The Miracle Prop Dominic West Used To Survive His Uncomfortable Fat Suits While Filming Colette

Kiera Knightley and Dominic West in Colette
(Image credit: (Bleecker Street))

With the amount of period pieces Keira Knightley has starred in throughout her career, it's no surprise that the actress took on the role of Colette's eponymous turn of the 20th century illustrious French writer. In one of her early films, Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl, Knightley's Elizabeth Swan had her corset on too tight to breathe. Since then, actress has since seen her fair share of uncomfortable old-fashioned wear. However, in Colette, her co-star Dominic West had a much more challenging wardrobe to pull off. In my interview with him, after comparing his character to Kanye West, he explained what's arguably worse than slipping on a corset. Here's what he told CinemaBlend:

I had three different fat suits -- midi, mini, and maxi -- and a horrible, huge, fake mustache and beard and it was hot as hell in Budapest where we were filming. So I had a lot of challenges wearing a sort of huge, duvet fat suit and then heavy 19th century clothing on top with starched collars and everything. It was incredibly uncomfortable, in fact, and the only way I got through it was I met John C. Reilly earlier in the year and he had just finished playing in the Laurel and Hardy film. He said, 'You've got to get the vest, where you can pump cold water around your body. It's the only way you'll survive.' So after every take, I plugged myself into this sort of colostomy bag thing and flicked the button and a thing would go on and I was pumped with cold water to cool me down. That was a blissful feeling, but everything else was a nightmare.

Yikes! It just goes to show that making a film isn't as glamorous as one might think. Although looking back, Dominic West seems to be able to step back and laugh about the odd methods he went through to play husband to Colette opposite Keira Knightley. In the film, West portrays French brand-maker Willy, who was once a prominent celebrity who capitalized on his wife's writing talents for his own wealth and fame. Colette follows the young woman's struggle to stand up to her husband and obtain creative ownership of her works.

The role had Dominic West making quite the transformation as a less-than-charming Frenchman, packing a lot more weight than he has. Luckily, he was able to cross paths with John C. Reilly who dealt with the similar uncomfortableness of wearing a fat suit as Oliver Hardy in upcoming Laurel and Hardy biopic Stan & Ollie. On the other hand, Dominic West commented that his onscreen wife in Colette, Keira Knightley, didn't wear a single uncomfortable corset. As he put it, "she fell off corseting" after wearing so many in the past. Although the film has the two intimate, West struggled getting anywhere near the actress because of the big ol' fat suit he had on.

Keira Knightley and Dominic West star as French celebrities Colette and Willy in the highly relevant period piece about a woman's confrontation with challenging gender conformity, Colette, hitting theaters on September 21.

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

YA genre tribute. Horror May Queen. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.