Margot Robbie stars in Terminal as a con with one hell of a costume closet. Vaughn Stein’s blood-soaked thriller has a whole seedy underworld populated with criminals and assassins, but at its center is Robbie’s enigmatic and glamorous Annie. “I loved that there were all these male characters running around thinking they’re the boss of everything and they’re in charge, when really she’s pulling the strings,” Robbie says with a laugh.
To achieve her nefarious aims, Annie can melt into whatever role best suits her purpose — the femme fatale, the kooky waitress, the tough-talking stripper — and first-time writer-director Stein describes her as a “chameleonic, vengeful wraith” who can transform both her style and her personality. “She can find the sweet spot in any of the men that she deals with,” Stein says. “She can assess what they need and adapt in order to become the best possible predator.”
Here, Robbie, Stein, and costume designer Julian Day break down a few of Annie’s killer looks.
The femme fatale
Set in an anonymous neon-lit city, Terminal’s style is part vintage glam, part futuristic dystopia. That allowed Day to experiment with anachronistic colors and silhouettes. “It’s this sort of timeless [story] that wasn’t set in any particular era,” the costume designer explains. “And I wanted to just sort of cherry-pick all the best clothes from the last century.”
First up is this dramatic fire-engine-red jacket, which Day designed based on a vintage ’50s coat. “We tested two dozen reds just to get the exact color,” he adds.
The serpentine seductress
Early in the film, Annie goes to confession with blood-red lips, a faux-fur collar, and stockings emblazoned with snakes. “I remember the first time Margot tried on that costume,” Stein says. “She walked with a real sort of serpentine purpose, and her walk had a real noir feel to it.” A blunt wig helps to amp up the vibe, evoking Barbara Stanwyck in Double Indemnity or Sean Young in Blade Runner.
The burlesque boss
Robbie’s favorite look is this lavish lingerie-plus-fur-coat ensemble, which Annie wears while working in an underground dance club. “I loved it,” the actress says. “I’m counting cash in a big fur coat with a cigarette hanging out of my mouth, and just telling these gangster guys to shut up.”
Stein sprinkled Alice in Wonderland references throughout the film, and the name of the club — Le Lapine Blanche — is echoed in Annie’s fluffy white coat. For that extra toxic twist, Robbie suggested black lipstick with a sparkly green undertone.
The nurse from hell
Day modeled this Nurse Ratched-inspired costume on actual ’50s-era uniforms, and Robbie wore light foundation and accentuated the bags under her eyes for what Stein calls “a haunted, lunatic look.”
“All the way through, Margs had been wearing costumes that were designed to bring out the beauty,” Stein explains. “This was designed to inspire fear.”
Terminal will hit theaters May 11.