The amazingly talented Costume Designer Leah Butler talks with The Illuminerdi about stepping into the world of The Forever Purge. Leah Butler is no stranger to the world of horror but makes her mark with her costume design with her debut in The Purge franchise.
In our exclusive interview with The Forever Purge Costume Designer, she talks about why she took on the challenge of The Purge franchise and how the region of the Texas-Mexico border influenced some of the terrifying designs in the film.
Exclusive Interview With The Forever Purge’s Costume Designer Leah Butler
Costume Designer Leah Butler On Entering The World of The Forever Purge
The Illuminerdi: When entering the world of The Purge, each entry of the franchise kind of has its own theme. What aesthetic theme did you use for The Forever Purge?
Leah Butler: I was brought in to work on The Forever Purge and I was really intrigued by the director, Everardo Gout. I liked the storyline, I liked the idea of the protagonists, the people coming together, to be able to really work on some fun, fun pieces, and have everything kind of work with the storyline. It was a lot of collaboration with the director. Also, with my team just to come up with ideas because we had so many different things to play with.
I was just about to ask you about Everardo Gout, he’s an amazing director; I think his visuals are stunning. Can you talk to me about working with him during the collaboration process, and kind of getting a feel for what he was going to bring to the screen visually as you were going to bring to it on the costume side?
Leah Butler: I think for Everardo, it was really important to have his authenticity of the people, particularly who were from his home country of Mexico.; he really wanted that to feel authentic to the characters. We did a lot of talking to each other, looking at the different people in the culture, and what they would look like when they came across.
Masks are super important in the Mexican culture. It was super fun; we did some research with some various books, and he talked about the idea of these pieces being something that could work for each identical person, but something that doesn’t necessarily have to make sense too. The inspiration from these amazing and intricate masks was a lot of fun for me.
The Forever Purge Pays Tribute To The Mexican Culture
That leads me to this next question perfectly. I’ve spent a lot of time in Mexico on and off, and you’re right, the masks are such a sign of their culture. Can you talk to me about the influences of the masks that you used for The Forever Purge? Because we see it really prevalent towards the end of the film when the Native Americans are trying to help guide the people were following us to Mexico. Can you talk about that a little bit?
Leah Butler: Those ones in particular were very much fun. We actually took some bones, and the ideas of skeletons and things like that to bring it into the idea of these masks. Then we worked with, of course, they weren’t real, but we took the idea of those things to put on those Native Americans.
We also had some really unusual things, there were things that had almost a semblance of being innocent, like the rabbits. I don’t know if you remember the rabbits in there. But it’s the idea that they were this innocence; even pale colors, sort of pastel-y colors and things like that. They light up, and then all of a sudden they’re scary creatures.
There was quite a variety of masks to work with, then for the costumes to follow that as well. I will say it was really interesting too. We did a camera test, just to be able to show different ideas for the masks and the costumes coming together. To see what works and what doesn’t, that was a lot of fun too, just to be like, “I thought that was such a great idea,” and then you get to the camera test and you’re like, “Oh, this other one’s really better.”