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Sheppard, Tarantino collaborate on ‘Basterds’

Filmmaker's methods gave pic unique flair, style

When costume designer Anna Sheppard took on “Inglourious Basterds,” doing her work in the bitter cold of Berlin became the least of her worries.

One of her hardest tasks was preparing costumes for the climactic scene, in which a Paris movie house filled with Nazi bigwigs, including Hitler, is set on fire.

“I had to create 300 costumes for extras and stuntmen that had to have the look and feel of the ’40s period in Europe, and do it all while having to watch for safety,” Sheppard says. “We were dealing with fire, so there couldn’t be any synthetic fabrics anywhere.”

The fight scenes and helmer Quentin Tarantino’s sometimes unpredictable way of working also kept the costume designer on her toes.

“I’ve never worked before for someone who would evolve a scene in the moment the way he did,” she says. “In the fight scene in the tavern, I had 10 of every costume because you never know where things will end up or what sorts of things can happen to the costumes where there are fights, weapons and alcohol involved.”

Sheppard was most impressed by Tarantino’s commitment to every aspect of the project — including her costumes.

“He was there for every fitting I did for the actors,” Sheppard says. “He wanted to discuss every button I used, so what you see on the screen is a great collaboration.”

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