1 of the Set Visit.
I stood outside an enormous studio barn, home to the end battle
sequence of The Dark is Rising. A thuggish looking woman in jeans
wheeled a rack of costume changes up next to me. She then tapped
my arm and smiled. "Give me a hand?" I gladly obliged, helping her
set two fully dressed dummies up next to a rack of handpicked
The first costume belonged to the bad guy in the film. The full-bodied
armor of the The Rider, a character played by Christopher Eccleston.
The chest plate was a pattern of aged leather, weaved and overlapped
into an overtly Celtic design. Attached to it were well-worn leather
pants. At the bottom, a pair of brown leather boots that could have
just as easily belonged to Obi-Wan Kenobi. Shrouded over the
ensemble piece was a black cloak. Raven feathers sewn into it so that
they would hang and flow in the wind. Around the neck rested a
green scarf. The costume was both very masculine, and yet vaguely
feminine at the same time. It looked like something that belonged to
a Value Village Jedi and thrift store enthusiast.
While staring at this subtle, yet ominous collection of leather and
cloth, Vin Burnham walked over to us and started to explain her
inspiration for the costume. Vin is probably best known for her work
on Terry Gilliam's films. She has been a costume designer on Time
Bandits, Brazil, and Monty Python's the Meaning of Life. She also put
the nipples on Michael Keaton's Batman outfit, and designed the
clothing for The Fifth Element.
She picked through The Rider's costume piece by piece, describing
everything as she went along.
Vinilla Burnham: The Rider was great fun to make. This is one of four
costumes for him. We have different versions doing different things.
We have the textured version. We have a riding cloak, which is big
because it covers the horse as well as the man. Then we have a
walking version, which means the horse doesn't tread on it. Then we
have a speed version, which flies. So they are all slightly different.
Basically, right at the beginning, we were kind of talking about
armor. But we didn't want to do the typical Knight in armor. And we
didn't want to have anything that was too hard. Or too obvious. It
was always my aim to make something that you couldn't quite make
out what it was. Especially with the texture on the cloak. When you
stand next to it, you can tell exactly what it is. But when it's moving,
and you're not right up close to it, I hope that people will look at it
and not be too sure of what it is. One of the inspirations was a dream
catcher. With the feathers. I wanted to get movement to it. When he's
moving, the feathers fly back and they have a life of their own. So its
like something is hovering around it. It's great, because you can't
quite figure it out. You can see that they're feathers. But they're not
nailed down. It was also a challenge to make it look masculine.
Because, basically, its made kind of like a skirt. That's exactly what it
looks like. I didn't want to make it look like a super hero.