In the Paramount action drama “Flight,” pilot Whip Whitaker (played by Denzel Washington) miraculously crash-lands a malfunctioning plane. He is hailed as a national hero for saving nearly every life aboard, but the investigation threatens to reveal Whip’s darkest secrets. Costume designer Louise Frogley takes a break from the set of Iron Man 3 for an exclusive interview in which she shares some secrets of her own:
How would you describe the general look of Denzel’s character? How many costumes did you create?
We were trying to be conventional, to show him as a man who wasn’t poor, but wasn’t a showy type. He’s dressed conservatively. It was about 10 looks [made with] clothes somebody could actually own…we mixed and matched.
What kind of research was involved in assembling Denzel Washington’s wardrobe for this particular role?
[It involved] seeing what pilots actually do wear. It’s a very easy thing to search. It has a lot to do with shapes that Denzel likes. He really likes certain looks. He’s got a pretty good shape so it was really about things like how big a collar should be in proportion to his face. It’s just finding that absolute right size. He’s very professional, he’s very aware of what works for him, and he’s usually right.
Can you describe your experience working with Denzel? What is his personality and body type like?
He’s very nice and he’s very intense. He gets very into the character, he really wants to do the very best that he can do, and he wants everybody around him to do the same. He won’t stop ‘til everything is exactly right, which is great. It’s very inspirational.
I recently interviewed John Carroll of Carroll & Co., a store with an established history of dressing film actors. He mentioned that Denzel wears one of their suede jackets in the film and that "they needed a bunch." Can you tell me a little more about the item?
[We used it for] one of Denzel’s casual looks. It’s a light tan suede jacket from Carroll & Co. and it was just very well cut. It wasn’t ostentatious—it’s a nice classic piece. You wouldn’t notice it and if you did, it would be just right. [Denzel] would like to have a lot of everything, it would make him feel more comfortable.
Which is your personal favorite outfit from the film?
He had a navy blue zip-up windbreaker that I really like.
Look for these items when Flight takes off in theatres on November 2.
Photographs courtesy of denofgeek.com and sbrforum.com.