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Behind the Scenes

Anthony Mackie, Dwayne Johnson and Mark Wahlberg

& Gain

It's a tale so twisted it could only be based on true events: ex-cons turned personal trainers turned kidnappers who make off with millions. This is gist of the hilariously dark action comedy Pain & Gain, out tomorrow and starring Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson and Anthony Mackie as the three gym rats who get themselves in way over their heads in the sun-soaked, wealth-worshiping Miami of the mid-1990s. As wild as the action gets, the clothes are even more brash. We got Oscar-winning costume designer Deborah Lynn Scott on the phone to tell us how she created those flashy, retro looks.

What's your research process like?

Luckily, there's a lot of source material for a film like this. It's everything from back issues of weight lifting and fitness magazines, to popular movies from that time, tons of images and snapshots. Muscle building was really having a moment then, so there was plenty to purchase from eBay. Not to mention, the story was taken from real life, so that did give us a jumping off point.

Is it harder to design for a film set in the not too distant past, since the styles aren't that removed from those today?

I think so, because in your mind's eye, it wasn't that long ago—we all lived through it but oh my gosh, there are so many things that you quickly forget, or maybe want to forget about. It makes for fun, if not a bit awkward, fittings. Like, 'Okay, try on this fanny pack and these high-waisted, stonewashed jeans.' The fit is key because jeans, for example, weren't slim straight-leg styles and even though that looks so much better, you have to resist the temptation to be too familiar with today's styles.

Where do you find pieces like ill-fitting stonewashed jeans?

It's almost all vintage. That's the fun part. We went to a lot of thrift stores and the menswear, it's so prevalent and that '90s vintage was great—those slick pieces from Versace and Calvin Klein. And then for some looks, you needed multiples of the same piece for different scenes. Thankfully, places like Tommy Bahama are still selling wide, pleated pants. Those bad boys were a godsend. You can find what you need if you know where to look. You've just got to be more mindful of things like lapels and proportions.

Warning: Audio NSFW. (This is the "red band" trailer.)

Was there anything that the guys were excited to wear?

Mark was such a great sport. He had something like 70 different costume changes and we have him in everything from neon workout gear and pleated pants to bad patterned '90s shirts. He was actually familiar with that whole scene back then, so when we first met and I showed him my old magazines, he was happy to explore the clothing and accessories. The actors really appreciate when the details are right. When all those little things align, it really helps them get him into character.

Were there pieces you knew you'd have to include
in a '90s-style film?

Those fitness clothes were so indicative of that time and place—crazy pants, cut-off tank tops and tees—Anthony Mackie actually wears some striped onesies. And then the sneakers were big too. High-top Reeboks for the ladies, and bolder Nikes for the guys. They're vintage styles, but thankfully a lot of the athletic companies were great about guiding us and pulling out some great archival designs. And then [director] Michael Bay really wanted that baby blue tuxedo for Dwayne's character and let me tell you, it's not easy to find that much polyester.

'Pain & Gain' is in theaters April 26.
    Check out where the real-life Sun Gym gang characters are now.








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