Forget dressing Brad Pitt, Gillian is aiming higher

Sean Gallagher (owner of the Art Deco cafe at Stanley ParkGillian wood (director) Marianne Elgaard Bendtsen (lead actress), ed Christiano (sound).
Sean Gallagher (owner of the Art Deco cafe at Stanley ParkGillian wood (director) Marianne Elgaard Bendtsen (lead actress), ed Christiano (sound).
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Considering Gillian Wood has done a film with Brad Pitt, one of the biggest stars on the planet and the dishiest man in Hollywood (so my female friends tell me), she is remarkably cool about it.

“You notice him for the first day maybe but after that... I’m so busy doing my job I don’t have time for anything else,” she says.

That job is as a textile artist at Pinewood Studios, meaning Gillian is responsible for making sure the costumes used in films look authentic.

“If it’s a war film, like the Brad Pitt one was, I have to make the uniforms look like they’ve been worn by someone in battle for two years, all the dirt and the blood,” she said.

“So you wash them an awful lot, make the colour fade, sand them with sandpaper, paint them with textile paint... it is intricate and a lot of work.”

It is something Gillian has done since she graduated from the National Film and Television School in London, though her passion began on an art course at Blackpool and The Fylde College.

She went to Stanah and Millfield schools before that, and grew up in The Darren Guest House on Charnley Road – which her parents ran.

But, not satisfied with helping perfect the costumes used in films, ambitious Gillian has loftier ambitions – she wants to become a renowned film-maker and is well on the way to achieving her aim.

So far she’s made two short movies, and has enjoyed success with both.

Her first, a 10-minute animated film called Haircut, was bought by Canal Plus and shown on French TV. Her most recent, Lizzie, was shown at the Cannes Film Festival.

Now she’s on to her third, and has decided to shoot it in her hometown.

In fact, any visitors to the Art Deco Cafe in the middle of Stanley Park in the last week will no doubt have noticed her.

She is the one with the camera, filming scenes with the star and co-writer of her film, Danish actress Marianne Elgaard Bendtsen.

“We met on the set of Fury, the Brad Pitt film (to be released later this year), and hit it off,” said Gillian, who is back in Blackpool now after 12 years working for Pinewood in Berlin.

“We seem to complement each other, so have written these three short films together, and the next aim is to do a feature-length film.

“Because I’ve had some success with my first two films, my profile has gone up a bit, and if I keep going I think there may be a chance of getting somewhere.”

The film Gillian is shooting in Blackpool is called Tea For Three, and will last around 15 minutes.

“It’s about comparing 1930s society to today and seeing what’s changed and what has regressed,” she explained.

“The shooting will take a week, but there’s also an animated cat in it, so I do that in a studio against a screen and then we’ll add it to the film.

“There will be quite a bit of work involved in that so the whole thing won’t be finished for a while yet.”

We’ll let you know when it is. In the meantim, keep an eye out for Blackpool girl Gillian – she seems destined to go far.