Michele K. Short
Sure, one of the more notable scenes in the new movie On the Road actually features an actress without clothes, but costume designer Danny Glicker promises that audiences will be blown away by the film’s clothes. And with all of the work he put into these looks, they’d better be.
“It was a hugely immersive research period,” Glicker (who was nominated for an Oscar for his work on Milk) tells PEOPLE. “We obviously started with the script, but then I really had to reconstruct Jack Kerouac’s entire journey, so that we’d have a reference point for every place that the characters go.”
The film takes viewers on a trip that extends throughout the U.S. and Mexico of the 1950s, so Glicker says he “had to look with a fresh set of eyes at what the countries really did look like back then, in post-war America.”
Glicker says each woman “had a very specific piece of the puzzle. Kristen and I worked super closely together — she was so committed to the role,” he shares. “And to see her intelligence and awareness of how clothing can inform every aspect of her understanding of a character … that was pure pleasure.”
Working with Adams was also “a dream,” because Glicker considers himself “such a huge fan. I got to make her look quite awful, actually — she’s playing a woman who’s incredibly strung-out on drugs — but thankfully she’s a brilliant actress. We had a ball.”
Dunst had one of the more fun characters to dress, Glicker says, because “she had an elegance about her,” he explains. “It was fun to show that elegance through her clothing, and that then impacted everything, like her posture, and how she appeared against the other characters in the larger picture.”
Michele K. Short
Dressing the men of the cast was interesting, too, and of course lots of thought went into the actor’s outfits. “Sam Riley, who is our Kerouac, was a nice partner in crime,” Glicker says. And one of his pieces was the most important in the film.
“Something you may not notice when you see the movie, is that he has this incredibly iconic red-and-black plaid jacket — it was designed specially for the movie.”
Glicker sourced five of the pieces for filming, since Riley wears the coat throughout the movie, but as time goes on, “it gets more destroyed,” the designer says. “It’s not at all a gag, but wouldn’t you notice if it was clean over the course of a four-year roadtrip? So it was really fun to explore clothing in that way.”
Since Glicker had to create so many costumes — seriously, the cast list is long! — was he able to pick just one favorite? Not a chance. As he says, “There were thousands of standouts.” On the Road opens in New York and Los Angeles on Friday, and throughout the rest of the country soon. Tell us: Do you plan to see the film?