When Katy Perry: Part of Me landed in theaters this past summer, one of the biggest surprises was how much her longtime friend and costumer designer Johnny Wujek was featured in the film. “It was crazy,” Wujek told Movie Fanatic exclusively.
“It was funny because Katy after she saw the first cut, she was like, ‘You know you’re in the movie like a lot.’ I was like, ‘Really?’ And she was like, ‘Yeah, you’re like full-on in it.’ I was like, ‘Oh my God.’ So I had no clue and then I get to the premiere and they’re interviewing me and saying, ‘What’s it like to be in the movie?’ I felt like, ‘What is going on here?’ It was so crazy going into it without knowing how big of a part I had. It was surreal. It was so cool to just be part of the movie and be in it and have my family back home see it. It was really cool.”
Since Perry first burst onto the pop music scene with her smash hit I Kissed a Girl, part of the key to that success -- beyond her vocal talents -- was her elaborate look. Wujek has been there since the beginning and when thinking about designing for her for the California Gurls world tour, he didn’t necessarily think what would look good on the big screen, but merely, what worked for Perry for each song as part of the wheel that is the entire production.
“We didn’t necessarily know it was going to be a movie right away. It was kind of meant to be this documentary. I didn’t design the tour knowing that it was going to be a movie or on a big screen. We talked about the overall vibe of it being this candyland, dream world, and it was just meant to be exaggerated, fun and colorful. My favorite part of the movie was all the performance stuff because of how colorful and big it looked,” Wujek said.
With Perry, ever seeking to push the envelope, what began as a few costumes for each show became so much more. “In the end it was meant to be maybe six costumes and that turned into 13 costumes. Then it was, ‘Okay, now we’re going to do the international tour.’ And then there was the US tour. Now Katy’s like, ‘Let’s do all new costumes for the US.’ Then there was a whole nother run of costumes. Meet and greet costumes, after party costumes.”
Besides the stellar musical numbers, the most compelling part of the Part of Me film is Perry’s relationships. Whether it be her parents, her darling grandmother and even her failed marriage to Russell Brand. Above it all, she has a friendship with Wujek that has been there since the beginning… something that comes through onscreen brilliantly.
“I initially met her just as friends. It’s so crazy that we get to work together and do what we do. It’s cool that that came off and you can see that in the movie,” Wujek said.
Their partnership began innocently enough. Perry simply asked Wujek to style her for her first album photo shoot with legendary photographer Terry Richardson. “I was like, ‘Duh, of course I would love to, but is this guy going to let me? I’m nobody.’ She said, ‘Well, I’m not doing it without you.’ It was then I knew this girl’s legit. I knew then that we will always have each other’s backs.”
As a longtime confidant of Perry’s, Wujek is thrilled that audiences get to see certain aspects of the Katy Perry world that few may know.
“People were surprised to know it was such a struggle, that she was dropped from numerous labels and has been at this for a while. It wasn’t an overnight success. Sure with I Kissed a Girl it really blew up, but it took forever for her to get there,” Wujek said.
“That’s what I love about her. She was just such a bad-ass and she doesn’t give up and she never did. She never doubted that she would be where she is now. She’s always had a plan and her plan always was to bring along her crew. If she’s going to Tokyo, she’s bringing her friends. If she’s going to Brazil, she’s bringing her friends.”
Wujek also appreciated the fact that Perry felt confident to share her darkest days with audiences, as seen in the film when she and Brand divorce.
“I think it’s so cool people got to see her cry and be a human who has emotions and has hardships,” he said. “There are so many different elements of the movie that I feel like it covered her life so well.”
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