Ep 21 | Sandy Powell - Costume Designer: Cinderella, The Wolf of Wall Street, Mary Poppins Returns, The Aviator

Credit: Disney


Mike: 0:00 Hi everyone, Mike here. Today’s guest, Sandy Powell, is a verifiable film legend. You’ll hear this in my intro, but she’s our most decorated guest ever with 15 Oscar nominations, three wins and a few BAFTAs in there too.  Unbelievable. In the episode topics we cover are Sandy’s journey into the business and her costume design process, advice on whether you should be cold calling to get jobs, advice for directors and working with costumes. What is it like to managing actors in the fitting room, and specifically does Daniel Day-Lewis stay in character the whole time? The story of Jonah Hill’s famous appendage and The Wolf of Wall Street, as well as a bit of chat on Margot Robbie’s entrance dress. And what it was like for her to do her own version of Cinderella and Mary Poppins. We got through an awful lot into half an hour, and it was an absolute pleasure. That’s all for me. Here’s the episode.

Sandy: 0:45 I quite often pinch myself, for instance, on The Irishman I was like, God, I can’t believe that I’m here with Di Nero and Pacino and Harvey Keitel. I was like, oh my God, this is incredible.

Mike: 1:01 Hello, and welcome to the Red Carpet Rookies. My name is Mike Battle, a screenwriter, and a production team member working for Studios in London. Each episode I bring you advice and stories from film and TV professionals to help educate and empower the next generation of filmmakers and crew. Thanks for joining me. Let’s get started. Today, I am lucky to be joined by one of the world’s most influential costume designers, starting her career on celebrated art house films such as Derek Jarman’s Caravaggio, she has since worked her way through the business, designing the iconic looks of Cinderella, Mary Poppins returns, and Shakespeare in Love, as well as forging a lasting relationship with Martin Scorsese, with whom she collaborated to design the Wolf of Wall Street, Gangs of New York, and many more. Along the way, she has picked up the small sum of 15 Oscar nominations, winning three. So, I can’t quite believe it she’s sitting down with me. Please, welcome to the show, the one and only, Sandy Powell.

Sandy: 2:02 Thank you. Nice to be here.

Mike: 2:04 Now, Sandy, I like to ask all of my guests the same first question. And that is, what did your parents do? And did it affect your career choices moving forward?

Sandy: 2:13 My father worked in casinos all his life, as a crew P.A. originally. And then later on, he was a manager in casinos in SoHo, London. So, I was... As a kid and as a teenager, I was crawling around the streets of SoHo, visiting their work, actually. And my mother did secretarial work all her life. So, neither parent came from the arts world. Yet I was always encouraged. My mother, actually -she’ll deny it now- is actually artistic. I mean, she taught me to sew, and she did things like that. And I think, if she had a different starting life, she could well have been doing something creative. She could have a different career.

Mike: 2:56 I believe we share something that we both went to schools where they pushed quite traditionally academic disciplines.

Sandy: 3:01 Yeah.

Mike: 3:01 And did you feel as if you were going against the grain slightly when you started to develop your dreams of moving to the creative fields?

Sandy: 3:08 I was always creative. I mean, from a very young age, I was always drawing pictures, making clothes, making things, and doing that. So that was something that I always enjoyed. And I don’t think, I even thought about it being a job. And then, as you say, I did go to an academic school. And I enjoyed that side of it as well. I -actually- was a lot into science. And there was a time when I was going to go into sciences and even considered being a doctor. But I did art at the same time. And then, something happened in the last year. I thought, No! I want to do art. So, I just switched. But art really was for the people who weren’t very good at anything else or if you’re trying to bunk off school. I didn’t feel like, I was going against the grain, particularly because I did have an encouraging art teacher who did encourage me to apply for art school. So, that’s what I did. I didn’t do it till sort of late teens.

Mike: 4:01 When you were making those things... Were you making stuff in more of a sartorial manner? Or was it in a wider artistic frame of your painting? What was your style?

Sandy: 4:11 Both! I mean, I was drawing clothes, making my own fashion magazines at a very young age, and also making dolls clothes at a very young age. So that always interested in me but I was also interested in painting and drawing, just making things! I was just... I think, I was more of an indoor making things sort of person than an outdoor climbing trees person.

Mike: 4:30 Would you be able to talk about how you made your decisions then with education... Because, am I right that you had Art Foundation but also theater design at some point?

Sandy: 4:39 Yeah, I did foundation at St. Martin’s, that was just that Martin’s at the time. But they had really famous fashion department. And I knew people in that club. And I was always really interested in fashion for some reason. When I went into the foundation, I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to do. Although, I had by that time seen somebody in the theater who really made me interested in the theater, and that was Lindsey Cam. I saw him at the Roundhouse when I was about 16. So, I was interested in that side of things. And then, there was a point where I could have got into fashion. But then, theater seemed to be more interesting and more flexible than more things to do. It wasn’t just about doing clothes. It was about being part of a production that I was interested in. And again, there, I had a tutor encourage me to apply for theater design. So, I did apply for theater design, and did a part time a theater design course at Central School of Art until I left in the end of my second year.

Mike: 5:38 And you must have been pretty fierce chasing your dream at that point. Because, am I right that you procured Derek Jarman’s phone number or did that come later?

Sandy: 5:47 Well, that was before I went to work with Lindsay Cam, who I had seen on stage at age 16. And then, I met him and left college in order to go and work with him. So, I did do theater for a few years before film. And over the years, I have done little bits of theater. I didn’t give it up. I have been in theater for 25 years. I designed the same dance company for 25 years until fairly recently.

Mike: 6:09 Was it with Lindsay when you went off to Milan, that young? That must have been quite nerve-wracking?

Sandy: 6:13 That’s true. Yeah! It was. Yeah, that was my first ever job. My first ever job was going to Milan to design a play. Yeah! I mean, it was just that thing. I just did it.

Mike: 6:23 What did your casino-working-father think when you said this was my first job! I’m off to Milan, dad. Off we go.

Sandy: 6:29 I think, my parents -initially- were upset that I wasn’t going back to college. When I did that, I was at the end of my second year. I said, I’m taking a sabbatical or having a year off. So, it wasn’t that worrying for that first year. And I didn’t think they might need me going off to work that year. I mean, it was exciting. It was when I decided at the end of that year not to go back to college. There was a little bit of resistance. So, we did not agree. I mean, they let me do what I wanted to do that I thought was best. And I said, I didn’t want to go back to college. And of course, they were both people who came from backgrounds where they didn’t have further education. And they’d worked all their lives to help my sister, and I have better education. And I think at the time it was difficult for them to think that I wasn’t going to get a degree. And I think, they actually thought that that would be detrimental to my career in life that I wouldn’t get proper jobs. But I prove them wrong.

Mike: 7:23 I think, you’ve certainly proved them wrong, Sandy. To take you back to that procuring Derek’s number, one question I do have for you is as a costume designer, head of department, where does your opinion land on how pushy people should be to try and get jobs with someone like yourself? Because obviously, you’re going with three friends, but procuring a number and just ringing someone up? Maybe that was more...

Sandy: 7:46 Yeah.

Mike: 7:47 But a young costume designer wouldn’t want to annoy you. But at the same time, they want to show they are keen. It’s a difficult balance.

Sandy: 7:53 I know! It’s very difficult because, of course, I would say, just go straight in there, and try to talk to somebody or try to get their number or go try to get in touch. It’s what I did. But it was different back then. Because you couldn’t be inundated by emails or texts or phone calls. And people didn’t find... And it was that you found somebody, and you hope that they were at home? I mean, at the time I did it, though! I don’t think there were even answering machines... Do you know what I mean? And so, it was like, you’re either there or you are. So, it will take quite a few phone calls to get somebody in. I would say... I mean, but having said that, I don’t think... I think, phoning No! That’s not... I don’t think that’s a good thing to do, to phone on somebody’s personal phone, but you can make contact through agents. You can make contact by writing or direct messaging through... I get tons of messages through Instagram, things like that. Of course, you can’t reply to all of them. And you do try. And then, hopefully, one day, you’ll be lucky and somebody will reply. I mean, as I say, I do get lots of requests and lots of things. And I reply to those that I can and some that I don’t. And then, sometimes somebody just stands out for whatever reason. And that’s the person that’s lucky enough to be around when the moment you’re looking for somebody is what happens. I mean, all the people that I’ve taken on, all the younger people that I’ve taken on have just happened to be in the right place at the right time, such as when you’re doing a job, or when you’re looking for a person to fill a job. Because obviously, we all come with a team of people. I have a regular team of experienced assistants. And in every job, you take a handful of younger people who have come fresh out of college or just been in the business or just been working for a couple of years, and you take those on. But there’s a limit to how many people you can have.

Mike: 9:29 I think that’s a very fair answer. And I do think the industry has changed a bit. I actually spoke to a colleague of yours, Erin Burnett, who was another costume designer who you may know. As you, she started as a costume designer, if that makes sense, which isn’t necessarily how it goes anymore. I know you did that on Caravaggio. Could you talk about that trial by fire a little bit, just going straight in?

Sandy: 9:50 Well! I mean, I went straight to the theater with Lindsey. And on film, I never assisted anybody. I didn’t assist anybody in the theater or in film. I just had to go straight in. And I didn’t know... I think, it was just the arrogance of youth. I mean, you go in. And I didn’t think about that’s what I wanted to do. I was going to give it a go. And I said, yes to things, I couldn’t probably do. And it was actually a trial by fire, you learned. But I was lucky with both Lindsey camp and Derek Jarman were happy to teach. Obviously, they knew. They weren’t stupid. Obviously, they knew that they were taking a risk and taking on somebody totally new. But they’re really generous with their knowledge, information, and help.

Mike: 10:28 But then, they saw something in you, of course, that’s why they bothered, I imagine.

Sandy: 10:31 I guess, they must have. And I think that’s what happens. Now, I’m in that position myself as the older and wiser person. And you know what, you can take on a handful of trainees at the beginning of a job. And one of them is going to be good or make it stand out quite early on.

Mike: 10:50 There’s a business term about hiring very good people. And, I know how to get good people. I just hire them. Because they come in, and straightaway you can tell. So, can you work on [unclear 11:00]. Well, are there any lessons that you took from those early years on some of those smaller indie films, some Derek stuff that you’ve taken with you on to your current level of job, going on to Disney now? Are there things that you learned from those early trial by fire days or something that you never really forgot?

Sandy: 11:16 Probably, everything I know now. I started to learn that there might be things I didn’t realize I was learning. But yeah, of course, he’s... I mean, what was good about starting off on smaller and low-budget things is that you learn to be resourceful and not wasteful. And make the best of what you have. With limited resources, you make the best of what you have. And I think, you can always make something fantastic, out of whatever you have. And I enjoy the challenge of that. And sometimes... I don’t like saying this too much, sometimes it’s better to have a low budget than a high budget. If you’ve got a limitless fund, it’s harder to finalize something or make a final decision.

Because there’s always something better. You could always be better. There’s always something more you can do because you can afford that luxury. Whereas, if you are on a lower budget, you have to really think creatively about how to make it work. But having said that, it doesn’t mean that I want to do low budgets the whole time. Because they’re really hard. I mean, they’re just hard physically for quite a lot of time. Because you have to work much longer hours and you don’t have enough time. And a bigger budget is nice in lots of ways. It doesn’t make it any easier necessarily. Because a bigger budget film usually comes with a much bigger film. There is a lot more to actually achieve in the time.

Mike: 12:35 So, you won’t tell your producers to reduce your budget, Sandy!

Sandy: 12:38 No. I mean; I always say this. And I will say... I know producers are listening to this. I like to keep balance and do both. I really enjoy doing the low-budget, smaller films, because quite often you’re working with new and interesting younger people. And also, the projects are usually that low-budget ones, the projects usually are the most interesting. because they’re the ones that are more likely to be taking risks. On the bigger budget ones, they are generally safer. Unless you’re working with Martin [unclear 13:07] who’s one of the one of the few big budget directors who take risks, who are still into trying out something new. And I really respect that.

Mike: 13:16 He’s making high budget art movies. And he’s one of the few.

Sandy: 13:20 Exactly! That’s what it’s always been. Yeah! He does big budget and independent films.

Mike: 13:24 There’s not many [unclear 13:26]. So, as a bit of a gearshift, one of the questions I didn’t want to ask you that I noticed in some previous interviews that you mentioned the change in the relationship when a director can draw. Could you talk about how that works? Because you get different directors. Some are more from the writing school. Some are more of an image maker. Yeah. Does that affect your job?

Sandy: 13:46 Well, of course, if a director can express themselves visually, it’s really helpful. Now, that might be... I mean, drawing, or... But it also means

understanding, looking at things, it means being able to produce a visual representation of what’s going on in their head. What reference points, look books... I mean, everyone does it. And if they understand the visuals that I’m showing to them, it’s a lot easier. And as you say, all directors are different. Now, there’ll be some directors coming from a writing point of view, and who very much enjoy working with the actors more than anything else, and leave the visuals to the production designer, the costume designer, and the cinematographer. But it’s much easier with a director who’s got a visual sense of play visual or artist or a painter or designer themselves. I mean, Derek Jarman was a painter and a theatre designer. Lindsay Kemp was a theater designer and a painter. Todd Haynes is an artist. There is going on list with all the people I have ever worked with them on what their talents are. But they’re all different. They all have different strengths. But I do enjoy working with directors who come from The Visual Arts.

Mike: 15:00 Amazing! Speaking of script, when I worked for a production designer, she always said to me, you read the script. And she designed it in her head, basically, in one go, the big moments. She sends things off straightaway. Is yours that electric connection or does it come around more organically? I know that there’s obviously collaboration along the way. But how does your process work in that regard?

Sandy: 15:20 No, it doesn’t. I mean, I read the script, and I get a feeling. I get feeling of atmosphere, and that might be for the film as a whole, that might be for the production design. It might be for how it looks, but then I realized that I was thinking of it as I was directing it. But I’m not directing it. But it’s good to have an idea of how I think. But I try not to pin too much on that until I’ve spoken with the director and heard what their idea is and what their efficiency is. Because that’s ultimately what you’re working for them. But in terms of characters, in terms of my job and costume, I don’t have an image of the costume unless I know who the actor is. If I read a script, and I know who’s attached to it, that’s different. Because you can start imagining the character. And there might be time on that first read, if I know when I’m reading that character, I know who the actor is, then I might have an idea. If I have no idea who the actor is, then I don’t let myself go down that road.

Because so much depends on who the actor is, what they look like, how tall they are, what color they are, you know, everything. I mean, their physicality, their personality depends on that. So, I won’t allow myself to have an idea about what they work. Because I’d have to try and get rid of that, once I met the actor physically, not what’s in my head, or not even... Quite often, somebody’s physicality is described in the script. And that’s just the writer’s idea. But once it’s cast, it might not be that at all. But I’ll get a feeling for the thing. I might get a feeling for color before I get a feeling, or I don’t know. It’s hard to pin down, but it’s a nonspecific thing. But I get a feeling, and then little things in the back of my mind that start getting stronger and clearer, more information I have.

Mike: 17:05 And the next step is actually once they have been cast, they come into that hallowed hall of the fitting room.

Sandy: 17:10 Yeah!

Mike: 17:10 Do you have much of a methodology for empathizing with an actor in that situation? Because a lot of your jobs are looking after them in that situation. A lot of them are very bothered about what they’re going to wear. Do you have much of a method for dealing with that?

Sandy: 17:24 I don’t know that there’s an actual method, I say, first of all, I do this and the other. Everybody or every single person is different. So, what you have to do first up is, you have to make them feel comfortable. You have to get their confidence, that’s the most important thing. So however, you do that... So, I guess, you really have to be a good judge of personality and be able to try and get somebody straightaway to get the mood they’re in straightaway when they walk in that room. And you play everybody differently. You treat people differently, depending on how they are and what they like. I mean, there’ll be some people who don’t want to talk much. And there’ll be other people that want to talk a lot. So you have to work it out. You have to work out what’s best. You start developing a relationship. How much to impose your opinion, or how much to hold back and let them say what they want to do? And then maybe you end up letting them believe they’ve had the idea that you actually have. A lot of that... It’s a collaboration. And I want to hear as much from

them about what they think and how they feel as I want to give them my ideas and my opinions.

Mike: 18:32 It’s an inception, where you got to put the idea in their head.

Sandy: 18:35 Yeah! It’s really interesting. Every single person is different. And that’s what’s quit you learn a lot about people, their foibles, and then [unclear 18:44] and they all have them. Everybody does.

Mike: 18:46 One eccentricity I did want to ask about, and I may be way off-fix. I’ve never actually been in a casting room myself. Was Daniel Day-Lewis in character all the time when you were measuring him up?

Sandy: 18:57 No! Absolutely, not. Not early on. He only does that once he is working and on the set, without a thing, it’s the costume, hair, the makeup onset. I mean, he was a bit like that. But he wasn’t like that the entire time. I mean, he didn’t throw knives at the moment when I went into him for a fitting once we were shooting.

Mike: 19:21 Costume, and thus, the costume designer, obviously have a lot of influence on the way a film or TV show comes across. But I feel like a real specific example of that is in characters’ entrances because it’s the first time you see them. They’re wearing your outfits. It’s well moments. How do you think about those to devote more time to that? When you’re breaking down the script, for example, something like Margot Robbie in The Wolf of Wall Street. That was the first time anyone had ever seen her. It was a real big reveal that she was going to be the star of this movie. What do you think about that? Do you spend more time on it?

Sandy: 20:00 No! I can’t even remember what she’s wearing in her first [unclear 20:02]. Is it the party scene?

Mike: 20:05 It is the first time he historically meets her, I think.

Sandy: 20:08 In that turquoise dress! I got it. Okay, I know what it is. It’s an LSJ dress. Okay, I’m going back to what you said, initially as a costume designer, one has a lot of power in the [unclear 20:21]. You don’t necessarily have that power. I mean, it’s down to you what they look like, when they come in. But

that doesn’t necessarily give you the power to do that. I mean, I suppose you could. But it’s interesting. And yes, the answer to the question, somebody’s entrance, somebody’s first appearance, might not be an actual entrance. It is really important. Yeah, it is really important. But then, sometimes it might be that you don’t want to sum up everything in that first appearance. It might be that person develops and turns into the person that you get to know. So, it totally depends on the script and what’s happening. I mean, for Margo, and that appearance, of course that was important.

Mike: 20:59 As a quick aside, which is not very deep filmmaking, Sandy. But sometimes the question I have to ask...

Sandy: 21:03 Yeah!

Mike: 21:03 Was it your department that was in charge of Jonah’s appendage in that scene or was that makeup?

Sandy: 21:08 It wasn’t me. No. It would have been a combination of props of hair and makeup, I believe. Because it was like a thing. It was a big... I’d say these were probably props that then had to... It might be props, or it might have been my department, the person dressing him obviously had to deal with it. I don’t remember. I don’t think I was consulted over that actual thing.

Mike: 21:32 Thank you for humoring me on that one.

Sandy: 21:35 Because... Yeah. I think, I don’t think I was even on set when that happened. Because I remember when first time I saw the film, I was horrified. No. I think, it was some rushes or cut together a bit. And I remember, when I was in a screening room and found that was the laughing hysterically. And I was shocked.

Mike: 21:52 I bet you’ve worked on a lot of the Disney reboots now. How do you approach crafting costumes for such iconic characters like Cinderella and Mary Poppins given that they already exist in the public consciousness, don’t they? I guess it’s almost like a period to some extent. But it’s such an iconic look. And you want to carve out your own niche but also not anger, the fans and all that.

Sandy: 22:15 This was difficult when I first thought when I was doing Cinderella. But, actually, more Mary Poppins and Cinderella was... You just can’t disappoint. You really didn’t want to disappoint. And with Cinderella, I wasn’t ever told. I mean, no one from Disney said, it’s got to look like the animation. And you’ve got to reference the animation. Obviously, there are elements of it that I did want to pay [unclear 22:40] to. I think, the only two things I did was to close to the animations was the prince was wearing white. And he does the animation. And she wears blue. But I didn’t automatically think that the ballgame was going to be blue. I actually went through a whole range of other colors. I was thinking to do something different. It didn’t have to be [unclear 23:02]. It turned out to be blue because that was the color that worked the best on lily, and worked as a whole in the scenes. So, I did my version of the characters. I knew that they couldn’t be a million miles away from the original. And with Mary Poppins, it was different because the film is 25 years later going to be filmed. So, I had to do the 1930s version of her at the turn of the century, in Edwardian times. And it came together quite naturally, actually. Because the silhouette from the early 30s wasn’t a million miles away. But it was different. Now, I enjoyed that challenge of doing something that was recognizably Mary Poppins, but my take on it.

Mike: 23:48 That’s awesome. One of the things I like doing this podcast is to take someone with a stature like yourself. And then, I asked them questions about things that they were nervous about. Because people like me, when we’re on set, I’ve been on a set actually, that you want. And you see the HODs, the grown-ups walking around being very important. And it’s like, well, what’s going on in that inner circle? Do they think the same things we think? And obviously, you’ve been on so many sets now? One example I would use is, having to sit down with De Niro, Pesci, Pachino, etc. Do you ever find it daunting? Do you ever have any moments of being like, Bloody hell! What am I doing here, Sandy? This is a lot.

Sandy: 24:28 Do you know what I think there’s something about being old. And it’s not to say, I take it for granted. I quite often pinch myself. For instance, on the ocean. I think, I don’t. I can’t believe that I’m here with De Niro, Al Pacino, Harvey Keitel, and Joe Pesci. It was like, Oh my god! This is incredible. But, probably was a little bit nervous about meeting Robert De Niro, but not to the extent that it was like, Oh God! I’m terrified. I don’t know what I’m going to do and what I’m going to say. I think, one of the nice things about being older is that you actually do have more confidence. And quite often, I’m the oldest person on a set now anyway.

Mike: 25:11 Never!

Sandy: 25:14 I was young, Irishman. Often, I’m the oldest on the set now. And I think, well, I’ve been around long enough. But that’s not to say that I’m complacent. And it’s not to say that I don’t get nervous on a job. I mean, at the beginning of every job, I think, what if, I don’t have any ideas. But if I can’t solve this problem... There’s one bit of me that thinks, what if I don’t have any ideas. I’m not going to have any ideas. There’s another bit of me that knows that I will have. I know that I’m not going to say somebody onto the set that I can’t do it.  Because I couldn’t think of anything. It’s always going to get resolved. And it always comes, even if it’s at the last minute, the idea, or the solution to the problem. It will always come up. And so there’s always that dialogue. I haven’t got any ideas. Yes, you will have some ideas. That’s more daunting prospect than who I’m going to meet.

Mike: 26:05 I love the answer. That was absolutely fantastic. Speaking of, the blank page, I guess, the writer and for yourself, what does that literally look like to you? In the sense that, you know, you’re worrying about your ideas, so you can have any? Are you working on Photoshop? Do you draw by hand? What is your literal design process?

Sandy: 26:23 I don’t do anything on Photoshop. And I don’t work with illustrators that use computerized drawings. I don’t actually draw. I can draw. And I do draw. Because everyone seen costume sketches I’ve done, but I do all those at the end. After when the costumes are made. I know what they look like. So, it’s never a case of me doing a beautiful drawing of somebody in a costume, then going out and finding the fabric that matches the color, the jewelry, and then make it. Because it’s more organic. It grows. I actually work with the people making the costumes if something that we’re making, and we’re not finding. We start building in 3d Very early on, as soon as I have an idea. I have reference images. I might look at books, mood boards, and things like that. Visual images, then inspiration and research. And I use that. And I get the idea in my head. And I just have to work with people that I know to get it out in 3d. And then, onto a body as soon as possible onto an actor, and then work from that, and then build on that. So, in terms of communicating that with a director that is sometimes difficult. And I say, look! Trust me, it’ll be fine. I’ll show you the pictures as soon as we’ve got something to look at. And quite often, it’s easier for a director to see the actual clothes and to look at a drawing. You could never make a drawing look like it’s going to look in real life.

Mike: 27:50 Because [unclear 27:51] would have it but you’re sitting there at some easel, painting away...

Sandy: 27:55 Never!

Mike: 27:55 And then, [unclear 27:57] going off to do it one plus one.

Sandy: 27:59 Some people do. So many designers work like that. I know some designers do work everything out on paper first. And that’s how they work. I mean, I’ll do a sketch. I do a little drawing. If I’m trying to work out a proportion of something or try in my own head that it should be this or this, then I’ll do the drawings myself. But it’s not anything that I would show to anybody else, or it’s not anything anybody else would understand.

Mike: 28:19 Now, to wrap it up, Sandy, I like to do a quick fire in my own style, a little bit like in the Actor’s Studio, which I’m sure you’ve seen many times before. Okay. So if you think of whatever comes into your head straight away.

Sandy: 28:31 Alright.

Mike: 28:31 And so number one, is what is one of the best pieces of advice you’ve ever been given?

Sandy: 28:37 To go to work every day with the same excitement as if you were going to a party that you really wanted to go to!

Mike: 28:45 Fantastic. Number two, do you have a favorite film?

Sandy: 28:48 [unclear 28:48]

Mike: 28:49 Number three, what gives you a reason to get out of bed every day for an early call time, if any at all?

Sandy: 28:54 Because I’ve enjoyed my job.

Mike: 28:55 Number four, which job in the industry would you do if you weren’t doing yours?

Sandy: 28:59 There’s a few I’d like to do. I’d like to have the confidence to direct. And I know I could produce.

Mike: 29:04 [unclear 29:04]

Sandy: 29:05 Oh! Really.

Mike: 29:06 To you in an interview, he said you should direct. Do you remember?

Sandy: 29:08 He said, you should do it. Yeah.

Mike: 29:10 Have you had any thoughts on it?

Sandy: 29:11 No! Yeah. He said that to me. But, actually, I am fascinated by editing. But I don’t think I would have the patience to do it.

Mike: 29:20 I’ll tell you what, that’s the number one thing that everybody says. I would be an editor.

Sandy: 29:24 Yeah, I think it’s incredible. I think editors are incredible. And the fact that you could completely change your story or completely changed the meaning of something.

Mike: 29:32 I think; they have a lot of creative... Because they’re not on the set. And there’s not as many people around them. They have a lot of sway given the point in the production.

Sandy: 29:40 Yeah, I think, it’s absolutely fascinating.

Mike: 29:44 Number five, this is a really hard one. Sorry! If you could work with one person living or dead, who would it be?

Sandy: 29:49 Oh, that I haven’t already worked with.

Mike: 29:51 With most of them.

Sandy: 29:53 Fellini.

Mike: 29:55 Awesome. Number six, what is a book that everyone should read, any book?

Sandy: 29:59 Oh, that’s the difficult one. Now, I can’t answer that one. Actually, it’s been too many.

Mike: 30:03 That’s right. And the last one, I normally ask if you want an Oscar, who you thank. But if you can remember, during many of your Oscars, who did you think and why?

Sandy: 30:13 I think mostly of the most important people or all the other people in my department who worked on the project. Because you can’t do it on your own. It’s not about you. It’s about all the people working with you.

Mike: 30:26 Beautiful. Thank you, Sandy Powell, a whirlwind of creative advice and stories on our most decorated guest ever. Thanks for joining us.

Sandy: 30:32 Thank you.

Mike: 30:35 Thank you for listening to another episode of Red Carpet Rookies. To help us grow and be able to interview more amazing film and TV professionals, please do subscribe and drop us a rating on the Apple podcast store on your iPhone or online if you’re an Android user. If you’re interested in regular updates, the best thing you can do is to join our mailing list at redcarpetrookies.com. Alternatively, find us on Instagram at Red Carpet Rookies (@redcarpetrookies) or on Twitter at RC Rookies Pod (@rcrookiespod). I also tweet regularly about my own learnings in the business at Mike F Battle (@mikefbattle) on Twitter. So, please come and say hi. Thank you again for listening. We’ll see you next time.