Style & Arts: Studio Style & Arts

February 17, 2008

And to Top It All Off ...

Daniel Day-Lewis is considered a shoo-in for the Best Actor Oscar, along with the broad-brimmed, brown, sweat-stained hat he wore. "There Will Be Blood" director Paul Thomas Anderson has said it was key to the portrayal of Daniel Plainview, the rapacious California oilman. Anderson's longtime costume designer, Mark Bridges, talks about The Hat.

How did you choose that hat? What did it mean to the movie?
Leading up to the first time we see that hat, his hats kind of echo or inform what's going on with his career and life. He starts with a miner hat that is unshaped and unformed. By 1911, he had this hat. Daniel Day-Lewis felt the hats were very important to his character. There were three choices that were all good, and he took them and lived with them for days. He sort of creates mini-worlds, and so he took them, just took them for a spin, so to speak, and settled on that one as what he felt most comfortable with and most represented in his mind the character he was creating. And it took on a kind of magic where he would be Daniel Day-Lewis, but you knew he was Daniel Plainview once the hat went on. So that was very rewarding to me.

And by the way, the sweat stains are real. It was worn day in and day out and has been much loved by all who've come in contact with it.

And it's great that it's become an iconic image of the film. It was a found item, from one of the local costume rental shops. The hat size, the height of the crown, the coloring, the quality of it, everything about it was right. Again I have to say it took on a kind of magic, too, that we had it, that it was found. I love when that happens.

-- Interview conducted and condensed by John Pancake

PHOTOS: Francois Duhamel - Paramount Vantage; WEB EDITOR: Julia Beizer - washingtonpost.com

© 2008 The Washington Post Company