Costumer Lisa Sass Nails the Mark with ‘War Machine’

From „Furious 7” to „War Machine,” costumer Lisa Sass ensures the continuity, authenticity and flawlessness of the cast’s wardrobe.


Costumer Lisa Sass shot by Veera Ovaska

Online PR News – 30-July-2017 – Los Angeles, CA – Costumer Lisa Sass, who is known for her work on the films “Star Trek Beyond,” “Furious 7” and “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” brought her unparalleled costuming skills to Netflix’s recently released feature film “War Machine.”

Adapted from journalist Michael Hastings’s nonfiction book „The Operators” and directed by Sundance Film Festival Award winner David Michôd (“Animal Kingdom,” “Hesher”), “War Machine,” which was released on May 26, is a satirical war film starring Oscar Award winner Brad Pitt (“Fight Club”), Anthony Hayes (“The Light Between Oceans”), John Magaro (“Unbroken) and Topher Grace (“Interstellar”).

Produced by Netflix and Plan B Entertainment, “War Machine” follows General Glenn McMahon (Pitt), a four-star U.S. general who’s sent to Afghanistan by the Obama administration in an effort to end the war. Dissatisfied with the way things are being run and believing that the American armed forces in Afghanistan can still win against the insurgence, McMahon openly goes against his orders– a move that eventually gets him called back to Washington to deliver his resignation.

As one of the main costumers for the portions of the film shot in United Arab Emirates, which is where the exterior scenes of the film that served as Afghanistan were shot, Sass spent weeks on location between Abu Dhabi and Ras al Khaima where she was the person mainly responsible for dressing the personal security detail of Pitt’s character General Glenn McMahon, as well as the local extras and other cast members.

Working with Lisa is like working with two people simultaneously, she is everywhere, she does three to four jobs and none of them suffers. To say that she is hardworking would not give her justice… She is organized and manages to organize everybody around her, and at the same time be proactive, creative and artistic.

One of the uniquely challenging aspects of Sass’s job as the costumer for the UAE portion of “War Machine” was maintaining continuity when it came to the costumes worn by the background talent in the film.

“Dressing Afghani locals as extras was a big challenge because none of them had ever worked on a film and most of them didn’t understand any English,” Sass explained. “We had to be very observant and constantly have an eye on them so they wouldn’t redo their turban after every take or change the way they wore their costume.”

It’s understandable to see how someone who’s never been involved in a big film production might not grasp the importance of maintaining their overall appearance from take to take, but that meant Sass had to work double time keeping a diligent eye on all of the background talent over the course of each take. Despite the explicit challenges though, the outcome of the film proves that she clearly had an eagle eye’s view on every single one of the background actors, as the continuity of the costumes come across flawlessly throughout the film.

An expert in her field, Sass’s work as a costumer means that she has to understand every elemental detail present within the costumes worn on screen to ensure that the characters in the film come across with seamless authenticity. For “War Machine,” that meant extensive research on Sass’s part into the various uniforms and patches that represent military rank.

She explains, “A war film might sound dull from the costume aspect but we had a lot of different nations so I learned a lot about the differences, ranks, badges and insignia. The film plays around 2009 so the US uniforms also were different at that time than they’re today.”

It’s not surprising that Sass’s work went off without a hitch when it came to “War Machine,” not only because she has been working as a costumer on high profile productions for many years, but this is also not her first war film. In 2014 she was a lead costumer on the documentary feature “Ein blinder Held – Die Liebe des Otto Weidt” aka “The Blind Hero: Otto Weidt,” which was set during World War II. Nominated for a German Television Academy Award, “The Blind Hero: Otto Weidt” directed by Kai Christiansen (“The Cuba Libre Story”), which stars Adolf Grimme Award winner Edgar Selge (“The Experiment”) and Bambi Award winner Henriette Confurius (“Beloved Sister”), depicts the heroic true story of Otto Weidt, who risked his life to save his Jewish employees, as well as the life of his lover Alice Licht, from the Nazis.

“Not only was it a great production to work on for the retelling of historic events and portrayal of the characters and their costumes, it is also always a challenge to do right by people by being as accurate as possible,” Sass explains. “It is a great responsibility in the costume department to get the accuracy right when it comes to real life happenings, especially when it is about a time of historical importance and when you still have actual eyewitnesses who would be offended by a bad portrayal.”

Over the last few years costumer Lisa Sass has made an indelible mark as a leading costumer in the world of international hit films. In 2015 she was tapped as a costumer on the blockbuster film “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” which was nominated for a whopping five Oscar Awards and directed by two-time Primetime Emmy Award winner J.J. Abrams (“Super 8”). The following year she also brought her unparalleled skill as a costumer to the Oscar nominated hit film “Star Trek Beyond” starring Primetime Emmy nominees Chris Pine (“Star Trek”) and Zachary Quinto (“Snowden”).

Costume Designer Sanja Hays, who worked with Sass on “Fast and Furious 7” and “Star Trek Beyond,” says, “Working with Lisa is like working with two people simultaneously, she is everywhere, she does three to four jobs and none of them suffers. To say that she is hardworking would not give her justice… She is organized and manages to organize everybody around her, and at the same time be proactive, creative and artistic.”

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