“You Guys Are Geniuses”: ‘THR Presents’ Q&A With ‘Mank’ Star Amanda Seyfried and Artists Who Turned Her Into Marion Davies

Oscar nominees Amanda Seyfried, Trish Summerville, Gigi Williams and Colleen Labaff spoke with THR’s Scott Feinberg.

Scott Feinberg
April 9, 2021
The Hollywood Reporter

“He’s extremely efficient, so the team around him has to be very efficient as well,” says Trish SummervilleMank‘s Oscar-nominated costume designer, as we — along with the film’s best supporting actress nominee Amanda Seyfried, who plays actress Marion Davies, and best makeup and hairstyling nominees Gigi Williams (the makeup department head) and Colleen Labaff (the assistant head hair stylist) — discuss the film’s Oscar-nominated director, David Fincher, during an episode of THR Presents.

Mank, a Netflix film about the alcoholic screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz and the writing of the 1941 classic Citizen Kane, was designed to look and sound as if it was made during the same era as Kane. This required special attention from each of these four women. Seyfried had to adopt a pre-Method style of acting. Williams and Labaff had to recreate the looks of specific famous people from that time. And Summerville had to design or obtain clothing that was not only period-appropriate, but that also looked right in black-and-white.

“You guys are geniuses,” Seyfried says to her three fellow artists, noting that without their contributions she could never have given the career-reinventing performance that she did.

Fincher is famously a perfectionist, sometimes shooting dozens upon dozens of takes, and is also regarded as intimidating by many who don’t know him, as was the case for Seyfried and Labaff prior to Mank. But Summerville had previously collaborated with him on music videos, 2011’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and 2014’s Gone Girl, and says, “Every time I work with him I feel like I become a better filmmaker, I become better at my job.” Adds Williams, who worked with him on Gone Girl and the 2017-2019 TV series Mindhunter, “I just adore him — he has made me a better makeup artist.”

Whatever Fincher does, it clearly brings out the best in those around him, at least on Mank, which landed 10 Oscar nominations, four more than the next-most-nominated film this year, including best picture.

Watch the full conversation

MANK Craft Panel. With Erik Messerschmidt, Donald Graham Burt & Trish Summerville

Jessica Radloff
April 7, 2021
American Cinematheque

Mank Craft Panel with cinematographer Erik Messerschmidt, production designer Donald Graham Burt and costume designer Trish Summerville, moderated by Jessica Radloff. Presented by the American Cinematheque on Saturday, April 3, 2021.

In Conversation: Behind the Crafts of Mank

Wendy Mitchell
March 3, 2021
Netflix Awards FYC

A conversation with Cinematographer Erik Messerschmidt, ASC, Production Designer Donald Graham Burt, Set Decorator Jan Pascale, Costume Designer Trish Summerville, and Makeup Department Head Gigi Williams on behalf of Mank. Moderated by Wendy Mitchell.

Watch the full conversation

‘Mank’ Costume Designer Trish Summerville On Turning Color Into Black & White

Gregory Ellwood
April 2, 2021
The Playlist

Costume designer Trish Summerville has collaborated with David Fincher on films such as Gone Girl” and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” and with other filmmakers on large fantasy films including The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” and The Dark Tower.” None of that prepared her for tackling Fincher’s passion project, however. Mank” not only found her designing clothing from Hollywood’s golden era, but translating those costumes specifically for a black and white digital canvas.

“We had to make a really big decision on how we would go about translating the degrees and tones that we needed on screen, but not to be too jarring and distracting to the actors while on set. Because a lot of the women’s clothes that actresses wore were in corals and short truce, lime green, bright purple, a lot of bright t-shirts,” Summerville recalls. “So for us, that would have been too distracting to have all those colors to the naked eye on set but would have translated lovely in black and white. It was just kind of figuring out what colors we could use that adjusted that a bit and tones we would go in, and just keep the pallet a little bit more stabilized in different scenes, especially scenes where we have larger background numbers. We just kind of wanted to keep the color palette very contained.”

Currently in production on Francis Lawrence’s “Slumberland,” Summerville revisited her work on the Netflix release which included a lot of time showcasing the character and real-life historical figure Marion Davis, portrayed by another first-time Oscar nominee, Amanda Seyfried.

Read the full interview

The Filmmakers Podcast: The Making of David Fincher’s “Mank”

Cinematographer Erik Messerschmidt, Make Up Designer Gigi Williams, Production Designer Don Burt & Costume Designer Trish Summerville

Giles Alderson, Andrew Rodger, Phil Hawkins
April 2, 2021
The Filmmakers Podcast

We are delighted to bring to you our SPECIAL bumper episode on the Making of David Fincher’s BAFTA & OSCAR nominated ‘Mank’.

We start with Giles Alderson and Andrew Rodger having a chat with ‘Mank’ Cinematographer Erik Messerschmidt about going from Gaffer on Fincher’s Gone Girl to DoP on Mank and how he made the transition to make his debut feature film.

He talks pre-production, how he works with Fincher especially during the repeated takes, what the process was to shooting in black and white and the camera they used.

Co host Phil Hawkins then joins Giles to chat to Make Up designer Gigi Williams about her process, the difference between shooting on digital vs. film. What she works on first how she collaborates with the HOD team and gives some brilliant Make Up tips.

We then chat to Production Designer and Art Director Donald Graham Burt AKA Don Burt about designing the film from preparation through the shooting. He explains why listening is so important in film-making, how he researches a project and how he created the 1930/s & 1940 style and look. And how you don’t have to appease to get ahead.

Finally we chat to Costume Designer Trish Summerville about how she created the look and feel of Mank through her costumes. She talks about working in teams, how to collaborate with actors to help create the characters and how to use colours and patterns to portray certain emotions!

Listen to the podcast:

The Filmmakers Podcast
Apple Podcasts
Spotify

Behind the Seams: CDGA Nominees Trish Summerville and Michael Wilkinson

JL Pomeroy
March 28, 2021
Costume Designers Guild Awards (Twitter)

Join us on another installment of Behind the Seams: Runway to the CDGA! This week, our host JL Pomeroy is joined by nominees Trish Summerville (Mank) and Michael Wilkinson (Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey).

How Trish Summerville Went from Designing Christina Aguilera’s ‘Dirrty’ Chaps to Receiving an Oscar Nod for the ‘Mank’ Costumes

David Fincher and Summerville at the 2012 Costume Designers Guild Awards (Alberto E. Rodriguez)

The costume designer shares her biggest challenge on set of the award-season juggernaut and the backstory behind Xtina’s iconic “leg coverings.”

Fawnia Soo Hoo
March 29, 2021
Fashionista

In our long-running series “How I’m Making It,” we talk to people making a living in the fashion and beauty industries about how they broke in and found success.

As the Academy Award nominations were being announced on March 15, “Mank” costume designer Trish Summerville was all PPE-ed up, shooting the Jason Momoa-starring fantasy film “Slumberland.” She was simultaneously FaceTiming her wife, up early in Los Angeles, and watching a semi-delayed livestream (relatable), when she heard her name. 

“I went to the director on the film, Francis Lawrence, and we stepped outside,” Summerville, on a call from Toronto, remembers. “He did give me a hug. He and I are really good friends and have known each other for many, many years. We had masks and face shields on, and all that, and were really, really safe. I have to say, it was great to get a hug.”

Known for her stylized, high-concept and often high-fashion-influenced (or designer label-stacked) costumes, Summerville received multiple nods for her innovative work on the Old Hollywood-set “Mank,” including her first BAFTA and her sixth Costume Designers Guild Award nominations. (This is also her first time being up for an Oscar.) She already won two CDGAs for 2013’s “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” also directed by Lawrence, and “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” helmed by “Mank” director David Fincher; and was nominated for an Emmy for the “Westworld” pilot, among other accolades.

Read the full interview

Netflix Presents a Women in Film Conversation

Jazz Tangcay, Senior Artisans Editor at Variety
March 24, 2021
Netflix Film Club (YouTube)

Join a who’s who of behind-the-scenes talent for a Women in Film discussion about their work on Netflix‘s Oscar®-nominated slate this year, including:

  • Animated Short Producer Maryann Garger (If Anything Happens I Love You)
  • Costume Designer Trish Summerville (Mank)
  • Hair-and-Makeup Artisans Mia Neal, Matiki Anoff and Jamika Wilson (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom)
  • Songwriter Diane Warren (“Io Sí” from The Life Ahead)
  • Supervising Sound Editor Renée Tondelli (The Trial of the Chicago 7)

‘Mank’: Costuming Hollywood’s Golden Age in Strategic Black-and-White

Oscar-nominated costume designer Trish Summerville used an iPhone to help her put different puzzle pieces together.

Bill Desowitz
March 23, 2021
IndieWire

Like her fellow Oscar-nominated colleagues, costume designer Trish Summerville had the rare opportunity of working in black-and-white on David Fincher’s “Mank,” which meticulously recaptured the Golden Age of Hollywood in the ’30s. But their work was made easier by the monochromatic settings on their iPhones, allowing them to instantly translate the proper color tones. This way, the look of Summerville’s wardrobes would be in sync with the sets and decor. It was all part of strategic plan to create an authentic-looking monochromatic world.

“I had conversations with [production designer] Don Burt about what his color palettes would be so we wouldn’t have the rooms be so colorful,” Summerville said. “We wanted to have the tones blend. For us in costumes, it was more burgundies, purples, navies, blacks. And you could pump up from there to gowns with muted lilacs or dusty roses, which came in as nice light grays. We also had shell whites or cream whites and stayed away from deep black. It was also being mindful of prints and patterns that could be too bold or too busy. And how to use details that wouldn’t have too much contrast or disappear entirely. For instance, you couldn’t have navy buttons on a navy suit or it would look black.”

Read the full profile

Scene Stealers with Gary Oldman and Amanda Seyfreid

March 4, 2021
Netflix Film Club (YouTube)

Mank actors Gary Oldman and Amanda Seyfried sit down with casting director Laray Mayfield to discuss their work in David Fincher‘s acclaimed film. Oldman discusses tapping the vulnerability of the eponymous screenwriter and using his actual physicality for the portrayal, while Seyfried speaks to Marion Davies‘s legacy and how it shaded Seyfried’s depiction of her.