Clothe the royal court on an indie film budget

Challenge: Clothe the royal court on an independent-film budget

Finding inspiration is never a problem for costume designer Sandy Powell, who has worked on such sartorially demanding projects as “The Aviator” and “Gangs of New York.” With “The Other Boleyn Girl,” the challenge had more to do with finding resources.

“It was initially quite a low-budget film, and because it was about British royalty, everything about it was rich,” she explains. To make things even more complex, the script called for elaborate scenes packed with extras. With crowd scenes, you normally rent all the costumes, “but there was nothing in the world available to rent because ‘The Tudors’ was being made at the same time, so we were really stuck,” Powell says.

Instead, she had to make every single costume for the extras by hand in addition to the leads. “So that was a hell of lot of costumes to make without any extra time or money,” she emphasizes. It helped that they were able to buy lots of accessories, including belts and jewelry, from Turkey. “We just worked every minute,” Powell says. “I begged people to work for less than they normally would. We literally just got our heads down and made stuff.”

Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more