How Mank costume designer Trish Summerville recreated classic Hollywood

Recreating the look of Hollywood’s golden age was far from black-and-white for costume designer Trish Summerville.

Maureen Lee Lenker
November 20, 2020
Entertainment Weekly

For David Fincher‘s new movie Mank — which chronicles screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz‘s efforts to craft Citizen Kane, as well as the personal baggage behind the film — Summerville was tasked with bringing the Tinseltown of the 1930s and ’40s back to life.

In some cases, she was recreating the looks of classic stars, including Marion Davies (Amanda Seyfried) and Orson Welles (Tom Burke). But for the most part, the film (and Summerville) opted for grit over glitz. “It’s not super-glamorous,” she tells EW. “We’re really focused on the daily life of Mank [played by Gary Oldman]. So we were looking for authentic pieces and nothing too over-the-top. We want it to be authentic in the shapes, what fabrics were used, the silhouettes, the colors, that kind of thing — and then translate that into black and white. It has to be subtle.”

On the surface, it was a perfect fit for Summerville, who previously worked with Fincher on projects like Gone Girl and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. “Normally I don’t use a lot of color; I use a really muted palette,” she says. “For Dave’s films, it is always pretty muted.”

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