Any good publicist wants their client looking sharp and in style, and Ray Embrey is no different. He knows perception is half the battle when it comes to improving Hancock's image so he insists that John Hancock wear a special costume fit for a superhero of his caliber.
Peter Berg turned to costume designer Louise Mingenbach (who worked for him previously on The Rundown) to create Hancock's mismatched homeless look and his super suit, as well as Mary's more classic understated wardrobe that develops into a much sleeker look later in the story. Friends since they both arrived in Hollywood twenty years ago, it took Mingenbach and Berg years to coordinate busy schedules and be able to finally work together again. She also worked closely with Spisak in terms of following his strict color palette.
Mingenbach, who acted as the costume designer on the two X-Men films and on Superman Returns, knew she had to come up with something new for such an unusual hero as John Hancock.
"Pete was pretty adamant from the beginning about Hancock not wearing spandex," she says, "which eliminated a whole section of ideas. He also said, 'No cape and no underwear on the outside of the tights!'" she laughs, recalling their conversation. "So the supersuit evolved into something tough but practical, and specifically something that Ray could have made for him.
"Given Hancock's flying record and the trouble he caused, I thought he should probably be dressed head to toe in caution yellow," Mingenbach continues. "He's a menace really, but we compromised and used just a little of that yellow in the detail. We also carried through with Hancock's obsession with eagles and included this in several pieces. But at the beginning of the story, he's just a mismatched guy who doesn't care about fashion trends, or looking good for anyone, which underlines how uninterested he is in fitting into society."
Of course, Mingenbach made several versions of Hancock's supersuit for use in water, for both flying harnesses as well as jerk harnesses and for Smith's photo doubles, who were not his identical size.