We (literally) ran into the charming and jovial George Mitchell in the food tent at the FIDM Art of Motion Picture Costume Design event! George is currently designing The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, and we asked him what he thought of the FIDM costume exhibit!
FT: So what did you think, George?
GM: Overall, I liked the exhibit. I thought it was well presented. As usual the “true” period work, like Young Victoria, is probably going to walk away with all the awards because people don’t think 1930s, ’40s, ’50s is “period”. If you really think about what wins, it’s usually an older-period picture. Same thing with the Emmys; the shows that get the attention are the things set in the 1800s. Most people see something modern and they’re not going to think “Oh, wow! That’s really designed!” And that’s one of the problems.
FT: What are your top movies of 2009?
GM: Young Victoria and Nine.
But, see, that’s the other thing. There’s tits and glitz. That will also win, if it’s razzle-dazzle. A lot of times, sparkles will distract you, really, from any flaws in the show. It’s true. You go, “Oh, look! Sparklies!”
FT: What is the craziest thing you’ve had to put together for “The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson”?
You know, I’m always doing last minute things. I do a lot of drag. I have women’s shoes in sizes 13, 14, and 15 that I have to keep in stock. Every day is a challenge for me. And, yes, I do cuss like a sailor on shore leave when they first tell me (about the last-minute costumes), but then I calm down. And then I think, “Okay, where can I get this in 45 minutes?” I usually do this by myself.
I go out and I shop. I’ll go and get the fabric. I will design it. Sarah Palin! We had to make a Sarah Palin costume for Bradley, our little person. If you’re a woman, you’re a man on our show: Britney Spears, Amy Winehouse, etc. But it’s hard to get his body proportions correctly. God bless him, anything I put on him he’ll wear. And that’s the thing, when you’re working with an actor, you can usually tell the difference between someone who is just starting and someone who’s done it for a long time. When they’re first starting, they don’t know anything, so anything you throw on them, it’s fine. The ones that have been there for a long time, they know that you know your job. And they’ll just wear it. It’s part of the job. It’s the people in the middle, the ones who haven’t quite made it, who can be a pain in the ass.
Thank you, George, for your always-entertaining insight!! It was great to bump into you!
— KMB & AT