Catherine Martin is an Australian costume designer, production designer, set designer and producer. She won two Academy Awards for Moulin Rouge! in 2002 and another two for The Great Gatsby in 2014. Having won four Oscars, she is the most awarded Australian in Oscar history. She is credited for her several works alongside husband, filmmaker Baz Luhrmann, including Romeo + Juliet (1996), Moulin Rouge! (2001), Australia (2008), The Great Gatsby (2013) and obviously ELVIS which is due in cinemas this week!
We were lucky enough to speak to Catherine which you can read/listen below plus we also chatted to Olivia Dejonge who plays Priscilla Presley, click here to watch that.
Click the play button below to listen and don’t forget to do a search on all good Podcast streamers for Accessreel.com Interviews to listen via devices.
AR: How’s It all going so far, how’s the premieres and everything and the excitement?
CM: Well, it’s been going really well and lovely to share it with all the cast and crew and friends and family who’ve been coming and tonight we have another one in Melbourne and no, it’s absolutely lovely to be part of the celebration of launching this movie and getting such nice feedback.
AR: Well, I really enjoyed the film. I’ve always been a big fan of Elvis and loved his music, my dad’s best friend always played the music around me, so I definitely grew up with it and it did feel like I was watching him on screen when Austin was up there.
CM: Austin is truly extraordinary in the role, and he really finds something totally human. He reveals a humanity that I find so touching and emotional.
AR: You’re a producer on this, You’re a costume designer and production designer. It feels like you’ve picked yourself some of the hardest jobs on a film set. Do you have a preference?
CM: I think all the roles are important to me and rewarding in their different ways. I mean, when you’re actually shooting every day, you know the majority of your time is spent in the design world, but I enjoy all the aspects you know. I like being part of the kind of overall gesture as a producer and I enjoy being in the nitty gritty of costumes and sets as well.
AR: So obviously when working on Elvis and doing your research for the costumes and the sets and etc, did you get much access to the archives like up at Graceland did Priscilla open the door and say go for it or how did it work for you?
CM: Well, we were really lucky we were allowed into the archives a number of times and went to Graceland and a number of times and the head archivist, Angie was incredibly helpful not only on our visits but throughout the prep and into the shoot and you know, the poor thing was constantly badgered for details or for specifics about various things so yes the access to those places was really, really important because it gave us so much information on which to base so many decisions, whether they be story decisions and how the clothes and the environment might intersect those decisions.
AR: Now because you got access to those archives, was there anything that in the film of Elvis is that was real like a ring or a belt? Or anything you borrowed? or was everything created?
CM: No, everything was either created or you know they were objects in Elvis’s home that you could actually buy off first dibs, there’re monkey porcelain monkey statues, that you can still purchase they were Italian and they were made in a number of examples so those were purchased but no I mean the costumes like Elvis is jumpsuits are, you know, obviously extremely precious and you know are old now they’re 50 years old, some of them, so you’d be wanting to keep them archived.
AR: You had to recreate a lot of real places in this film like the International Casino and Hotel and Elvis’s house etc? Which one was your biggest challenge to get right?
CM: Everyone focus was on Graceland, ’cause it’s so well known and fans have combed every inch of the grounds so. There was a real focus on getting the exterior of Graceland and the interior of Graceland right because obviously that was so central to Elvis is life, so we did a survey of the topography of all around the house and we tried to match it as much as possible on location. You know, with the right sun path, we did a lot of plotting of all the plants around the house, trees all the species that are specific to Graceland and try to reproduce those as closely as possible in the plantings and also we added some foreground trees knowing what the species was, how tall they would have been at the time because obviously now they’re taller and visual effects had to make all these digital trees that reproduce the species of trade that existed at the time in Memphis.
AR: So I’m going to run out of time in a second, but I’ve never talked to an Oscar winner before, so I want to ask this question. Where do you keep them?
CM: So at the moment they’re in storage in my house in New York and they kind of travel around the house. Sometimes they’re on a bookshelf that’s in our music room and I’m not quite sure why they make got migrated to the store room downstairs, but it may have been that we were moving the piano or something and we wanted it to them to be put away so they didn’t get damaged, but they’re awfully heavy and I’m not quite sure how you could damage them. They’re much more likely to damage the piano than the piano is likely to damage them. They weigh a ton.
AR: Well, Catherine, I really appreciate you taking a bit of time with me. Good luck with the film’s release, I’m sure.
CM: Thank you