10 Fascinating Facts About Phantom Thread

Focus Features
Focus Features

Auteur Paul Thomas Anderson turned his eye toward fashion—and, for the first time in his career, away from California—in Phantom Thread, the Oscar-nominated film that stars Daniel Day-Lewis (in his reportedly final role) as a fastidious 1950s fashion designer who finds himself locked in a battle of wills—and mushrooms—with a new paramour (Vicky Krieps). Buckle in for these 10 decidedly not chic facts about Phantom Thread

1. DANIEL DAY-LEWIS CAME UP WITH HIS CHARACTER’S NAME.

It was Daniel Day-Lewis who came up with the name “Reynolds Woodcock”—and yes, it is supposed to be a penis joke. Before Day-Lewis’s stroke of brilliance, Paul Thomas Anderson was using the decidedly less anatomical-sounding moniker “Arthur Dapple, Jr." as a placeholder.

2. IT WAS (IN A SMALL WAY) INSPIRED BY PAUL THOMAS ANDERSON AND MAYA RUDOLPH’S RELATIONSHIP.

Inspiration for the integral subplot where Alma (Vicky Krieps) must nurse Reynolds through a debilitating illness comes in part from an occurrence in Anderson’s own life. The director came down with something, and his wife (actress/comedian Maya Rudolph) took care of him. “My imagination just took over at some point, where I had this thought: 'Oh, she is looking at me with such care and tenderness ... wouldn't it suit her to keep me sick in this state?'" Anderson recalled. "[That moment] gave me an idea that such a thing could be served up with some spark of mischievousness and humor that might, in a larger picture, lend itself to what it means to be in a long-term relationship, you know. And the balance of power that can happen in that.”

3. DAY-LEWIS CONTRIBUTED TO THE COSTUME DESIGN.

Daniel Day-Lewis and Vicky Krieps in Phantom Thread (2017)
Laurie Sparham, Focus Features

Day-Lewis was involved in the design of Reynolds Woodcock’s clothes—both those he wore and those he designed. For the gowns, Day-Lewis would sometimes choose color or fabric swatches for costume designer Mark Bridges. Woodcock’s own outfits were assembled in the normal, everyday manner of real people: An assortment of clothes was purchased and, per Bridges, Day-Lewis would select from it outfits that matched what he “was feeling at that given time for the scene.” (The blazer-over-lavender-PJs look is a Day-Lewis original.)

4. ONE OF THE CHARACTERS IS A BASED ON A REAL WOMAN WITH A TRAGIC STORY.

The character of Barbara Rose (Harriet Sansom Harris)—the drunken customer whose dress Reynolds and Alma steal off her body in one memorable scene—is based on real-life Woolworth heiress Barbara Hutton. The recipient of a $50 million inheritance on her 21st birthday, Hutton married seven times (once to Cary Grant). The marriage depicted in Phantom Thread, to playboy Porfirio Rubirosa, lasted two months.

5. IT’S DEDICATED TO JONATHAN DEMME.

Phantom Thread is dedicated to late director Jonathan Demme, friend and mentor to Anderson. Demme died on April 26, 2017, which also happened to be the last day of shooting on Phantom’s Thread.

6. VICKY KRIEPS DIDN’T REALIZE WHO SHE WAS AUDITIONING FOR.

Daniel Day-Lewis and Vicky Krieps in Phantom Thread (2017)
Laurie Sparham, Focus Features

Anderson discovered actress Vicky Krieps when he rented a German movie she’d been in on iTunes. (“I couldn’t believe anyone saw it,” Krieps said. “It was on iTunes for one week. But he clicked on it!”) Failing to read an email from her agent properly, Krieps thought it was a student director who was interested in working with her—not Paul Thomas Anderson. She didn't realize the error until after she’d already sent in her audition tape. 

7. YOU CAN DRESS LIKE REYNOLDS AND CYRIL WOODCOCK—IF YOU HAVE THE MONEY.

Reynolds Woodcock’s suits come from Anderson & Sheppard, a Savile Row clothing house that has dressed Prince Charles, Cary Grant, and Day-Lewis’s father, former UK poet laureate Cecil Day-Lewis, during its 112-year history. Woodcock’s magenta socks come from Rome-based designer Gammarelli, which is famed for dressing bishops and popes. The socks retail for about $25 a pair. Those who want to dress like his sister Cyril Woodcock can pay a visit to London tailor/designer Thomas von Nordheim.

8. DAY-LEWIS RECREATED A BALENCIAGA DRESS TO PREPARE FOR HIS ROLE.

Day-Lewis, famous for his Method acting zeal, prepared to play Woodcock by studying archival footage of mid-century fashion shows, learning to sew, and recreating a Balenciaga sheath dress from scratch. Day-Lewis’s wife, director Rebecca Miller, “has worn the dress,” he said. “It’s very pretty.” 

9. THE FILM TOOK ITS FASHION VERY SERIOUSLY.

Some of the seamstresses who work for Woodcock are played by real seamstresses. One of the dresses they work on, the wedding dress Woodcock designed for Princess Mona Braganza (Lujza Richter), was actually made to the actress’s measurements, even though she’s never filmed wearing it.

10. YOU CAN BUY REYNOLDS WOODCOCK’S HOUSE.

The scenes in Woodcock’s London townhouse were filmed in a house in Fitzroy Square that was designed by famed neoclassical architect Robert Adam. Any Paul Thomas Anderson superfans with a hefty bit of cash to spare are in luck: As of January, the five-story, seven-bedroom house was on the market for just over $20 million.

HBO Is Offering Nearly 500 Hours of Free Content, From The Sopranos to Succession

Matthew Macfadyen and Nicholas Braun talk business and omelettes in Succession.
Matthew Macfadyen and Nicholas Braun talk business and omelettes in Succession.
Peter Kramer/HBO

If shelter-in-place orders have you burning through your streaming service selections, HBO might be able to help. The premium network has just announced nearly 500 hours of content will be made available for free beginning Friday, April 3. In a press release, the channel said that content would be unlocked via HBO NOW and HBO GO without a subscription. Viewers can expect a mix of HBO’s original series as well as documentaries and catalog movie titles. For original series, viewers can select these nine shows:

  1. Ballers
  2. Barry
  3. Silicon Valley
  4. Six Feet Under
  5. The Sopranos
  6. Succession
  7. True Blood
  8. Veep
  9. The Wire

Documentary and Docuseries titles include:

  1. The Apollo
  2. The Case Against Adnan Syed
  3. Elvis Presley: The Searcher
  4. I Love You, Now Die: The Commonwealth v. Michelle Carter
  5. The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley
  6. Jane Fonda in Five Acts
  7. McMillion$
  8. True Justice: Bryan Stevenson’s Fight for Equality
  9. United Skates
  10. We Are the Dream: The Kids of the MLK Oakland Oratorical Fest

Movies are from the Warner Bros. library and, unlike The Sopranos, are mostly family-friendly. They include:

  1. Arthur
  2. Arthur 2: On the Rocks
  3. Blinded By the Light
  4. The Bridges of Madison County
  5. Crazy, Stupid, Love
  6. Empire of the Sun
  7. Forget Paris
  8. Happy Feet Two
  9. Isn't It Romantic?
  10. The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part
  11. Midnight Special
  12. My Dog Skip
  13. Nancy Drew And The Hidden Staircase
  14. Pan
  15. Pokémon Detective Pikachu
  16. Red Riding Hood
  17. Smallfoot
  18. Storks
  19. Sucker Punch
  20. Unknown Title To Be Announced

The shows can be viewed directly without a sign-in on the HBO GO and HBO NOW websites or via their apps. (The services are nearly identical, but HBO GO is typically included with a cable subscription; HBO NOW is a standalone streaming service.) If you’d like to sample the full range of HBO series like Game of Thrones, The Outsider, or Curb Your Enthusiasm, the channel is offering a seven-day free trial.

According to the press release, the programming will be available to watch without subscribing through the end of April.

Which Fictional Character Are You? This Online Quiz Might Give You an Eerily Accurate Answer

Peter Dinklage's Tyrion Lannister is the unofficial king of witty side comments. Are you, too?
Peter Dinklage's Tyrion Lannister is the unofficial king of witty side comments. Are you, too?
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

While watching a TV show or movie, you might find yourself trying to draw parallels between you and a certain character you’d want to be. If you’re like many viewers, it’s probably one of the heroic ones—the handsome private investigator with a tortured past and an unerring moral compass or the fearless queen who builds her kingdom from nothing and defends it to the death, etc.

But which character would you actually be? Openpsychometrics.org, a site that develops personality tests, has a new online quiz that might give you an uncannily accurate answer. You’ll be confronted with a series of 28 questions that ask you to pinpoint where you fall between two traits on a percentage-based spectrum. For example, if you’re more playful than serious, slide the bar toward the word playful until you’ve reached your desired ratio. The ratio could be anything from 51 percent playful and 49 percent serious, to a full 100 percent playful and not a single iota of seriousness at all. Other spectrums include artistic versus scientific, dominant versus submissive, spiritual versus skeptical, and more.

Once you’ve completed the quiz, you’ll find out which fictional character your personality most closely matches from a database of around 500 television and film characters. To pinpoint the personalities of the characters themselves, the quiz creators asked survey participants to rate them on a series of traits, and those collective results are then compared to your own self-ratings.

If you scroll down below your top result, you’ll see an option to show your full match list, which will give you a much more comprehensive picture of what kind of character you’d be. My top two results—which, ironically, were the same as Mental Floss editor-in-chief Erin McCarthy’s—were The West Wing’s C.J. Cregg and Joey Lucas, suggesting that we both have a no-nonsense attitude, a perfectionist streak, and an apparent aptitude for national politics that (at least in our cases) will likely go unfulfilled.

The fictional twin of managing editor Jenn Wood, on the other hand, is Game of Thrones’s Tyrion Lannister, unofficial king of witty side comments and all-around fan favorite. This was not surprising. As runner-up, Jenn got her personal hero, Elizabeth Bennet, which, in her words “makes me feel better about myself.” (Jenn has Pride and Prejudice-themed “writing gloves,” which seems important to mention.)

Take the quiz here to find out just how much you have in common with your own personal (fictional) hero.

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