In films, a character’s costume can be more important than you might initially think; it’s the final piece to a role. Costumes can be attention grabbers or even play a more significant part in the grand scheme of the plot, such as superhero films or historical pieces. In both cases, a tiny misstep or detail can be a difference between and, in some instances, cause a huge uproar!
In both cases, though, there is a method to the costume department’s madness and reasons for their various choices, including their more controversial decisions (cough, Princess Leia, cough).
Bryce Dallas Howard Nude Pumps In Jurassic World
When Jurassic World hit theaters in 2015, it was received with stellar reviews. Well, maybe not everything was met with positivity, including Bryce Dallas Howards nude pumps. In the film, her character, uptight executive Claire, runs through the jungle escaping dinosaurs who are out for blood, in nude heels. Girl, toss the shoes!
Interestingly, when Howard was questioned about the shoe choice, she had a very clear answer, saying, “I don’t think she would carry around flats with her. I think she’s somebody who could sprint a marathon in heels.” Hey, maybe every girl has that one pair of running heels!
Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn Costume Was A Bit Revealing
In 2016, people got their first look at the cast of Suicide Squad in their villain costumes. But, let’s be honest. Most people were interested in discussing Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn costume, or lack thereof. The “Daddy’s Lil Monster” shirt, shiny booty shorts, and fishnet stockings left little to the imagination.
But, according to director David Ayer, there was a reason for the scandalous outfit. During an interview, he said, “[the costume], that’s part of the iconography.” Technically, he has a point. In comic books, Quinn starts off wearing a jester outfit but slowly changes into something more along the lines of Robbie’s Quinn costume.
Ryan Reynolds All CGI Green Lantern Suit
Many people wish to forget Ryan Reynolds was in Green Lantern, as it was a horrible flop of a movie. But one thing people can’t forget was that the plot wasn’t the only disaster. We’re talking about Green Lantern’s super suit, of which is, for some reason, all CGI.
Reynolds has gone on record saying he didn’t agree with the CGI costume, saying he didn’t even know what the suit looked like until the film was released. Designer Ngila Dickson explained her reasoning, saying, “the suit was his power manifesting outside the body.” In the end, she agreed the innovation wasn’t worth the horrible result.
Marilyn Monroe In “That Silly Little Dress”
Marilyn Monroe arguably wears one of the most famous costumes in the film The Seven Year Itch. Throughout history, her iconic white dress has been duplicated by impersonators, mimicked for parties, and worn for Halloween. But, in the 50s, “that silly little dress,” as costume designer William Travilla called it, caused quite the stir.
In the film, Monroe is seen standing over a subway grate, holding down her dress as it flaps wildly around her. It was scandalous! But the dress design served a purpose. Travilla wanted to design a dress that would illustrate Monroe’s innocent and sweet nature while accentuating her overall natural appeal. Mission accomplished!
George Clooney’s Anatomically Correct Bat Suit
One of the most controversial costumes just so happens to be in the Batman franchise, with George Clooney’s anatomically correct bat suit in Batman & Robin. While fans will never let the franchise, director, or actor, live down the suit; there was a reason for the vividly chiseled and accurate chest.
Director Joel Schumacher said, “The bodies for the suits—the inspiration for them are Greek statues that have perfect bodies. And, so, we’re molding this perfect body in rubber” Apparently, it never occurred to the man that making the suit look like a shirtless mannequin was a bad idea.
Carrie Fisher’s Slave Leia Bikini
As the only notable female character in the original Star Wars series, Carrie Fisher’s Princess Leia slave costume has been a controversial topic for some time. In Return of the Jedi, the costume sparked the idea among viewers that Fisher and her character were being objectified for the sole reason of their gender.
As it turns out, that was never the intention behind designers Aggie Guerard Rodgers and Nilo Rodis-Jamero two-piece costume. They took inspiration from Frank Frazetta’s cover art for The Princess of Mars. George Lucas loved the idea and wanted something different, so they ran with the idea.
Theda Bara’s Period-Appropriate Cleopatra Costume
Theda Bara’s Cleopatra costume in the 1917 film Cleopatra stirred more than one controversy. At the time, showing too much ankle on-screen was scandalous, let alone a low-cut dress with cutouts! But, you have to hand it to Bara. She didn’t sway from her vision of the character.
The actress made it known that she wanted to make the character as authentic-looking as possible, working with a curator of Egyptology at the Metropolitan Museum to make sure her style was period-appropriate and that the dress and jewelry details were authentic. The costume may have been controversial at the time, but you have to admire authenticity!
Princess Merida’s Disney Princess Makeover
In 2012, Disney and Pixar animation gave the world a new type of princess in the form of Scottish archer Merida in Brave. Finally, a princess that’s bold and adventurous with her unruly curly red hair and hate for all things formal. Fans loved her style. But that all changed when Disney announced Merida as the 11th Disney Princess and gave her a makeover.
Their 2D drawing of Merida left her with a cinched waist, sparkly formal gown, smoothed-out hair, and bigger eyes. After receiving a lot of backlash for the “prettier” Merida, Disney explained the redesign by saying all Princesses go through multiple makeovers. Merida would hate it.
Ryan Reynolds First Deadpool Costume
Ryan Reynolds can’t get away from controversial costumes. You might have put this getup in the far parts of your mind, but before Deadpool, Reynolds was outfitted as the scarred antihero in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, unfortunately. With blades coming out of his hands and his mouth sealed shut, it’s hard to even think of the character as a first-generation Deadpool, as the designers thought would happen.
The studio ADI explained their design, saying, “If you think of this as an embryonic Deadpool, it might make more sense.” They must have missed the part where Deadpool’s whole thing is making witty and inappropriate comments.
Halle Berry Leaves Little To The Imagination In Catwoman
Before the 2004 film Catwoman was even released in theaters, there was a lot of controversy surrounding Halle Barry’s costume, mainly, how little of it there was. Traditionally, the cat burglar villain sports a black bodysuit, making her look like a black cat.
Here, we see Barry in nothing more than a black bikini top and shredded leather pants. Designer Angus Strathie made the costume, with the help of Barry and director Pitof, and said, “We wanted a very reality-based wardrobe to show the progression from demure, repressed Patience to the sensual awakening of a sexy warrior goddess.” Next time, remember the phrase “less is more.”
Maureen O’Sullivan’s Jane Costume Was Scandalous In The 30s
The character of Tarzan has traditionally worn a loincloth in film, since he’s born and raised and living in the jungle, and there’s never been an uproar. But when Maureen O’Sullivan donned a similar ensemble for the 1934 film Tarzan and His Mate, she was getting more than one hate letter from women.
According to O’Sullivan, the costume was actually going to be more revealing. Instead of a loincloth-type top and bottom, she was going to wear strategically-placed leaves! That didn’t work out, though. Even so, the costume was designed to make it look as though Jane was on the same page as Tarzan.
Changing Naomi Scott And Mena Massoud Costumes in Aladdin
When it comes to remakes, it’s a risk changing up iconic costumes, especially when those remakes happen to be a Disney classic such as Aladdin. In the original animated film, the main characters of Aladdin and Jasmine are seen wearing slightly revealing outfits, something that changed and caused quite a controversy in the live-action retelling.
In the 2019 film, costume designers took a risk, dressing Naomi Scott and Mena Massoud in less-revealing outfits. Their reasoning for the choice was to make the film more authentic. Since Agrabah is set in the Middle East, Jasmine would likely not be wearing a midriff-bearing top, and Aladdin wouldn’t be roaming the streets shirtless.
Joaquin Phoenix’s Lack Of Joker Purple And Green
Although the 2019 film Joker starring Joaquin Phoenix, was critically acclaimed upon its release, receiving numerous positive reviews and awards, there was still an aspect of the film that caused controversy among fans of the character. Traditionally, the Joker is clad in purple and green, something the designers threw out the window.
Designer Mark Bridges explained that the suit was reflective of the early 1980s city setting. More importantly, each item is worn by Authur Fleck at some point in the film: the vest from his clown costume and the jacket from stand-up. But the removal of the traditional purple color was Bridge’ss way of making a distinctively iconic character.
Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman Shoes
Wonder Woman is one of those characters that can’t seem to escape controversy no matter how many costume changes she goes through. For Gal Gadot’s portrayal of the Amazonian warrior, many fans weren’t exactly thrilled with the shoes. Apparently, the tiny skirt and strapless top are okay to fight in, but the slight wedge in the shoes is a no-no to some.
Regardless of the haters, Gadot’s costume was thoroughly thought out. During an interview with Pret-a-Reporter, designer Michael Wilkinson said, “We wanted to create something incredibly strong and portray her as a legitimate fighter.” Personally, we think she looks like a warrior, so mission accomplished.
Afshan Azad And Shefali Chowdhury’s Traditional Indian Attire At A Ball In Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire
During the film Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the three schools come together for the Yule Ball, as a way to come together during the Triwizard Tournament. The ball is pretty much the only time audience members see the students dressed up. So it was upsetting to many seeing Afshan Azad And Shefali Chowdhury’s characters, Parvati and Padma, dressed in not-as-fancy outfits.
According to some fans, the costumes are nothing more than traditional everyday attire for Indian women, and not something worn to a ball. Of course, the designers came out to defend their wardrobe, saying that their costumes were downplayed to put more focus on Hermione’s dress.
Karen Gillan’s Not-So-Jungle-Appropriate Clothing In Jumanji
Audience members got their first look at the Jumanji remake in September of 2016 when a poster was released with the main four cast members. And while Jack Black, The Rock, and Kevin Hart are all wearing jungle-appropriate attire for the adventure movie, Karen Gillan’s character is outfitted in a crop top and short shorts.
Needless to say, people weren’t too thrilled with the costume choice. However, there was a reason for it. While the original film had the characters playing the Jumanji board game, the remake is a video game. Gillan’s character’s skimpy wardrobe is a reflection of how animators portray women in video games.
Jaime Foxx’s Sunglasses Weren’t Overlooked In Django
Quentin Tarantino is known for making his films anti-hyper-realistic, so people weren’t too concerned when Django Unchained was released in 2012. They just thought it was going to be more of the same Tarantino. As it turns out, people are very critical when it comes to misplaced sunglasses!
In the film, Jaime Foxx’s character sports a pair of gold-rimmed shades, something that is not timely for the period piece. Thankfully, there was a reason behind the sunglasses. According to designer Sharen Davis, Tarantino wanted the film to be a “rock ‘n’ roll, spaghetti Western.” Obviously, that calls for some cool glasses worn by Charles Bronson in The White Buffalo.
Natalie Portman’s All-White Outfit In Attack Of The Clones
Unfortunately, it looks like costume designers took nothing away from the slave Leia incident when they went to work on the Star Wars prequel films. In Attack of the Clones, the leading female character Padmé, played by Natalie Portman, wears an all-white, skintight outfit that is not-so conveniently slashed during a battle to expose her midriff.
Needless to say, female fans weren’t happy with the costume choice for the former Queen. According to costume designer Trisha Biggar, filmmaker George Lucas wanted the character to be “gorgeous, and young in skimpy clothes.” He obviously didn’t learn from past mistakes!
Jennifer Lawrence Baring It All in X-Men: First-Class
Comic book fans weren’t overly happy when they caught the first look at Jennifer Lawrence’s Mystique in X-Men: First Class. In the comics, the character is typically shown wearing a white dress with slits up the sides. But, in the film, she’s wearing, well, nothing.
While Lawrence isn’t the first to bare-all in her blue birthday suit, fans were expecting the new X-Men cast to have more comic-authentic attire. But the designers of the costume explained their choice, saying that the lack of clothing was representative of how Mystique felt as a mutant: proud with nothing to be ashamed of.
Mickey Rooney’s Stereotypical Asian Character In Breakfast At Tiffany’s
One of the most beloved films in history is the Audrey Hepburn-led picture Breakfast at Tiffany’s. And while Hepburn’s attire is nothing but infamous with her little black dress and updo, Mickey Rooney’s is a cause for a lot of controversies, including the fact that he’s a white man playing an Asian man.
While the character of Mr. Yunioshi is very much loved, it doesn’t mean fans aren’t upset with his portrayal, finding the stereotypical and racist costume selections more than a little bit offensive. Unfortunately for the costume designers, they were just “going with the times where the notion of whiteness was more acceptable in media.”
Sylvester Stallone’s Judge Dredd Helmet
While there are many things wrong with Judge Dredd, from Sylvester Stallone yelling “I AM the law” to the weird amount of screen time Rob Schneider has, there is something else that fans on the character couldn’t stand: his helmet. Or, better yet, the lack of a helmet.
In the comics, Judge Dredd famously doesn’t remove the headpiece (think old-school Mandalorian). But, in the film, Stallone takes the helmet off in the first 20 minutes. Sigh. This move was more because Stallone wanted to film to be a comedy and not so dramatic. It didn’t pay off.
Lily James’ Tiny Little Cinderella Waist
In Disney’s quest to remake all of their classic films into live-action movies, Lily James was cast as one of the princesses, Cinderella. And while the film had its faults, since nothing will live up to the original cartoon picture, there was one aspect audiences couldn’t get past — the tiny waistline of the title character.
While there was actually no rhyme or reason for the slim waist, James still came to her own defense. During an interview, the actress said, “I naturally have a really small waist. The skirt’s big, and the corset pulls me in.”
Chris Evans’ Captain America Uniform Was A Bit Too Bright
Unfortunately for Marvel, they did Captain America wrong in The Avengers. Played by Chris Evans, Steve Rogers, aka Cap, fought off alien forces wearing a uniform that resembled something closer to a child’s Halloween costume than a serious hero’s outfit. The colors were way too bright, cheesy, and overall unappealing to the general audience.
The reason behind the overwhelming stars and stripes super suit was more of a mistake on the costume department than anything. And thankfully, everyone listened to the fans’ feedback moving forward, reworking the suit and making the colors a bit duller.
Matthew Lewis’ Fat Suit In Harry Potter
In the Harry Potter franchise, Matthew Lewis plays Neville Longbottom, the clumsy yet lovable Gryffindor wizarding student. While it’s the role of a lifetime for Lewis, his character did make him feel a bit self-conscious on set. But being forced to wear a fat suit while you’re growing up probably isn’t the best feeling.
While the actor might not have enjoyed wearing a fat suit, it makes sense for his character. In the books, Neville is described as a bigger boy. So, when Lewis was growing up and out of his baby fat, the director had to make a choice — keep him skinny or make him fatter.
Evangeline Lilly’s Suggestive Wasp Suit
When Ant-Man was released, fans were excited to see how Marvel was going to go about making the Wasp suit for Evangeline Lilly. But when it was released, it left people scratching their heads. It was a bit suggestive in some parts, especially in the front. According to the wardrobe department, they went through a lot of prototypes before landing on the design used in the films.
According to the costume designers, “We tested 30 different shapes, which was incredibly time-consuming, but the costume had to look absolutely perfect.” At least they found something that worked for them?
Ron Perlman Hated His Hellboy Prosthetics
While Guillermo del Toro’s Hellboy is arguably actor Ron Perlman’s most famous role, it came with a huge price. And that price came in the form of four hours of makeup, very uncomfortable prosthetic horns, and three hours at the end of the day to get everything off.
When asked why a third film didn’t go into the works, director Toro said, “He [Ron] really grew tired of the makeup in the second film, and he was really rubbed the wrong way by those seven-hour sessions.” Honestly, after seven hours in makeup, it’s very much understandable!
Ben Affleck’s Daredevil Suit Is Seen As Tacky
Ben Affleck just can’t seem to catch a break with his superhero movies and costumes. This time, it’s Daredevil‘s bright red leather suit that no one could really look past. And on top of a bad plot, that’s saying something. Regardless, audiences couldn’t get over how tacky the super-suit looked.
The reason behind the look makes sense, though. The costume department was trying to replicate the high-shine costume Matt Murdock wears in the comics. Unfortunately, for them, it didn’t turn out quite as expected, leaving us with a horrible squeaky-looking suit that probably alerts villains Daredevil is coming from miles away.
Henry Cavill’s Darker And Broodier Superman Costume
When it comes to comic book fans, messing up a super-suit is one of the worst things a costume department can do, especially if that hero is as iconic as Superman. Alas, Henry Cavill and his team on the set of Man of Steel decided to do something different with the character.
Since Cavill’s interpretation of Superman was a bit darker and broodier than past characters, he wanted something different with his suit to reflect the personality. So, they said goodbye to the bright colors and hello to darker shades. Needless to say, people weren’t too thrilled. But they couldn’t fault them for removing the outer underwear.
Evan Peters Updated Quicksilver’s Look In X-Men
In the comics, Quicksilver is seen with spiky silver hair and a streamlined super suit. Well, in X-Men: Days of Future Past, Evan Peter’s Quicksilver takes on a more modern look, something fans of the original comics weren’t too pleased with.
Instead of his typical attire, Peters was dressed in a silver moto jacket, goggle, and has long, shaggy silver hair. It was a far cry from the comic book hero, but designers wanted to modernize the look since Peter’s character is nothing more than a kid. Even so, fans weren’t happy with it.
Burt Ward Was Never Pleased With His Robin Costume
Burt Ward came on-screen in 1966 as Batman’s sidekick Robin in Batman: The Movie, a feature film that followed after the success of Batman the television series. Unfortunately, for the actor, that didn’t just mean reprising his role but wearing the Robin costume on-screen yet again.
And while the costume is an accurate representation of Robin in the comics, Ward couldn’t have hated it more. According to the actor, from the tights to the neck-choking collar of the cape, the costume was one of the most uncomfortable things he’s ever had to wear.
Kristen Stewart’s Obvious Wig In The Twilight Saga: Eclipse
Poor Kristen Stewart, always getting flak for her time on the set of Twilight. But this one instance is warranted, considering it’s a bad wig job and was very obvious throughout The Twilight Saga: Eclipse. As it so happened, Stewart had just wrapped up filming The Runaways, a film where she plays pixie-haired rocker, Joan Jett.
As a result, the Twilight team had no choice but to put a wig on the actress, as Bella Swan has long hair. Unfortunately, fans of the franchise noticed right away that something was off with the actress’s hair. Honestly, the costume department couldn’t have found a better wig?
Playing C-3PO Wasn’t Fun For Anthony Daniels
From the original Star Wars series in the ’70s, into the modern-day prequel flicks, and finishing off with the new trilogy, actor Anthony Daniels has played the beloved human-cyborg C-3po through it all. And while he is one of the more beloved characters in the franchise, Daniels admits that his costume alienated him on set.
While the costume wasn’t controversial on-screen, it certainly was on-set! During an interview, Daniels said, “It’s not easy for me being in the suit because I’m slightly separated from everybody else. After a few days, I had become an object. People forgot I was in there.”
Joel Kinnaman’s RoboCop Suit Wasn’t Cutting It
Described by fans as a knock-off Batman suit, it’s safe to say they weren’t overly pleased with the outcome of Joel Kinnaman’s RoboCop suit. Even before the movie was released, fans were happy with what appeared to be a weirdly large suit that made the actor look like a little kid trying to be intimidating.
Thankfully, there’s a reason for the suit. Apparently, the original suit looked different, but it was so uncomfortable that Kinnaman told the costume department to change it or he was going to drop out of the film. Obviously, they went ahead and changed the costume.
Willem Dafoe’s Campy-Looing Green Goblin Villain Costume
Actor Willem Dafoe’s Green Goblin was both praised and ridiculed — a weird combination. While his acting and chilling performance as the main villain in Spider-Man was praised, fans of the comics couldn’t get over the cheap-looking and campy Green Goblin costume he wears throughout the film.
Even though it makes sense why the director chose the costume, it looks like the comic book version of the villain. Fans are ruthless. They even complained that the Golbin outfit covered Defoe’s facial expressions! It’s understandable since he’s fantastic with facial expressions, but it’s a mask, folks, be reasonable.
Pirates of the Caribbean‘s British Soldiers Were Historically Inaccurate
Obviously, there is much to appreciate when it comes to the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, especially the sound performance by Johnny Depp. But there is one thing viewers couldn’t get over — the historical inaccuracy of the British soldiers’ uniforms. While the movies are set in the 1700s, the redcoat uniforms wouldn’t come around for another half a century!
While this mishap can be chalked up to the costume department not doing thorough research, it’s most likely to help younger viewers with
Michael Chiklis’ “The Thing” Suit In Fantastic Four
The original Fantastic Four came out in 2005, with Michael Chiklis playing “The Thing.” While the character is pretty much a human-looking rock, audiences were not thrilled with the makeup and prosthetics. Cheap, campy, and unrealistic were words being thrown around, even though the reason behind the make-up choice was so The Thing would look as realistic and comic book-appropriate as possible.
You win some and lose some, we suppose! Unfortunately, for Chiklis, the costume wasn’t just unrealistic but also very uncomfortable. According to the actor, enduring hours in a makeup chair to transform into The Thing was a “physical and psychological nightmare.”
Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel Suit Before The End Of The Film
While Captain Marvel fans should have waited until the last 20 minutes of the movie, they had a point when it came to the hero’s green suit. Obviously, the green suit is the opposite of Captain Marvel’s iconic red, blue, and gold uniform.
But what fans seemed to have forgotten is that before she transforms her suit into the one we known and love, she does wear the green suit of the Kree. So, even though the anti-Captain Marvel suit was a bit controversial, it seems as though the costume team was on to something in the way of authenticity!
Haruo Nakajima’s Horrible Godzilla Experience
Haruo Nakajima is one of those miraculous actors who had the privilege of playing the same character for many years. In this case, he played the legendary water monster Godzilla, from the original film in 1954 to the 1972 movie. Unfortunately for the actor, though, the Godzilla costume was no walk in the park.
While the costume wasn’t controversial on-screen, it certainly was for the actor. After the war years, rubber was in short supply, so the design team had to think of another way to construct the monster costume—their solution: cement. The costume weighed over 100kg!
Lynn Collins’ Risque Outfit In John Carter
Ironically, while Lynn Collins’ Princess Dejah Thoris’s costume in John Carter is controversial, it could have been a lot worse. In the original books, the Princess doesn’t even wear clothing. Instead, she is “clothed” with an assortment of ornaments and jewels.
Understandably, people still thought the actress’s getup was a bit too revealing for a Disney warrior princess character. But it could have been a lot worse. Collins even requested changes from the original costume! One can only imagine what that looked like if this was the final product. Even so, this was the most conservative option for an otherwise typically bare character.
Everything In Cats
The motion picture Cats goes to show that no matter how many stars are in one movie, it doesn’t mean it’s going to be good. In contrast, the movie was pretty horrible, with a lot of criticism going towards the creepy cat costume that relied way too heavily on CGI.
Thankfully, there is a reason for the cats, and it was to do with the actors overheating in fur prosthetics. According to the chairman of Universal Filmed Entertainment Group, Donna Langley, “There were all sorts of technical problems with dancers overheating and not being able to keep the fur on. It didn’t look good.” Well, neither did the CGI.