Did the iconic models of the 1960s, like Twiggy and Donyale Luna, influence your work for Sparkle?
I didn’t know about Donyale Luna until I started research for Sparkle. When I found her, she became my muse. I based Carmen Ejogo’s look, and some of the performance outfits, on images of her.
What was your most challenging on-the-job experience
The final days of shooting [Amistad] were very arduous and emotional. [There were] 1,500 extras. [It was shot] in Puerto Rico and all of the female extras were topless, very few spoke English, we were shooting in a national historical museum—so we had filming restrictions—and the weather was extremely hot and humid.
Lee Daniels’ The Butler has the ultimate dream cast. What was it like to work with such big stars?
The director always has a “dream cast”, but [usually] not all of the stars can commit. Lee got everyone he wanted! [I had] to look past “Oprah” and focus on the character being dressed.