The hip, snug look of the clothes on the women of DEATH PROOF fuses a 70s and 00s sensibility. The washed out t-shirts and casual attire are a staple of both vintage and contemporary leisurewear. Nina Proctor, who designed the costumes for Planet terror as well, created the sexy looks for the cast of Death Proof.
“We came up with the Austin Hot Wax 505 logo and I ended up screen printing t-shirts with it,” Proctor says. “It’s a little 45 record, and it’s the exact size of a 45, and we custom made her little black denim shorts, and then the rest of her costume is her long arms, and her long legs.”
Conversely, the costume created for McGowan was less revealing and much more true to a specific period. “I heard that Rose was going to be playing Pam, and that she was going to be blonde. That opened up another whole color range for Rose. We wanted Pam to very much be a hippie.
I just got a lot of books from the 60s and 70s of flower children. She’s in brighter colors and a lighter fabric that actually got a little bit of movement. Where the other girls are in t-shirts and shorts, Pam is in bell bottoms and a peasant top with lots of color. She’s very much a different character than the other three girls in the movie.”
The cars were as important as any of the film’s important interiors and exteriors: Joyner and Caylah Eddleblute worked in tandem to design the cars and sets. First and foremost on their design list: the automobiles.
“Steve Joyner production designed the shit out of these cars,” Tarantino says. “Anything you send him to do is just going to add fifteen layers of coolness on top of it. The girls’ old vintage Mustang looks fuckin’ terrific. It’s just like this groovy car that you just love. He just knocks it out.”
“It matches completely,” Winstead says of the Mustang’s details. “It’s just so bright, and so fun, and just to get to drive around in it you feel so cool. I feel much cooler than I actually am.” A major element of the film’s chilling authenticity is based on the use of existing locations. Following are some of DEATH PROOF’s most memorable locations, which are certain to have an eerie association with some dearly departed characters.
The Texas Chili Parlor
Located on Austin’s Lavaca Street, a stone’s throw from the Texas Capitol, The Texas Chili Parlor is an existing restaurant and bar. The homey space hosted the production for several weeks. “The Texas chili parlor which has a life of its own, and we were in there for a long time,” Russell remembers. “You began to feel like you would with your own local bar.”
Guero’s Taco Bar, located on South Congress Avenue, was converted from the historic Central Feed and Seed building. The hundred year old structure houses the local favorite that has been in the location for over twelve years. “I’ve been to Guero’s quite a few times,” Ladd says. “I’m a fan of their margueritas, and their guacamole, and queso.”
Joyner and Eddleblute created the look of the fictitious “Circle A” convenience store from an existing space. They filled the bar with vibrant products, both real and invented. Oak Ridge Coffee, Old Chattanooga Beer, and G-O Juice are all new products. “The billboard at the convenience store is one of Jessie Leadbetter’s movies, called POTHEADS TWO. If the audience looks closely at it, they’ll see some of our crew up there on the billboard.”
“The location was in a town called Luling which is about an hour outside of Austin,” Joyner says. “We arrived and Quentin fell in love with the location immediately.” The Jasper’s farm location also appeared in PLANET TERROR as “The Bone Shack.”
“Quentin made the decision for us to come out here to the lovely Santa Barbara Solvang area,” Eddleblute says of the move to California’s gorgeous central coast. “We’ve just had some great vantage points for super shots for the car chases. There are really nice winding roads and great elevations.” The filming of the chase sequence changed and grew organically through production.
“We had the good fortune of meeting some local contractors who helped build all these ramps — guys that were to be really nimble and work on the movie’s schedule. It really worked out,” Joyner says. “Quentin added a number of things that were not in the original script. We built a movie marquee and break-away boats for the girls to drive through. And so it’s been a really fluid process in a way, and really cool. We had some great creative opportunities.” Overall, the Texas experience was a joy for the cast and crew of DEATH PROOF.
“Everybody was really welcoming,” Ladd says. “This crew has been with Robert Rodriguez for so long that they’re family. Now we feel like second cousins. I hope I get to come back here and work again and again. I’ve fallen madly in love with the people here on our crew who are locals, and the people in this town. It was quite a Texan warm hug when we walked onto the set. We were treated very, very well, like we were family. And you can’t ask for anything more than that.”
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