Sophisticated, bold, flashy and a bit of a shark is how costume designer Deb Newhall describes Rosamund Pike’s character Marla Grayson in the Netflix dark comedy “I Care a Lot.”
On Sunday, Pike won a Golden Globe in the best actress comedy or musical category — beating out expected frontrunner Maria Bakalova — and the film remains in Netflix’s top five as audiences continue to discuss the plot and its lead character.
Marla (Pike) is a grifter who chases her dream by taking advantage of wealthy elderly people and assuming control over their finances. She’s constantly looking for her next mark.
Newhall began thinking up Marla’s looks by pulling images together for her mood board. “I kept thinking everything was going to be dark and sharp on her, like a blade as she slices through the scene,” Newhall says. When she showed the images to director J Blakeson, he explained it was a comedy, and so Newhall switched directions for Marla’s costumes.
Newhall injected color into Marla’s palette — a friendly yellow to deceive audiences and characters, and a bold red “to really lift her.” Here, Newhall breaks down two of Marla’s key looks from the film.
Meeting Jennifer Peterson
“In this scene, Marla meets her latest mark, Jennifer, played by Dianne Wiest. Jennifer is a wealthy retiree with no apparent living heirs.
I saw the house color and knew I wanted to put her in something yellow. She has to be completely disarming and friendly. I didn’t know if it would be a dress or a suit.
I had a lot of sketches because I think visually. I had long conversations with everyone, especially Rosamund to talk about thoughts and get information about what she saw with her character. I had a palette that I wanted to work with. I wanted to keep it clean so there were no distractions, no flowers or florals.
The first suit we see her in is a daffodil yellow. I found this fabulous yellow suit in New York. I used yellow as a key color for her. When she shows up at Jennifer’s in this yellow suit, it made her appear friendlier and I used that against Marla’s dark character to keep you on your toes. And you think she’s pleasant and reliable. So does Jennifer. But it’s all calculated to make this impression to deceive and conquer her new valuable ward.
The other thing about Marla is she always had these incredible four-inch heels and that haircut. That haircut was so extreme; you could open an envelope with that haircut.
Her sunglasses came from Garret Leight. She was familiar with this company and we had 15 pairs of sunglasses to try one, but we settled on one pair that would do it all.
The thing about the glasses is they can do a few things. In this scene, they had that classic vintage thing about them. They can read friendly, and they do. When she comes to the door, she’s non-threatening. So that helped.”
That Red Dress
“That red dress was from the Victoria Beckham collection. It was a line of clothing that I had always in my mind when I first thought about this character.
As it turns out, when I was speaking with Rosamund, she said Victoria was a friend of hers. I ended up doing a virtual pulling session with Victoria Beckham’s showroom on a zoom call and went through their collection. Rosamund ended up packing the dresses in her suitcase when she flew from London and brought them to set.
That red is a Victoria Beckham red, she uses that color a lot.
Later in the film, the white dress that Marla wears in the ICU scene with the yellow heel, is a vintage Victoria Beckham dress.
The yellow asymmetrical shoe that she wears when her feet are up on the bed is from Jimmy Choo.”
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