I worked on Terminator 3, Rocky 3 and X-Men 3 and they all share the distinction of being the least successful in the franchises. But they were great.
– Dan Moore.
I spoke to Costume Designer Dan Moore who was the costume designer for Red Heat starring Arnold Schwarzenneger. He later worked with Schwarzenegger again on Terminator 3 Rise of the Machines and with Hugh Jackman on X-Men 3 The Last Stand. Dan spoke about working with other Hollywood greats such as Eddie Murphy in 48 Hours, Sylvester Stallone in Rocky 3 and Steven Spielberg on E.T.
You’ve worked with Arnold on a bunch of films, is that coincidence or does Schwarzenegger ask for specific costume designers?
With Arnold it wasn’t quite like that. I was the supervisor on Terminator 3. Arnold had a dresser who was a very good friend of mine. He did 11 pictures with Arnold his name was Greg Hall he just passed this February. Arnold had a personal thing with the guy who dressed him.
How was Arnold to work with?
Arnold was great. There’s been a bit of push back about some of his past. And as much as he liked to have fun and joke around, he really meant business on the set. If you were producing a movie and Arnold was in it, rest assured you had someone that can lead the actors and lead the crews. He might have that big cigar in his hand but as soon as the camera start rolling – when he sets that cigar down he’s all business.
Can you remember working on Rocky 3?
Tom Bronson was Sylvester Stallone’s guy. Stallone is very interesting. Sly was directing as well and his body was just chiselled into this well oiled machine. A few things about that; the effort to have his body right and his mind right to direct – that’s incredible. One thing that Arnie and Sly share is that they have almost no body fat when they’re working.
What was it like working with Steven Spielberg?
Well E.T was supposed to Steven’s little movie. They brought on this old time production manager to watch every penny. Deborah Scott was the designer, she’s gone on to do great things with Jim Cameron. Not only with Titanic but also with Avatar. I was like the second person, there was only 3 of us on the show. Nobody knew it was going to make a billion dollars.
And did you manage to keep anything from the set of E.T?
There were things I had to keep from E.T for awhile. I kept them in my garage. They didn’t want to pay to store it. I would get calls years later asking do you have this do you have that. I said sure, I’ll bring it around. It all found its way back.
Credits and Further Reading
With thanks to Dan Moore for his time and sharing those memories. All images used pulled from the web used, within the fair use doctrine. E.T photo pulled from The Bearded Trio. Dan is currently producing a film called Angel Lady. Below is some more information about Dan Moore from his email correspondence with me. This episode is sponsored by MyPostcard. Be sure to enter TAILORS25 at checkout to get your 25% discount of any postcard you send.
I got into the film industry with no background or training. I was completing my Ph.D. dissertation in the English Department of Ohio State University in 1979 when a movie came to town. A friend wangled me a job as a production assistant on that film, BRUBAKER, starring Robert Redford. As it was a prison movie, the costumer, Tom Bronson, needed some local help. Since I simply did what I was told, with none of the pissing and moaning typical of a Hollywood crew member, Tom concluded that I would make a great assistant for him. At the end of the shoot, he offered to facilitate my move to Los Angeles and a job on his next project. As Satchel Paige always counselled, “Don’t look back. Somethin’ might be gainin’ on ya.”
That next film was THE LONG RIDERS, directed by Walter Hill. It was the first of 14 projects I did for Walter (including RED HEAT). Soon after that, I worked on 48 HRS. and E.T., which were both released to great commercial success in 1982. In those days, I was a set costumer, responsible for attending the actors on set, and assuring that their presentation of the costume was correct in every way, including continuity.
I gradually learned my craft, moving up from set to Costume Supervisor, running the crew that executed the designs of the Costume Supervisor. Marilyn Vance designed BREWSTER’S MILLIONS and Joel Silver produced it . . . both were well-suited for a movie which is all about spending money.
JOHNNY HANDSOME was the first film for which I received screen credit as the Costume Designer, a rough film noir set and shot in New Orleans, with a remarkable cast , including Mickey Rourke, Ellen Barkin, Lance Henriksen, Elizabeth McGovern, Morgan Freeman, and Forest Whitaker.
After that I bounced back and forth between supervising and designing. A few of the highlights were baseball films, 61* and “The Bronx is Burning” for HBO and ESPN. And I picked up an Emmy for the television series version of “The Magnificent 7”.
Most proud of
I’m probably most proud of my design work on Walter Hill’s GERONIMO: AN AMERICAN LEGEND and WILD BILL. In the former, Wes Studi stars as the great Apache chief, while Robert Duvall, Gene Hackman, Jason Patric and a young Matt Damon struggle to subdue him. And in the latter, Jeff Bridges shines in the many facets of Wild Bill’s personality.
It was pleasant to finish my costuming career with Betsy Heimann on the Best Picture winner GREEN BOOK. Now, when I should be enjoying my retirement, I need to learn a whole new game, trying to get my wife’s script of ANGEL LADY off the ground.
So that’s a little trip down memory lane. I’ll be happy to talk about any of the shows where I’ve spent time. And I’ll add a copy of my resume in case something might pop up that you haven’t seen yet.