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Recreating Ancient Egypt: A Conversation with Costume Designer Janty Yates

Exodus: Gods and Kings
27 April 2015

From acclaimed director Ridley Scott (Gladiator, Prometheus) comes the epic adventure EXODUS: GODS AND KINGS, the story of one man’s daring courage to take on the might of an empire. Using state of the art visual effects and 3D immersion, Scott brings new life to the story of the defiant leader Moses (Christian Bake) as he rises up against the Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses (Joel Edgerton), setting 600,000 slaves on a monumental journey of escape from Egypt and its terrifying cycle of deadly plagues.

Ridley Scott’s Exodus: Gods and Kings is out now on Digital Platforms, Blu-ray and DVD and The Fan Carpet’s Marc Jason Ali had the pleasure of speaking to acclaimed Costume Designer Janty Yates , to celebrate its home entertainment release…



What was it about the story of Moses the drew you to get involved in the project?

I was very lucky to read a script early on and I was just I was thrilled with a whole new take on that part of the Bible. I loved the fact that the relationship between he [Moses] and Ramses was developed and they grew up together, I loved the whole new take on the plagues; the rivers are red because the Crocodiles are fighting, there are Frogs because they’ve let the rivers get so bad, everything has a logistical answer. I loved the whole new exciting take on it.


Can you tell us about creating the looks for Christian and Joel and creating the world?

Well basically with every film, of this ilk set in thirteen hundred BC, you do as much research as possible and I was very fortunate that there is an awful lot of Egyptian drawings and carvings, plus there are a lot of artefacts in the Berlin Egyptian museum and the Cairo museum, and in the British museum as well. As Ridley always says ‘you research the granny out of it and then twist it a little bit.’

Ramses was always going to be as flamboyant as hell, he was such an ego maniac and so vain. His amour was actually taken from research, it did exist but Ridley wanted a big contrast and so whist he was flamboyant, Christian had to play Moses as a serious general and soldier, so we were much more sober with him with navy blues and leather, it was just beautiful as well in a much simpler for military way.



And how was Sir Ridley to work with?

I found Ridley to be the most inspiring Director to work with, and I’ve worked with a few.

Ridley Scott was an Artist for seven years at college and he became a Production Designer first off, so his vision is just incredible; much more so than the slew of other Directors that I’ve worked with in the past, and he would come up with the most wonderful ideas and I’d take credit for it. [laughs]


Christian Bale is quite the legend himself, can you tell s about your experience working with him?

You’re absolutely right, he is a legend. Christian was wonderful, he’s so funny, and we were all absolutely in love with Christian and Joel, they were absolute joys. Loved their costumes, and were just great to collaborate with.


Thinking back to the locations of the stunning sets, did you spend a lot of time on set?

I was with the film from beginning to end, things change constantly, and actually I was establishing costumes right up until the eleventh hour. We changed locations probably every five or six days.


What do you have coming up?

I just finished work on The Martian which we shot in Budapest, I came back from Budapest last week, that’s another Ridley Scott production with Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Jeff Daniels and Kristen Wiig, it’s a great cast, based on a book about a man stranded on Mars.

I never really plan in advance, I need to get my energy levels back up, so nothing in the immediate future at the moment.



Exodus: Gods and Kings Film Page


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