacher, the 2012 movie became the first time that the character was represented on screen. Continue reading
Timothy Olyphant as Raylan Givens, old-fashioned and stoic Deputy U.S. Marshal
Harlan County, Kentucky, Fall 2010
– “The Life Inside” (Episode 2.02, Director: Jon Avnet, Air Date: February 16, 2011)
– “The Spoil” (Episode 2.08, Director: Michael Watkins, Air Date: March 30, 2011)
– “Bloody Harlan” (Episode 2.13, Director: Michael Dinner, Air Date: May 4, 2011)
Creator: Graham Yost
Costume Designer: Patia Prouty
Justified took greater measures to embrace the series’ potential in its rural Kentucky setting during the second season, which is arguably one of the show’s best. Continue reading