A crowning achievement for 'Hunger Games' designer
Gina Scarnati and her assistants were blaring Queen from their iPod and enjoying a rare, brief moment of down time when Woody Harrelson walked into their massive room of hats.
"This is incredible! Are you making these?" he asked. "How many do you have to do? Can I keep looking around?"
Indeed, they were—nearly 200 headpieces, in total. And by all means, please do, Woody.
It was one of many exciting moments on The Hunger Games set, where Scarnati, AS00, a theatre production major at UD, worked as the movie's milliner, an old industry term for hat maker.
From the showgirl-style, big feather hat worn by District 1's "career tribute" Glimmer, to the gaudy magenta flower in Effie Trinket's hair as she first takes the stage to wish that the odds be ever in District 12's favor, each of the 192 headpieces in the blockbuster film was created by Scarnati.
"If it's worn on the head, I did it," she says. "Even the simplicity of a flower needs to be clustered, sewn and put on a base." Leading a small team of assistants and working 16-hour days, she created all of the headpieces for the movie in just under six weeks.
In addition to the opulent hats worn in scenes in "the Capitol," Scarnati spent countless hours creating hats for the tributes to wear during the famed "girl on fire" chariot parade.
"I wanted the hats to evoke the districts" from which the characters came, she explains. And so the tributes from District 7, the lumber district, wore origami hats, 4 feet wide from end to end. The young character Rue wore a hat composed of 96 pieces of thermoplastic, wired together and painted silver to evoke a Demeter-inspired crown of wheat, symbolic of the agricultural District 11.
As for Effie, although she forgoes hats for flowers in the movie, Elizabeth Banks, who plays the pink-haired, prim and proper character, could be seen on the cover of Entertainment Weekly wearing Scarnati's original creation. It was a testament to the quality of her work and, Scarnati is quick to point out, to her training and education.
"I learned how to make hats from Andrea Barrier [associate professor of theatre] in this room," she says, while sitting in the crafts room of UD's Hartshorn Hall.
In fact, the former Dean's Scholar, who created her own major in theatre production and costume design, says theatre remains her true love and passion.
"Film," she says, "supports my theatre habit."
And it's clearly a symbiotic relationship. Scarnati—who has worked with every professional theatre company in Delaware as well as on the design sets of independent films, Hollywood movies and television shows like True Blood—notes that her theatre background has been one of her greatest assets in film.
"Film is so different, but in Los Angeles, most people have high esteem for theatre arts," she says. "The attitude is, 'Oh, you come from theatre? Then you can do everything.'"
Article by Artika Rangan Casini, AS05