Movies

Phantom Thread's sewing pros are amateur actors alongside Day-Lewis

Advisers land roles as head seamstresses in Phantom Thread

Living thousands of kilometres from Hollywood and lacking any acting experience, Susan Clark and Joan Brown seemed unlikely candidates to land roles opposite triple Oscar-winning English actor Daniel Day-Lewis.

But, experts with a needle and thread, Brown, 74, and Clark, 67, have speaking roles in Phantom Thread, in which Day-Lewis plays a couturier.

Currently showing here and written-directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, the film is set in a fashion house in 1950s London, a world the pair experienced in real life - Brown as a ladies' seamstress and Clark a dressmaking teacher.

Their involvement in the film began when they were consulted for their expertise, but they did not initially realise who they were dealing with.

"I was talking to this nice gentleman about one of the pieces of costume that they have got out, and I looked down at his security pass and it said Daniel Day-Lewis," Clark said.

Initially, the women were recruited as technical advisers, but they were later asked to play the dedicated head seamstresses working at Day-Lewis' character's atelier, handling fabric and fittings - small roles but ones in which they appear regularly throughout the film.

Day-Lewis, known for his meticulous preparation, sought to draw on Brown and Clark's knowledge to ensure the accuracy of period details, as Clark found when she pointed out that a garment was being assembled in an inauthentic way.

"I sort of said, 'No, it is not like that - do it like that,' and he said, 'You must tell us - you must tell us because it has got to be right,'" she said.

With Phantom Thread nominated for six Oscars at the upcoming Academy Awards, will Brown and Clark's Hollywood adventure stretch all the way to the prestigious event?

"I think we have not been invited yet, so we are just going to wait and see. My passport is out of date at the moment," Clark said. - REUTERS

Fashion