NotesDesigned by Anna Borghesi. A graduate of NIDA in costume design for film and theatre, Borghesi developed her craft in costume and set design for theatre. Her theatre credits include over forty productions, including eight with director Neil Armfield. Her first film was 'Romper Stomper', for which she received an AFI award nomination. She has since received AFI award nominations for 'Body Melt', 'Metal Skin', Jan Chapman's 'Love Serenade', 'The Well' and 'Head On', before winning the AFI Best Costume Design award for 'Ned Kelly' in 2003. She worked on the American films 'Pitch Black' and 'Don't Peek'. Steven Jones Evans won the AFI award for Best Production Design for 'Ned Kelly'.
Designing period costumes for 'Ned Kelly' was a major undertaking. The initial step was to determine broadly the look and feel of the costumes. In an interview with 'AFI Insider' magazine Borghesi said 'The film presents many challenges because it is set over a ten year period, it has lots of stunts (requiring doubles) and 100 speaking parts. It also has a very particular look which I have worked on with Gregor and Steven Jones Evans (Production Designer). It's a very controlled, bleak feel. We've tried to capture the severity and oddness of the period - such as the death of Prince Albert (mourning clothes) and the differences between the Irish and the English.' (Anna Borghesi quoted in 'AFI Insider' magazine, Winter 2002).
'My approach has always been to embrace the whole process and connect with the film; the entire story and the characters. The job is all about giving up your ideas, not hanging onto them or feeling threatened by contributions from other people.' (Anna Borghesi quoted in 'AFI Insider' magazine, Winter 2002).
Borghesi strove for historical accuracy by carrying out careful research into colonial dress of the 1870s to bring a sense of authenticity of the costumes. 'What I tried to do is maintain the cut of the period costume, but give it a little bit of a relaxed feel. I'm not really interested in creating a final look, it's really up to the actor to get into the character - what I do is just give them a skin and then they need to sort out what happens after that.' (Anna Borghesi quoted in the film's official website at: http://www.nedkellythe%20movie.com/interview_anna.htm).
The process of bleach bypass in post-production affected the designer's choice of colours for costumes. This process takes the crimson out of the film stock. For this reason some of the costumes may not appear to be in accurate colours for the 1870s.
With the exception of Ned and Joe's undershirts which were purchased by the costume buyer, all these costumes were made from scratch by the film's costume department using modern fabrics, working as a team.
Costume supervisor: Joanne Wilson
Costume coordinator: Brianna Mann
Costume stand-by: Jill Guice, Roberta Shaw
Assistant costume stand-by: Samantha Edwards Van Gyen, Peter Paul
Additional costume stand-by: Peter Woodward
Costume buyer: Louise McCarthy
Costumiers: Judy Bunn, Terry Thorley, Alison Hills, Jindra Korinek, Alison Fowler
Costume makers: Sophie Guerrier, Jocelyn Creed, Cathryn Ashton, Jane Summers-Eve, Lyn Van Beusichem, Stephanie Van Gastel
Machinist: Brigita Brand
Millinery co-ordinator: Susan Rigg
Milliner: Mandy Murphy
Leather worker: Brendan Dwyer
Costume assistants: Jessie Bush, Veronica Csosz, Pettie Danos, Zoe Fox, Julie Nixon, Shane Phillips
Costume runner: Justin Brow
The armour was designed by Anna Borghesi and made by the film's armour makers Jonathan Leahey and Dylan Thornton, assisted by Janet Zepnick and Tim Farmer (armour maker's assistants), Jim Norris (blacksmith), Tim Kelly (blacksmith's assistant) and Roger Mitchell (fibreglass castings).
Anna Borghesi, Jonathan Leahey and Dylan Thornton were granted access to the Kelly gang's original suits of armour. The real armour was made of forged iron from ploughshares, leather and iron bolts. The approximate total weight of armour (in three pieces) and helmet was 41.4 kg. Patterns were taken from the pieces of real Kelly armour at Old Melbourne Gaol, at the State Library of Victoria, at the Victorian Police Museum, and from the complete set of Joe Byrne's armour in the possession of a private owner Rupert Hammond. Research on the armour for the film coincided with forensic tests which attempted to sort out which pieces of armour were worn by which gang members. This research ended 120 years of uncertainty about the location and configuration of the four suits of armour used by the Kelly gang. There was an exchange of pieces between the State Library of Victoria and Victorian Police Museum in 2002.
Anna Borghesi took plastic patterns from the originals. Jonathan Leahey and Anna Borghesi consolidated the look of the armour through fittings, shaping the armour to fit the actors. While historical integrity was important, dramatic integrity took precedence. Borghesi describes the sets of armour made for the film as adaptations rather than replicas of the originals. She told the Museum 'It was important to theatricalise what we did'. The armour is made from 4mm and 5mm steel, whereas some of the originals are as thick as 7mm. The visor slit on Steve Hart's real armour is bigger than on the replica. It was altered to accommodate his diminutive stature. Such a wide visor would have looked unconvincing on the screen, so it was made smaller to preserve the dramatic effect.
The armour was hot forged over fire, as the Kellys had done. Jonathan Leahey made Ned and Dan Kelly's armour at Guildford. Dylan Thornton made Steve and Joe's armour at Avalon.
Two sets of metal armour were made for each of the four members of the Kelly gang. It was intended that one set would be worn by the actors and one worn by the stuntmen (referred to by Borghesi as 'stunties'). However both sets were worn on the set by both groups (actors and stuntmen). This confirms that the armour in this acquisition was worn by the actors.
A set of fibreglass armour was made for each Kelly gang actor in case they could not manage with wearing the heavy metal sets. In the end, the actors preferred to wear the heavy, 4mm-thick steel armour and the fibreglass sets were only ever worn by actor 'doubles'.
The trolleys used to carry the armour on the set were purchased and modified by Jonathan Leahey.