What it's Like to Dress an Actress for Seven Different Roles in the Same Movie

What it's Like to Dress an Actress for Seven Different Roles in the Same Movie
Courtesy Netflix

Netflix's latest sci-fi thriller, What Happened to Monday, hit the streaming service on Friday. This action-packed film is set in a not-so-distant future where overpopulation has led to a strict one-child policy. Glenn Close's character is charged with ensuring all siblings are placed in a cryogenic sleep chamber until the world sees better days.

The film also stars Noomi Rapace cast as seven separate identical siblings who are only allowed to go outside on their designated (and namesake) day. Things undoubtedly get a little hairy when one sister, Monday, goes missing and the rest of her siblings set out to find her.

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While the sisters are in their apartment, before explosions and mayhem disrupt their lives, they're encouraged to set their individual personalities free. This is where costume designer Oana Paunescu comes in. She's the mastermind behind dressing Rapace for seven different roles in one production. And we caught up with the guru on the phone to talk about her motifs, color scheme, and working with the cast (which, spoiler alert, features a very Krewella-esque Glenn Close).

Scroll through below to hear her thoughts on the movie and stream What Happened to Monday on Netflix now.

 

 

What a unique challenge you had for this movie! Was that pretty exciting or nerve-racking for you?

Very new and very exciting. It was a challenge because it was the first time I approached a subject like this. And even though I’m not a fan of [sci-fi] movies, I really wanted to work on it after reading the script. It’s like more of a period movie set in the future, but a more relatable future. That’s the way the director [Tommy Wirkola] wanted it.

How did you tackle this project, costuming for seven different personalities?

I have to say that Noomi [Rapace] had input in all the costumes. Every personality has a bit of her in it.

I imagine they helped her get into character. Was that the idea?

Yes, it was helpful like always.

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Courtesy Netflix

The one costume consistent is the sisters’ pseudonym Karen Settman’s blue dress. What were you going for with that look?

The idea was to be something like a uniform, blending in to this world where all those bureaucrats are the people with money.

In the final fight scene between Thursday and Monday, Monday has a slight variation of lighter shoulders on her blue dress. Why was that decision made?

[We thought] the beginning of the week would be for softness. So Monday would wear something a little bit softer in color. You wouldn’t think that she’s softer because of what her character does, but [there is softness to her].

Courtesy Netflix

Did you try to tie the costumes to traditional ideas of the days of the week?

Exactly! Tuesday comes after Monday, which means, for example, you may need to smoke more. Wednesday you are realizing you smoked too much and you have to workout. On Thursday, we reboot ourselves. Friday, maybe we choose to study more. Saturday, let’s drink. And Sunday, we choose to behave and go to church. Each of the days has an external meaning for everyone that we tried to show in the costuming.

What went into designing Nicolette Cayman (Glenn Close)’s red campaign dress?

At the end, the color pallet was very green because [Close’s character] says that she wants to save the planet. But, finally she’s seen in red. That was meant to be like a red flag of warning; a light that would lead everyone to go up to her because she’s the most powerful and people should respect her.

Courtesy Netflix

Do you have a favorite costume from this movie?

Personally, I like Thursday’s character the most so I’d say her's.

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How did the shooting process work?

Noomi would wear the main costume for the day and six other stand-in actresses would wear each of the other costumes.

What was it like working with the cast?

Noomi [Rapace] was very wise. She really was one of those actresses where sometimes you hate her, but ultimately you love her because you know that even when she doesn’t like something, she doesn’t like it for a reason. It was the greatest challenge to work with someone like her, but it was also very inspiring because every time she played a different character it wasn’t Noomi, it really was that character.

Was there a lot that you disagreed on in costuming?

Not necessarily. But, she always wanted better, better, better. Every time she put something on she paid attention to every detail.

Courtesy Netflix

Which character was the most difficult to costume?

Saturday was the most difficult. It took a long time until we finally decided on Juicy sweatpants, jeans, the blond hair. I think that was the most difficult character to establish because she’s totally different from the rest.

Would you ever work on a project like this again?

Well, every project has its own life, but I’m very fond of this one. I don’t know if in the near future I’ll have the opportunity to do something similar—it’s so unique.

Stream What Happened to Monday on Netflix now.

 
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