Costume Designer Natalie Bronfman on See Season 2 and Gotham Knights
Tai Freligh chats with costume designer Natalie Bronfman…
Natalie Bronfman is an international Designer, encompassing a Maison de Couture, Édith, and Theatre, Film & Opera. She is known for her work on Apple TV+ See, The Handmaid’s Tale and Most Dangerous Game and most recently completed the pilot for the new series Gotham Knights. I recently had the chance to speak with her about the second season of See and doing the pilot for Gotham Knights.
Natalie came on board as the costume designer on the second season of the hit Apple TV+ series See. I asked her if there was already a philosophy in place behind the costume designing and how much flexibility she had to build and improve upon for the second season?
“There was a philosophy, I mean, it was a basic philosophy, obviously, in terms of what it is we were producing, and for the characters in terms of you couldn’t see the things, the items, but you were able to hear them or smell them. You obviously couldn’t see the color, but I did play with the other senses. So that made it quite interesting. I very much created the costumes, for example, with my hands or like, I would go and touch the fabrics as opposed to just looking at them. I would take objects and see if they had a sound and then apply them into the costuming where I could.”
In the second season of the show, the main character Baba Voss (Jason Momoa) goes into battle with his brother, Edo (Dave Bautista). He takes on the persona of a samurai warrior and all the trappings of that, including full body armor. I asked Natalie Bronfman where the decision to make Baba a samurai came from and what was the inspiration behind the final costume.
“Yeah, well, in Harlan’s stash of armor (Ed Note: Lord Harlan is the ruler of Pennsa before Queen Kane takes over), he found a full set of samurai armor, and with, you know, pieces of armor from all over all throughout time, because we’re trying to think of what were things that didn’t disintegrate in 600 years. And that would be something like that. I actually had a 17th century, Japanese chest plate that I found on ebay that I bought, and it was made out of metal, that was enameled. So I purchased that and use that as the inspiration for his armor. And when I showed it to him in the fitting (Ed Note: Jason Momoa), we started he’s like, ‘Ah, I’ve always wanted to be a samurai’. And I said, Okay, great. Let’s be samurai. And yeah, so we built on that. And we incorporated his favorite color, which is pink. So he was a pink Samurai, essentially. And you know, we had the little bit of molding on it. And also the kimono and hakama the trousers. They’re very easy to fight in because they’re so roomy. So he really liked that idea. So that’s how we happened upon that.”
The world of See is very drab, but that’s to be expected in a post-apocalyptic world where almost everyone is blind. As the costume designer, Natalie Bronfman did have some room to play with color, but in an interesting way based on what could actually be found in nature and what different colors would actually smell like.
“Well, I was basing it on what would natural dyes look like? Because natural dyes are made, of course from plants and herbs and like turmeric creates a beautiful yellow, but it has a scent. Avocado skins creates a pink, which is why we could use that movie pink color for Jason (Momoa), but it also has a scent. Berries have a scent. Indigo has a scent. So all of the colors we use, we couldn’t use natural dyes, because when you had to create thirty six of something the dyes wouldn’t last.
Bronfman pointed out how color was used to show the various stages of Queen Kane’s power over time and how it went from saturated to desaturated.
“At the very beginning we see she has a lightish dress on that has a splotch of blood on the back which she then turns into an entirely red outfit, and then it comes back into being very pale. So there’s that arc. And same with Magra (Ed Note: Queen Kane’s sister who ends up taking over as Queen). Her colors have kept her in blue and on that I was playing on sort of with the Last Supper, we were playing with Judas and you know, the blue and the red.”
With so many characters and different costumes on the second season of See, I had to ask Natalie if she had a favorite.
“It’s hard to pick your favorite child there’s I think I mean, apart from Edo and Baba. My other favorite outfit was the Queen Kane’s wedding coat, which we recently had on display in Los Angeles for a panel it’s so beautifully intricate. And you know, it was all found object lace and lots of symbolism in it has to do with her barrenness and her power. The coat actually happened by accident because originally the scene was set for inside and then they decided they were going to shoot it outside except we had minus 40 degrees Celsius outside. So I had to come up with a coat real fast. It was lots of fun. So there’s no favorite costume. I like them all.”
I tried my luck at squeezing some season three secrets out of Natalie Bronfman in terms of what we can expect from the costuming, but she was pretty tight lipped. She did drop a little hint.
“I can tell you one thing, you obviously know there’s going to be a power struggle between the two queens, which is very interesting. So stay tuned for that. It’s pretty good.”
As a fan of the show, I am rooting for Queen Magra, but appreciate just how crazy Queen Kane is.
“You need the psychopath. I mean, Silvia (Hoeks) does a brilliant job of portraying her. It’s just unbelievable. Yeah, I mean, I had a lot of fun with her character. You know? It’s uh, yeah, it’s, uh, yeah. Can’t say more. Sorry.”
When I asked her about upcoming projects, she told me about filming the pilot for the new Gotham Knights show on The CW network, and had some good news to share as well!
“Well, I just finished about two weeks ago, Gotham Knights. It’s a pilot for CW, which I just found out is going to series so congratulations to them. It’s the story of post Bruce Wayne. I want to say he, you know, we find him dead. And it’s the children. So it’s it’s a different spin on it, which is nice. Which is fun.”
I asked her how much leeway she had when it came to costuming DC superheroes, given how much the fandom can be a stickler for what is canon in the DC Universe.
“It’s already a created entity. There are new characters brought in and so it’s more of a youthful spin on it. And then, you know, we get to develop his son’s (Bruce Wayne) look so that’s fun.”
You can watch the entire twenty minute interview HERE on my YouTube Channel and subscribe for other interesting interviews and coverage from SDCC and Wonder Con.