James Acheson

Costume designer, Production designer

James Acheson made a long career of designing costumes for those whose job it is to save the world: Doctor Who, Spider-Man, and Superman. By the transitive property, he's responsible for the continued survival of ... Read more »

Born: 03/13/1946 in Leicester, England, GB

Filmography

Wardrobe, Hair & Makeup (27)

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice 2016 (Movie)

(Costume Designer)

Absolutely Anything 2015 (Movie)

(Costume Designer)

Man of Steel 2013 (Movie)

(Costume Designer)

The Warrior's Way 2010 (Movie)

(Costume Designer)

The Incredible Hulk 2008 (Movie)

(Costume Designer)

Spider-Man 3 2007 (Movie)

(Costume Designer)

Spider-Man 2 2004 (Movie)

(Costume Designer)

Daredevil 2003 (Movie)

(Costume Designer)

Spider-Man 2002 (Movie)

(Costume Designer)

Le Nozze di Figaro 1999 - 2000 (TV Show)

Costume Designer

The Little Vampire 2000 (Movie)

(Costume Designer)

The Man in the Iron Mask 1998 (Movie)

(Costume Designer)

The Wind in the Willows 1997 (Movie)

(Costume Designer)

Restoration 1995 (Movie)

(Costume Designer)

Little Buddha 1994 (Movie)

(Costume Designer)

Mary Shelley's Frankenstein 1994 (Movie)

(Costume Designer)

Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights 1992 (Movie)

(Costume Designer)

The Sheltering Sky 1990 (Movie)

(Costume Designer)

Biggles 1988 (Movie)

(Costumes)

Dangerous Liaisons 1988 (Movie)

(Costume Designer)

Last Emperor 1987 (Movie)

(Costume Designer)

Highlander 1986 (Movie)

costume design (Costume Designer)

Water 1986 (Movie)

(Costume Designer)

Brazil 1985 (Movie)

(Costume Designer)

Bullshot 1983 (Movie)

(Costume Designer)

Monty Python's The Meaning of Life 1982 (Movie)

(Costume Designer)

Time Bandits 1981 (Movie)

(Costumes)
Art Department (4)

Absolutely Anything 2015 (Movie)

(Production Designer)

The Wind in the Willows 1997 (Movie)

(Production Designer)

Little Buddha 1994 (Movie)

(Production Designer)

Sir Henry at Rawlinson End 1979 (Movie)

art direction (Art Director)

Biography

James Acheson made a long career of designing costumes for those whose job it is to save the world: Doctor Who, Spider-Man, and Superman. By the transitive property, he's responsible for the continued survival of humanity. Acheson worked as a costume designer for decades, his imaginative costumes becoming a staple in period films and superhero movies. The designer was born on March 13, 1946 in Leicester, England. Soon after graduating from the Wimbledon School of Art, Acheson began designing costumes for small British television shows before landing a regular gig as the designer for the iconic "Doctor Who" (BBC 1963-1989) in the '70s. Acheson was responsible for Tom Baker's iconic striped scarf; Whovian legend (and Acheson's testimony) has it that Acheson bought the yarn and asked a friend to knit it exactly as he envisioned. Dressing the time-traveling doctor was his big break into period costume design. After "Doctor Who," Acheson graduated to the big screen. His sumptuous work on "The Last Emperor" (1987), starring Peter O'Toole, earned him his first Academy Award. Acheson said that the win was the proudest moment of his career. He later won Oscars for his decadently French "Dangerous Liaisons" (1988) costumes and for the star-studded British period drama "Restoration" (1995). On a more modern note, Acheson was responsible for the Spidey suit in the millennial reboot of "Spider-Man" (2002). According to Acheson, Tobey Maguire's claustrophobia made it difficult for him to wear the entire suit, so he was often shot wearing only part of it. Acheson has said that he often likes to work closely with actors while he's designing to ensure that his costumes will be a good fit (in multiple senses of the word). He also updated Superman's garb for the "Man of Steel" (2013) reboot, trading tights and undies for a streamlined and muscular silhouette and muted, moodier colors.

Relationships

Christine Mary Acheson

Mother

Grace Christina Acheson

Daughter

Alexander Acheson

Father

Julia Mansford

Wife
married in 1992

EDUCATION

Wimbledon School of Art

1968

Milestones

Worked as costume designer on "Dr. Who"; responsible for creating the character's 20-yard scarf

Began his career at BBC television in the early 1970s

First feature film as costume designer "Time Bandits"

Designed costumes for "Spider-Man"

Designed 10,000 costumes for the film "The Last Emperor"

Designed costumes for "Man of Steel"

Designed TV commercials; met director Nicholas Roeg who hired him for "Flash Gordon"; left project when producers fired Roeg

Bonus Trivia

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Acheson has a twin brother named Patrick.

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Acheson now lives in New Zealand.

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