The Great Wall Costume Designer Explains Her Process


Costume designer Mayes C. Rubeo is a seasoned vet when it comes to designing for Hollywood blockbusters. She’s responsible for the costumes in films like World War Z, Warcraft, and has recently added The Great Wall to her résumé.

Saks Fifth Avenue teamed up with Rubeo displaying her recent work in store windows in downtown Beverly Hills. Screen Rant caught up with Rubeo at this red carpet event to discuss what went into her designs and what her next project will be.

You worked on films like Thor: Ragnarok, Apocalypto, and Avatar. How did this movie compare to The Great Wall?

Mayes C. Rubeo: Doesn't compare to anything I've done. Just for the mere fact that it's China, and the culture, and Chinese dynasty is historic but also we were lucky enough to have a license in the visual so I was really really lucky for that.

You were in contact with the director a lot?

Mayes C. Rubeo: Oh yeah I did everything there, I spent 12 months in China making the costumes.

Wow! From start to finish, from the idea to creating, how long did it take to make everything?

Mayes C. Rubeo: It's not like an automatic thing. It's a process. You know first of all the director is a genius and you have to get into his mind and grab what he thinks, what his envision is, and then trying to accommodate his vision. After that you have to take care of many details like you know the costumes have to look right, the materials have to be excellent, the actors have to be happy, it has to be good for wire work, stunts, there's many things involved.


For Commander Lin Mae, the character, did you purposefully make the costume a little bit more masculine?

Mayes C. Rubeo: It's difficult to break rules of gender in medieval China but for us we wanted to break that rule and make a woman have one more gear than everybody else, their airborne. You know, their attack is airborne. The immediate use is different, you know to attack, so they become acrobatic. It's a very heavy regiment. Those are the frontliners. They practically attack airborne. And the blue is because when you shook him up from below and you see all those pillow-y fabrics you think it's the sky. When they separate you see another type of sky and that's the blue sky and that was the vision of the art director.


What are the helmets made out of?

Mayes C. Rubeo: We sculpted them and then we molded in a material that was wearable and not too heavy. Polyurethane is one material we used. You can paint it and make it beautiful but also wearable.

Wow congratulations, can you tell us what your next project is?

Mayes C. Rubeo: No because I don't have anything yet, I'm picking, I'm reading scripts!

Awesome, thank you!

NEXT: Our Interview With The Great Wall Director

Key Release Dates
  • The Great Wall (2017) release date: Feb 17, 2017
Give Screen Rant a Thumbs up!
Every Transformer Confirmed For The Bumblebee Movie (So Far)

More in SR Originals