MATRIX: I’ve seen some interesting fabrics around the workshop; what kinds of fabrics have you been working with?

ROGER: There was a bit of a discussion earlier on in the piece about the characters I was working on in the Hel Night Club scene – Kym wanted their costumes to be out of latex. We collaborated with a latex garment maker, Nicole Serjeant, who came in and made some costumes for us that I cut, using gluing techniques. We have also sewn some of the latex, a different type of latex, which actually has a net in the back of it, so you can stitch it and it doesn’t rip. We had that latex made especially for this production.

MATRIX: Who else did you collaborate with?

ROGER: The Rubber Emporium [Sydney] and Kaysers [now Reactor Rubberwear, Sydney]. The buyers worked a lot with them, and bought quite a lot of stock from them for particular scenes. Nicole is now in Melbourne with her latex business, we sort of caught her at the tail end of Sydney, she is an amazing latex maker. She is very accurate, and exactly what we needed for that very clean line you need in the world of THE MATRIX.

MATRIX: Why did you choose to put the latex costumes together in different ways – gluing and stitching?

ROGER: Monica Bellucci’s [Persephone] dresses were glued together, this was early on in the piece, when we weren’t aware that stitching latex was available to us. The reason Monica’s dresses are so clean lined is because they’ve been glued together, you don’t see any topstitching, which I think is very important with latex. If you want a clean line with latex it’s much better to glue it together, otherwise you end up with more of a ‘jeanery’ look like on this bodice.

MATRIX: Which character wore this costume?

ROGER: This is the Coat Girl [Kate Beahan] in the Hel Night Club.

MATRIX: Do you remember the process this costume went through?

ROGER: We started out with an idea and a thumbnail sketch. We’ve been toiling the latex garments in a particular fabric that has a similar stretch, so I’d sit down and make a pattern, then make a toile, and we’d have a look at it on someone. We’d tweak that, and then I’d make another one, and we’d tweak that – this costume we have probably worked on for about a month now, from its initial conception to the end results.

MATRIX: What is the fabric you’ve been making the latex toiles in?

ROGER: We do them in a fabric called Powernet, which is a stretchy underwear fabric that has a lot of elasticity, and has a similar sort of give and retention to the latex we’ve been using. So the transferal from medium to medium worked out well.

MATRIX: I see you’ve got tulle in between the layers of ruffles.

ROGER: We wanted to put that there to give the ruffles a bit more depth. If the tulle wasn’t there, or if it was self-colored tulle, it wouldn’t read so well on camera; we wanted the ruffles to stand out more on film. It was part of the brief that Kym wanted to have a bit of a bustle effect, so we graded the ruffles out to get larger. That meant the costume ended up having a silhouette with a bit of a shelf at the back, and a very, very sexy line into the bottom. This silhouette became a theme throughout the movie.

MATRIX: Did you work on the latex Bubble Girl costume in the Hel Night Club scene?

ROGER: Yes, I was involved in that one. We wanted to have a restraining type of costume made in white, I see it as being a bit of a fetish bride. We chose a girl [Cassandra Williams] who had a very shapely body because we wanted her to look blown up, like she’d been blown up like with an air pump. I made a white rubber sheath, again with the net behind the latex, so we actually stitched that one together, and we put a hoop around the calves to give it the restraining effect Kym wanted, so the girl wouldn’t be able to get away. I’m imagining this is a fetish idea – that you can’t get away – a lot of the fetish ideas are very internal. We had the bubble head made, and again it’s very confining and very internal, so she was quite restricted.

MATRIX: Could she see out of her “bubble” head?

ROGER: I had the mask on once and you can see. It’s got little pin holes where the eyes are and where the mouth is, so you can breathe, but you’re looking through long tubes inside. There are two long tubes for the eyes, and one for the mouth, and the ball sits over those, so there’s a long distance to look and breathe through; your vision is reduced drastically. And her hands were totally covered up with latex mittens.

MATRIX: Did she actually have her hands in a fist?

ROGER: Yes, you have them in a fist to fill the ball up at the end. She was a very courageous girl, doing that five days in a row.

MATRIX: The Hel Night Club scene was fetish and bondage based, did you and/or Kym have contact with people in the fetish scene in Sydney to get ideas?

ROGER: Yes, we’ve been to most of the fetish shops and looked around, and got lots of fetish magazines and information on the net. We had a fetish casting for all the extras that were involved in that scene, so there were people from that world. A lot of them had their own gear they like to wear, and we supplied them with accessories or whole costumes, depending on what look we wanted each one of them to have.

MATRIX: This is another interesting looking costume.

ROGER: This is the Trainman’s Moll costume, who is a featured extra. I actually started with a bra – there’s a bra on the inside here – and I draped the fabric over the bra to get the bust shape right, which was a good place to start. It’s got quite a lot of boning in it; it’s all spiral bone (metal bones) inside to give a lot of support.

MATRIX: Why did you choose metal bones, rather than plastic?

ROGER: A lot of the paneling is curved, so you need to use spiral bones to go over the curves. You’ll see her wearing that in the Hel Night Club, and she looks amazing. The bottom of this costume is along the same lines as the Coat Girl costume, it’s a little skirt hot pants suit with a ruffley bottom, and we put the orange tulle in for a bit of color. She also had fantastic shoes on, which were very high – in heels and hair, I think she ended up about six foot eight. She’s doing one more scene, wearing the corset with a pair of pedal pushers with the same ruffley bottom.

MATRIX: Thanks Roger.

Interview by REDPILL
December 2001