Exclusive interview with the Costume Designer of Let Me In

17 Jul

Melissa Bruning – Let Her In

Updated: 07-16-2010

by Staci Layne Wilson

Horror is my mainstay but fashion is my passion, so when I found out that cool clothier Melissa Bruning — who did a stellar job on Love Ranch, now in theaters — dressed the vamps in the upcoming remake of Let The Right One In, I just had to snag an interview…
Staci Layne Wilson / Horror.com: Is the Let Me In film also based in the early 80s, like the Scandinavian version and the book?
Melissa Bruning: We decided to set the film in 1983, knowing that it bridged a decade. Most clothing styles don’t change until at least three years in, so it allows me to give the kids an early 80s look and the adults could still be clinging to their 70s garb. For me, growing up in Omaha, Nebraska and attending junior high at this time, I had a clear idea of the design I wanted to present in the film. I even used my junior high yearbook as a guide. New Mexico and Nebraska were not that different as far as fashion was concerned. It took a long time for what was happening on the coasts to penetrate and eventually show up as a watered-down version at Sears. It is also extremely, ridiculously cold in New Mexico. No one seems to realize this unless you’ve lived it. Most nights we were shooting it was consistently 20 degrees outside and at an elevation that made breathing difficult. In Red River, my wardrobe supervisor came down with altitude sickness and wanted to die. So, lots of sweaters (usually done with a bit of Nordic influence) and heavy coats were necessary to keep the actors teeth from chattering.
For Abby (played by Chloe Moretz), we did change the design from the little pink sweater she wore in the original. Matt and I were very inspired by a photograph by Mary Ellen Mark of a homeless girl and boy in the early 80s.
The thin, battered jacket would never be enough for a child in that kind of climate, but a first glance, adults wouldn’t pay too much attention. The dark color hides sins (lots of blood) and at times she wears a hooded sweatshirt. It relates back to her past… a scene I can’t talk about. It also gives her a sense of androgyny. We made a choice to do something different and I feel it works better for the story we are telling. There is one moment in the film of her little, cloaked, white face that reminds me of Bergman’s The Seventh Seal, my intention.
SLW: How much inspiration for costuming comes from things which have gone before (in this case, a bestselling book and a much-loved cult film… there *will* be fan expectation), and how much from the script or/and what the director wants?

2 Responses to “Exclusive interview with the Costume Designer of Let Me In”

  1. Terrence Kelsey July 17, 2010 at 9:15 AM #

    EXCELLENT INTERVIEW!!! I very much liked what Melissa had to say, and definitely am impressed with the choice of movies she referenced:

    “I watched Taxi Driver, Looking for Mr. Goodbar, The Hunger, Tommy, A Clockwork Orange and all sorts of things today’s parents would never allow.”

    And she mentioned THE SHINING, SUSPIRIA, ROSEMARY’S BABY as well (all of the above are personal favorites, as you already know).

    Also, excellent SUSPIRIA film still you chose, Staci – I always dug & tripped out on “Olga’s” ornamental wallpaper! Ha!

  2. stacilaynewilson July 18, 2010 at 10:10 AM #

    Thank you! She’s one of the cool ones. And, being cool, it is SHE who chose that Suspiria still, not I. Can’t wait to see her work in LET ME IN – I was really captivated by the costuming in LOVE RANCH, so I’m psyched.

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