Ariana DeBose and costume designer Paul Tazewell on the challenge of living up to the original ‘West Side Story’


Paul Tazwellfirst-time Academy Award nominee for Costume Design, met Best Supporting Actress nominee Ariana DeBose (which won the SAG Award earlier this week) in disney‘s panel for Deadline’s suitors movie: The Nominees. The two have worked together on other projects, including hamiltonbefore receiving a call from Steven Spielberg about West Side Story it was too good to pass up.

Tazewell described how he likes to approach work. “Ariana wears clothes so well and knows how to control a skirt perfectly. I really immersed myself in what I do, which is to dress the actors according to the character and then show off the body that I have,” he said. “It’s about designing the function of the clothes and then what needs to happen with the choreography. Ariana and I spent a lot of time in the dressing room sorting things out and making sure everything was going as it should.

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Debose felt a level of comfort. “It’s a real collaboration. My way of working as an actor to get into the characters starts with the clothes. I find the clothes and costumes to be incredibly informative and having worked with Paul many times before, what I love about this job is the back and forth of this collaboration,” she said. .

For both, it was necessary to separate their work from memories of the Oscar-winning 1961 original.

“I was against the original image of Anita, and needed to come up with a design and look that would look good on Ari but also be iconic or at least resist the memory of what that purple dress and to see her in this movie.” Tazewell said, referring to the choice of dress for the key song ‘America.'”Because it was a daytime scene, I thought why wouldn’t I use the metaphor of the sun and the heat that It was… I thought yellow was the perfect color to go for.”

DeBose added, “It projects his life force, his passion, his charisma and his love. She always looks like she’s on fire. There is always something cooking there.

Check back Monday for the panel video.

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