The Prodigy: Interviewing costume designer Catherine Ashton (spoilers)

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Photo Credit: Rafy / Orion Pictures – Copyright MGM

1428 Elm: There is one Halloween scene in the film where Miles wears a skeleton costume, was that your decision or one that was already written into the script?

CA: It was written into the script but it was a big deal to find the right Halloween costume. Some of them were so animated and what I wanted was for it to be so child-like, very corner store you know, like you could go and buy it. A few we had delivered, they glowed or they were massive, and I wanted to keep it as simple as possible.

1428 Elm: As the costume designer you did a great job of maintaining innocence for Miles, maternity for Sarah, did you have any ideas for the other characters, like Margaret (Brittany Allen) who was wearing lighter colors too?

CA: In the beginning she wore a dress. Her dress was keeping with small-town, keeping it very simple, and then later on when I spoke to Brittany, we still wanted to keep it simple, understated, this is a woman who didn’t want media attention, she wanted to disappear.

1428 Elm: Certainly, and she goes through horrific journey, she can’t really catch a break. She loses her hand too, did you guys work together at all on the prosthetic?

CA: Yes, the prosthetic happened very quickly. I had to buy about seven dresses because that dress alone was a sleeveless dress so I had to give coverage for the prosthetic and we weren’t sure where it was going to join, whether down at her wrist or the elbow. I had to make sleeves that would accommodate that decision and make it easier for my set people to attach it quickly, while holding a camera.

The second time we see her it was in the kill scene and again I had to make sure we got tops that covered the prosthetic enough. We added the coverage.

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1428 Elm: Speaking of the girls and the gowns, there was a stunning robe that Sarah wears, it’s in the scene where she finds Tallulah’s body. As the costume designer, you created a juxtaposition between something so gruesome being found while she’s wearing this ethereal gown. Was that your intention? 

CA: That robe was our favorite. We were determined to get that in, we both loved it. Again we wanted to keep it soft and pretty. She looks so beautiful gliding down those stairs that when she gets there it’s horrific.

1428 Elm: The scene with Miles and his therapist was also really chilling.

CA: Right, I really wanted to get him that sweater. I have to tell you I searched all over the place for that sweater. That sweater to me, the cable sweater, is a sweater your mom would put on you to make the right impression. I really wanted, at that moment, for him to look so innocent because you really don’t expect for him to say what he’s gonna say.

1428 Elm: I think it’s one of the most shocking scenes in the film.

CA: When I got the script I had to read that part three times. I was shocked reading it.

1428 Elm: The movie really goes there but I think that’s what makes it stand out. So with that, I’ll go ahead and wrap up, I just wanted to ask if you had any other projects coming up?

CA: I just finished the series, In the Dark, which will be coming out on the CW. I’m very excited about it, make sure everybody watches!

1428 Elm: Well thank you so much for talking with me Catherine, it was great getting to know you.

CA: Thank you so much, take care!

In the Dark premieres on the CW in April. Catherine has also worked as a costume designer on other notable projects such as Outlander and Beauty and the BeastThe Prodigy is playing now in theaters nationwide, check your local listings for times.

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Are you planning to see The Prodigy in theaters? Do you find it interesting to learn about the choices costume designers make to create character through clothing choices? Let us know in the comments!