As many of you know, the British company Palitoy
created Action Force
in 1982. By the mid-1980s, Palitoy
and all itâ€™s properties were bought by the American company who owned GI Joe,
Rather than have the two franchises compete, Hasbro
merged the two toylines and the rest is history.
Summer 2009 will see GI Joe
arrive on the silver screen in the form of a live-action movie; GI Joe â€“ The Rise Of Cobra.
A couple of years ago, I began buying embroidered sci-fi patches from a costume-maker in California (via the internet). Her name is Kathy Pillsbury, and she has helped out on films such as Return To The Batcave
starring Adam West and Burt Ward, as well as fan-films such as Star Trek â€“ Of Gods And Men,
directed by Trek
actor Tim Russ.
But more recently, sheâ€™s been lending a hand on GI Joe â€“ The Rise Of Cobra
(filmed under the working title of Dark Sky
Kathy has been interviewed about her science-fiction work before, and even appeared as a Star Wars expert on an E! Entertainment Star Wars Special
on U.S. television.But this is the first time ever that Kathy has spoken to an Action Force website!
I recently asked her about her work in general and her involvement in GI Joe â€“ The Rise Of Cobra (Dark Sky).
Hereâ€™s what we discussed;1) Please tell us a little about yourself, including how you first became involved in costuming and embroidery for television and films.
I've always had a fascination for costuming.... started making my own 'play clothes' back when I was 9-10 years old... I started making costumes for others back in 1978 when a friend wanted a Star Wars costume and wondered if I could do it. I said sure. Someone saw their costume, asked me for one and it just took off...2) If a member of the public contacted your business and required a costume or embroidered patch from a show that you did NOT work on, how would you go about finding the pattern to work from? Do you improvise, or do you use your contacts in the industry to secure the original?
I'm a pattern maker besides being a costumer.... if I need a pattern, I look at all the pix I can find, and make it. If I have the possibility of getting an original to copy from, even better.3) How did you first become involved in GI Joe - Dark Sky? Were you approached, or did you respond to industry recruitment?
A friend who owns an effects company [Renegade Effects Group] who does it all -- effects, props and costumes contacted me about my ability to help with a project... turned out to be Dark Sky [GI Joe].
I started by prototyping a set of leather sleeves that the armor was to go over for the Vipers.4) Were you able to work from your premises in Van Nuys or did you have to work on the Paramount lot? If you worked at Paramount, what was it like there?
No, I went to work at their shop -- it was a lot easier because of the scale of the project.... we had to do vacuum-forming, leather work, sewing, etc.5) Which people and / or departments did you have to report to? Did you ever work directly with Costume Designer Ellen Mirojnick?
No, I didn't work with the costume designer, but my boss did. 6) Please can you tell us which specific costumes you worked on for GI Joe?
I worked primarily on the sleeve armor for the Vipers
.... we had to do 30 pair. I didn't do any embroidery, just worked with a lot of leather and a lot of glue! I also did some work on the leather sword harness for Stormshadow.7) You mentioned Ray Park (Snake Eyes) when we chatted the other day. Please tell us about some of the cast and crewmembers you met whilst working on the film, and what your experiences of them were.
I didn't work with them, but Dragon [the owner of the company] worked with Ray
on the weaponry for the film. Certain requirements were needed because of the stunt work, so everything had to be planned out carefully.7) Can you tell us a little about the design styles and types of fabric employed in the costumes for this film, please? Can you tell us a little about the manufacturing process?
I worked mostly with the leather to cover the armor, while others did different aspects of the project. Once the master molds were made, one person ran the vacuformer to make all the armor, someone else ran the band saw to cut them out, another did the finishing trimming of each piece, who then brought them to me. I had to cover each piece [smoothly!] with leather [and went through 4 gallons of barge cement!]. Once I was done, there were holes to be drilled to attach all the connecting pieces/straps which were cut & sewn by another and myself. Once all the bits and pieces were done, the sleeves were finally assembled and matched in pairs.9) Roughly how long did you and your team work on GI Joe? Was it an intense schedule, or a laid-back atmosphere?
It started out as a relatively easy month with standard 8 hour days, but with several refining details/changes, it became very intense at the end.... our last week was 5 days totaling 63 hours!10) What was your most enjoyable experience on this project?
I enjoyed most of it.... the very end when we were rushing to make the deadline was a little bit stressful, but knowing everything was done at 4 AM and ready to be picked up at 8 AM was good... 11) How do you feel about contributing to such an icon of pop-culture?
Pretty good... I never thought growing up that I'd end up where I am now.12) And what message would you like to pass to we British fans of Action Force / GI Joe?
I hope the film is everything you hope it to be.... I did my part for 'The Team'
Special Thanks to Kathy for participating!
If youâ€™d like to see her wares, please follow the link; http://www.Katarra8.com