I had never thought I would need to dress my characters. I naively assumed actors came fully clothed. Well, Nghi doesn’t do naïve much, so we set out looking for someone to help us.
I had originally asked Alicia, my friend. She worked as a professional set designer and prop-scout for a while, and has been involved in film. She was willing to help, if and if, work, other projects etc. We had a lovely chat in a cool Fitzroy café though. It was refreshing: I’d been thinking of Honeypot in a purely technical way so far – beautiful Alicia read the script and asked ‘I was wondering, what is gonna be the main colour on the screen.’ Female eye: it was an important question. After a look at the pictures, we settled on red and yellow.
Alicia called after a week, and said unfortunately she wouldn’t be involved. Nghi had been talking meanwhile to Naomi, whom he’d almost collaborated with on his previous film, The Probationer. She sent me pictures of her theatre set-ups: it was neat, elegant, warm – exactly the style I was going for. We met at another cool café, this time in South Yarra – something about set designers and cafés! We chatted about an hour, discussing colours again, characters, social background, and also technical issues – Flic had warned against loose pants or flaps.
Naomi came to the screentest, in order to get the actors measurements. She had started research, and brought a couple of magazine cut-outs. Five or six cow-boys, from the rural to the catwalk, and a few dags and dorks. I pointed out options, she nodded OKs. Next thing, there she was at a rehearsal with plastic bags: ‘I went to K-Mart and bought stuff, you can get a refund anyway.’ We tried a pair of jeans and a shirt on Matthew, shoes for Nick. It was like being a little gay boy again and playing barbies. I loved it.
Not everything fitted rightaway - the shirt on Matthew was too large, and so were the corduroy pants on Nick. But we were going somewhere. Naomi went on a few more expeditions, exploring target after K-Mart, and then op-shops - as well as toy shops for the police badge. In the end, we had a full set for both of our actors - untill I thought, hey, what about socks on Nick and singlet on Matthew? So we had to add two pairs of each. A never-ending task.