The Mission • A Conversation with Costume Designer Deborah L. Scott
“If might is right, then love has no place in the world.”
Talking About The Mission with our guest, Academy Award-winning costume designer Deborah L. Scott
Andy and legendary costume designer Deborah L. Scott dive deep into Roland Joffé’s 1986 masterpiece The Mission, an intense and emotional story of faith, colonialism, and redemption. Set in 18th century South America, this Best Picture Oscar nominee boasts an incredible cast and a stunning visual style.
Jeremy Irons Shines as a Man of Faith
Jeremy Irons delivers an incredible performance as Father Gabriel, a Jesuit priest trying to build a mission in the jungle and protect the indigenous Guarani people. His portrayal of a gentle, principled man determined to follow his faith no matter what is incredibly moving. Deborah and Andy analyze how he embodies the character so flawlessly.
Robert De Niro’s Searing Portrayal of Guilt and Redemption
Robert De Niro is unforgettable as Rodrigo Mendoza, a mercenary and slaver who murdered his own brother and seeks forgiveness and redemption by becoming a Jesuit priest. His journey to find absolution, including an intense sequence dragging his armor and weapons up the side of the massive Iguaçu Falls, provides some of the film’s most riveting moments.
A Powerful Exploration of Politics, Religion, and Colonialism
The complex story deftly explores the intersection of religion, politics, and colonialism during this volatile historical period. Spain and Portugal vie for territory while the Jesuits try to shelter the indigenous tribes. Deborah and Andy discuss how the layered themes resonate so strongly.
Oscar-Winning Cinematography, Music and Costumes Bring It All to Life
From the lush South American jungles to the thundering Iguaçu Falls, the movie is a visual feast, thanks in large part to Chris Menges’ Oscar-winning cinematography. Ennio Morricone’s haunting, Golden Globe-winning score adds an emotional weight that permeates each scene. Though Deborah did not work on this film, she provides an insider’s appreciation for Enrico Sabbatini’s period costumes which also help transport viewers to 18th century South America.
Deborah’s Legendary Career in Costume Design
Deborah also discusses highlights from her amazing career in costume design, including unforgettable films like Titanic, Back to the Future, Avatar, Heat, and yes, even Armed and Dangerous. She shares fascinating stories about how iconic costumes were created and working with visionary directors like James Cameron, Robert Zemeckis, and Michael Mann.
The Mission is a powerful and unforgettable film that stays with you long after the credits roll. Deborah and Andy’s insightful conversation highlights why the movie remains so impactful decades later. With its resonant themes, tour de force acting, and breathtaking visuals, The Mission is a masterclass in filmmaking. Plus, hearing Deborah’s stories provides a fascinating look behind-the-scenes at her legendary costume design career. Whether you’re a fan of the film or have yet to see it, this is an episode that shines new light on an iconic cinematic achievement.
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Welcome to Movies We Like
In each episode, co-hosts Andy Nelson and Pete Wright invite someone from inside the film industry to discuss their favorite films. What makes a movie inspirational to a cinematographer or a costume designer? Listen in to hear how these pros watch their favorite films.