40 Questionable Movie Costumes That Stole The Show For All The Wrong Reasons
Some movie costumes are incredible and instantly iconic. Some are impractical and inappropriate. And some manage to be both things at the exact same time. This can be a real problem for the poor actors who actually have to wear these things. Have you ever tried running from dinosaurs in high heels or fighting bad guys in Spandex? Well, these guys have, and they're on the record about how bad it is. These questionable outfits are some of the worst offenders in Hollywood history – so far, anyway.
1. Suicide Squad (2016)
When she made her screen debut as a character in Batman: The Animated Series, Harley Quinn was seen in a jester suit. The character continued to wear that costume in comic books and further TV adventures, making it somewhat iconic among fans. But such an ensemble was nowhere to be seen in the 2016 movie Suicide Squad. Instead, actress Margot Robbie was dressed up in a weird and wacky outfit — all tight clothes and hot pants. It was a choice that divided fans' opinions — as well as Robbie's.
Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn hot pants
In 2016 Robbie took part in an interview with The New York Times, and during the conversation, the controversial nature of her costume cropped up. Robbie said, “As Margot, no, I don’t like wearing that. I’m eating burgers at lunchtime, and then you go do a scene where you’re hosed down and soaking wet in a white T-shirt. It’s so clingy, and you’re self-conscious about it.” Notably, for her outing as Harley in the 2020 movie Birds of Prey, that costume had changed completely.
2. Baywatch (2017)
The one thing everyone remembers about the Baywatch TV show is how scandalously sexy everyone looked in those red swimsuits... especially when running in slow motion! So this was amped up even more for the movie version. “The essential spirit of Baywatch is that sexy vibe,” star Zac Efron told the NZ Herald website in 2017. “In this movie, we definitely take it to an extreme.” So that meant a lot of attention was paid to the new swimsuits — even if not all of the cast were fans of them.
The movie gained an R rating for its risqué content, and this left some fans of the original show unhappy. It was, after all, a pretty family-friendly show back in the day. Yet Baywatch star Kelly Rohrbach only had one complaint about her famous swimsuit. “It really rides up,” she told GQ in 2017. “[The film crew] would use glue and tape it to my bum so it wouldn’t make a wedgie wrinkle.”
3. Grease (1978)
Olivia Newton-John’s pants in Grease are problematic for a couple of reasons. First, some consider that Grease is anti-feminist in its outlook. By the end of the movie, the argument goes, Newton-John’s Sandy has changed for John Travolta’s Danny by transforming from her normal self into a smoking leather-clad biker girl. Yet he hasn’t made the same effort for her. That being said, the black pants make for a really, really cool look. But there’s also the fact that these pants are barely suitable for wear.
Olivia Newton-John’s leather pants
Newton-John revealed in her 2019 memoir, Don’t Stop Believin,’ that she didn't have much fun in the costume. "[Grease costume designer] Albert Wolsky didn’t disappoint," she wrote. "He found these body-hugging, high-waist, skin-tight, black sharkskin pants (even better than leather!) that were actually from the 1950s. They were so old, and there was just one pair, so there was no room for error. One rip and disaster. When I tried on those pants for the first time, the zipper was broken, and Albert didn’t want to rip them trying to put in a new one or remove the old one. Instead, I’d be sewn into them each morning!"
4. Closer (2004)
When Natalie Portman played a stripper named Alice in the movie Closer, many people were shocked. Yet the doll-like outfit and the pink wig she wore for one quickly became iconic. Both Victoria’s Secret Angel Elsa Hosk and Twilight actress Kristen Stewart have even used it as inspiration for Halloween costumes. Much of the press around the movie also focused on this element of Portman's performance — but Portman was bullish about the whole thing. "I'm not scared. I'm brave," she told the Houston Chronicle.
Natalie Portman’s stripper outfit
"I'm not doing things to prove anything that I'm like or unlike what other people think of me," the actor continued. "That makes me comfortable with whatever people walk away with. I can still carry on my own life without being hurt." It also helped that she was working for a director — Mike Nichols — who guided her gracefully through her performance. "What he did for me…" she said in Mike Nichols: A Life. "Lord, may I have that ability to offer that kind of mentorship and guidance to one other person."
5. The Last Samurai (2003)
Tom Cruise went above and beyond in his preparation to play an American man accepted into the samurai fold for The Last Samurai. “I put on 25 pounds for the picture. I was 25 pounds of muscle heavier than I am right now,” he told IGN in 2003. “I worked with a great stunt coordinator – Nick Powell, who built me up very slowly. He did all kinds of Chinese sword work, to build up my forearms and my shoulders in order to make that movement, the rotation. A lot of stretching and just training, doing the sequences, building it up and learning moves and working, working, working, working on it...” Yet the armor was still cumbersome.
Tom Cruise’s samurai armor
"I couldn't touch my toes when I started out," Cruise said. "I bent down and I couldn't get my hands past my knees. With all the training and stunts that I'd done before, and I've done quite a bit of stunts. I knew that the way that I would have to move, just carrying the armor. You have to think – 50 pounds of armor doesn't seem so much, but when you start lowering your center of gravity and bending your knees, it's a tremendous amount of pressure on the knees, the groin, the hamstrings."
6. The Deep (1977)
Everyone remembers diving flick The Deep for just one thing: Jacqueline Bisset’s clingy white t-shirt. After all, it showed a little too much as she came out of the water. Director Peter Yates reportedly even bragged that that single t-shirt made him rich. But it also made Bisset into a major movie sex symbol. Bisset herself wasn’t happy to be just a pin-up, though. In a 1982 interview with Roger Ebert, she said, “I’d like to get my public image nearer to my reality,” and she lamented that people had “a lot of misconceptions.”
Jacqueline Bisset’s white t-shirt
Many years later, in 2018, the star told the New York Post, “Somebody said to me, ‘This is what they wear [to scuba dive in].’ I had no sense of what I looked like at all.” But on seeing the outfit, she’d thought she was “going to die!”
And she did actually get up close and personal with some sealife during the making of the movie. “I was feeding this little blowfish shrimp or something and it got its teeth into my glove,” she told the New York Post. “I was shaking it, trying to get it off, and then a barracuda came zooming through, took the fish, and went!”
7. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)
Costume designer William Travilla once said that an outfit he had Marilyn Monroe wear in the film Monkey Business was “the only costume of mine that Marilyn ever hated.” Apparently, it was because it didn't show off her body properly. So when it came to designing Monroe’s outfit for Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, the designer was tasked with a new challenge. “The idea then was that the studio make her the sexiest, most exciting, almost-naked lady on the screen,” Travilla said. But then the news got out that Marilyn had once posed naked for photographs.
Marilyn Monroe’s pink dress
So the whole of 20th Century Fox apparently went into a panic. There was absolutely no way Monroe could wear a revealing dress — not with the scandal making headlines! So Travilla had to quickly create something else, and he came up with the pink strapless gown. But despite it being more modest than his original design, it’s still considered one of Monroe’s sexiest outfits. "Any other girl would have looked like she was wearing cardboard, but on the screen I swear you would have thought Marilyn had on a pale, thin piece of silk," Travilla said later. "Her body was so fabulous, it still came through!"
8. Fantastic Four (2005)
Michael Chiklis did not enjoy his costume for the comic-book movie Fantastic Four. He suffered incredibly to transform into the ever-lovin’ blue-eyed Thing. The costume affected him so badly that he had to see a therapist! "For the first time in my adult life, I faced a challenge that made me think, 'Oh my God, I can't do this,'" Chiklis told The New York Times in 2005. "I was saying, 'I'm too scared. I'm too freaked out.'" It didn't help that it took up to five and a half hours to apply all the prosthetics.
Michael Chiklis’ Thing costume
Chiklis told The New York Times, “Once they glued the suit on me, I couldn’t get it off without help, no matter how hard I struggled… I couldn’t eat real food, and I lived on protein drinks during the entire shoot. Going to the bathroom was horrendous. It was a physical and psychological nightmare.” He spoke to Dr. Nancy Subel, a Los Angeles clinical psychologist, who reminded him to stay grounded and "in the moment." Chiklis also watched baseball to get through the long makeup sessions!
9. Cinderella (2015)
When Lily James’ Cinderella look was revealed, people focused on just one thing: the actress’ tiny waist. If it was real, social media users said, it couldn’t be healthy. So when Cinderella was about to come out, James spoke out about the costume to E! News. And she unfortunately might have made the situation even worse for the movie’s PR department. You see, James said she had gone on a liquid diet while she was wearing the much-talked-about dress.
Lily James’ dress and corset
"When [the corset] was on we would be on continuous days so we wouldn't stop for lunch... you'd be sort of eating on the move," she told E! "In that case, I couldn't untie the corset. So if you ate food, it didn't really digest properly and I'd be burping all afternoon in [Richard Madden]'s face, and it was just really sort of unpleasant. I'd have soup so that I could still eat but it wouldn't get stuck." She added, “I think it’s so important to be healthy and confident and natural.”
10. The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
Tim Curry’s Frank-N-Furter costume is one of the most iconic in history. This is despite The Rocky Horror Picture Show managing to be both controversial and a box-office flop. The movie didn’t gain its cult following till much later, in fact. But now barely a Halloween costume party happens without a Frank-N-Furter in attendance. Designer Sue Blane is to thank for the costumes.
Tim Curry’s Frank-N-Furter outfit
In 2011 she told Blu-Ray.com, “Luckily Tim had worked in a corset before so he took to it like a duck takes to water.” She was also impressed, she said, with the Frank-N-Furter costumes she had seen at live viewings of the movie. Not bad for a film that was actually banned in some places! Yet Curry did grow tired of one aspect of the outfit. “For the film, they got in a makeup artist, Pierre La Roche, who did Bowie’s makeup, but he took so long – about four hours – that Tim just did his own face,” composer Richard Hartley told The Guardian in 2013.
11. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017)
When the first pictures of the Jumanji sequel emerged in 2016, some weren’t impressed. While all of the male stars — Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, and Jack Black — were seen wearing sensible clothes in the photos, Karen Gillan was sporting an outfit that looked, at best, much too small for her. Gillan noted what was going on, though, and promised that there would be a payoff.
Karen Gillan’s skimpy costume
It turned out that the characters seen in the pictures were the video game personas that the main characters of the movie take on. In 2017 Gillan told the Evening Standard, “It looks absurd that the woman is dressed like that and then the men are covered — but that is exactly the trope that we were highlighting in 1990s video games. She’s meant to be like Lara Croft. That’s the reference – this ridiculous male fantasy.”
12. Daredevil (2003)
Ben Affleck’s red leather suit in Daredevil wasn’t outrageous for revealing too much. It, according to another Daredevil actor, Charlie Cox, "sucks." For some, Affleck’s costume looked far too tight for anyone to actually fight in, and, well, it had an air of S&M about it. It was perhaps proof that trying to stick too close to a comic book design doesn’t always work — and even Affleck didn’t like it. He once told reporters, “By playing a superhero in Daredevil, I have inoculated myself from ever playing another superhero. Wearing a costume was a source of humiliation for me.”
Ben Affleck’s Daredevil costume
Yet, as we know, he ended up playing Batman in several movies between 2016 and 2023. But his poor Daredevil experience actually became his to take on the Caped Crusader. In 2013 he told Playboy, "The only movie I actually regret is Daredevil. It just kills me. I love that story, that character, and the fact that it got [messed] up the way it did stays with me. Maybe that's part of the motivation to do Batman."
13. Basic Instinct (1992)
Sharon Stone’s dress in Basic Instinct, while attractive and form-fitting, is more infamous for what was — or wasn’t — underneath it. Yes, in one of the most notorious (and freeze-framed) scenes in recent movie history, Stone uncrosses her legs and gives the audience a look at what’s under the dress. Which is to say, nothing. There’s been controversy about that scene for a long time, though, and Stone hasn't been backward in coming forward with her side of the story.
Sharon Stone’s white dress
According to Stone, she didn’t know until she saw the movie with an audience that she had been exposed. "It would've been a much fairer and more reasonable thing for them to have shown it to me alone first, but it was a part of the movie, and I'm sure they didn't want some new actress overreacting and telling them what to do," she wrote in an essay for InStyle in 2022. "So I talked to my lawyer, weighed my options, and then made the decision to allow the scene to stay."
14. Pitch Perfect 3 (2017)
When one behind-the-scenes photo emerged from the filming of Pitch Perfect 3, some fans were rather annoyed. In a pic of three actresses, two stars were wearing cute striped halter-neck tops for a memorable scene. But plus-sized Rebel Wilson was wearing a sleeved version of the same outfit. People stated their displeasure at this “sizeist” image and sent supportive messages to Wilson. But costume designer Salvador Perez ended up tweeting a response to the minor controversy.
Rebel Wilson’s outfit
He said in March 2017, “I let each actor decide how their costume fit, it was their choice. Rebel, Ester, and Hana Mae wanted sleeves.” He added, “To me, it is about dressing women however they look and feel great, whatever size they are. It's about choice, confidence, and style!” He also told The Hollywood Reporter, “I’ve been working with these girls for seven years, so I know their likes and dislikes. I was able to play into that in dressing them.”
15. Superman Returns (2006)
Fans didn’t love Brandon Routh’s Superman outfit when pictures of it were first released. The “S” wasn’t right, some of them said, and the neckline was too high. But there was another aspect of the suit everyone latched on to: the crotch. There’s since been a longstanding rumor that the size of Routh’s, ahem, anatomy had to be made smaller via CGI. And before the film came out costume designer Louise Mingenbach told Newsweek magazine that there had indeed been problems with the crotch of the suit.
Brandon Routh’s Superman costume
“There was more discussion about Superman’s ‘package’ than anything else on the suit. Was it too big? Was it not big enough? Was it too pointy? Too round? It was somebody’s job for about a month just working on codpiece shapes. It was crazy,” Mingenbach said. But no, director Bryan Singer confirmed that Routh’s crotch was not so big it needed CGI reduction. Maybe the actor started that rumor himself?
16. The Ten Commandments (1956)
Epic The Ten Commandments gained critical acclaim back in its day, and the costumes were part of the reason why. They were beautiful – especially the blue gown Anne Baxter wore as Queen Nefretiri. But unfortunately, it’s far from historically accurate. The shade of blue on the dress simply wasn’t one that could have been created in 1350 B.C. But there was also the question of what Baxter was wearing underneath the dress.
Anne Baxter’s Nefretiri outfit
Despite the censorship of the time, the outline of the actress’ breasts can be seen in several scenes. Was this done on purpose or was it an accident? Either way, it ensured the costume is still talked about today. Yet it is one of just many meticulous details in the movie. The supervising costume designer for the Egypt shoot, Dorothy Jeakins, asked for “enough fabric yardage [to be] purchased, dyed and aged in Cairo to provide 2,150 loincloths for the men, and 800 simple, workable, functional garments for the women and 100 children (50 boys, 50 girls).”
17. Barbarella (1968)
Barbarella is a bizarre tour-de-force of sexy space fashion; there’s barely another way to describe the movie. Jane Fonda’s Barbarella has eight costume changes in the movie altogether, and the outfits usually contain more plastic than fabric. She also falls out of the get-ups rather frequently. The costumes are all amazing — and it'll probably come as no surprise that Paco Rabanne was the man responsible for the space-age costumes. Fonda had a particular way of dealing with life on the set, though.
Jane Fonda’s Barbarella outfits
“I’ve never done anything like that film, before or since,” Fonda told W in 2015. “Barbarella was terrifying. And fun. And wild. In the opening scene, I am completely naked. I was so nervous that I got drunk. I was pretty much drunk the whole time.” But Fonda was not especially afraid of the outfits. “I suppose I’ve always known what I like on my body,” Fonda told W.
18. Beauty and the Beast (2017)
Belle’s gold-yellow ballroom gown from the original Beauty and the Beast is one of the most famous and beloved Disney princess dresses ever. So fans were disappointed when the live-action version of the dress for Emma Watson turned out to look a bit different. It was too plain, people said, or too small. Yet a lot of work did actually go into the ballgown.
Emma Watson’s Belle ball gown
Glamour reported that an incredible 12,000 hours went into creating the dress, and Watson had her say in its look, too. For her part, the actress said the gown was “perfect.” She explained, “It was definitely an interesting challenge. The dress itself is so iconic because it is part of that romantic scene in the story. The dress went through a lot of different iterations, but, in the end, we decided the most important thing was that the dress dance beautifully. We wanted it to feel like it could float, like it could fly.”
19. Spider-Man (2002)
Fans were thrilled when a live-action Spider-Man movie was greenlit. Remember, this was back in the days when superhero movies weren't quite so ubiquitous. But they were less thrilled when the first pictures of Spider-Man’s enemy the Green Goblin were released. The talented Willem Dafoe had been stuck in a green plastic suit that people decried as looking like something from Power Rangers. Yet Dafoe himself apparently not only liked the costume, but he also insisted on being inside it during all the fight scenes.
Willem Dafoe’s Green Goblin outfit
Still, when Dafoe reprised his role in the 2021 film Spider-Man: No Way Home, the costume had been updated. “I must be honest, I am aware that there was some criticism of that mask in the original one,” Dafoe explained to The New York Times. “We heard it enough that it was probably a consideration, to change it up a little bit. I don’t think about that because I don’t think about emoting with my face. My face follows my heart. It’s just an expression of what you’re feeling.”
20. The Seven Year Itch (1954)
There are few movie images more iconic than Marilyn Monroe’s white dress being lifted by the air from a subway grate. But the backstory behind the moment in The Seven Year Itch isn’t really a happy one. While that scene was being filmed, you see, Monroe had to contend with fans crowding around hoping to get a glimpse of her underwear.
Marilyn Monroe’s white dress
But even worse was the reaction of Monroe’s husband, Joe DiMaggio, to the dress-lifting scene. He was on the set while it was being filmed, and he was infuriated. Some allege that once Monroe was done filming at the grate, he physically attacked her in their hotel room. One thing’s for sure: they divorced less than a month later.
21. One Million Years B.C. (1966)
Raquel Welch’s fluffy bikini in the movie One Million Years B.C. made her an instant sex symbol. And this was despite the fact that she didn’t exactly have much to do on-screen besides, well, be pretty. In its contemporary review of the movie, Variety noted, “Miss Welch gets little opportunity to prove herself an actress, but she is certainly there in the looks department.” Welch never really wanted to wear the bikini, however, or even do the movie in the first place.
Raquel Welch’s fur bikini
In fact, she assumed that hardly anyone would even see the film. Still, it appears that the star isn’t ruling out a return to the two-piece. In 2020 she told the Sunday Post, “I’m not sure if I will ever wear [the bikini] again, but you never know. Perhaps one day the script will drop through the door for Two Million Years B.C. If it does, I hope it has more dialogue than the first one. I had three lines in that, the rest was silent. I rehearsed those three lines over and over, really worried I’d get them wrong. As it turned out I don’t think anyone would have really noticed if I hadn’t got them right!"
22. Tarzan series
From 1932 to 1942, the beautiful Maureen O’Sullivan — mother of Mia Farrow — played Jane opposite Johnny Weissmuller’s Tarzan. Her on-screen outfit was pretty racy for the time, too. In fact, it seems that audiences didn’t approve of an actress being so scantily clad — even if she was supposed to be in the jungle. Upon O’Sullivan’s death in 1998, the Chicago Tribune newspaper printed a quote from the star regarding her famous Jane outfit. It seemed she certainly wasn't worried about the reaction.
Maureen O’Sullivan’s Jane outfit
“It started such a furor,” she said. “Letters started coming in. It added up to thousands of women objecting to my costume. In those days, they took those things seriously.” The Production Code in place in those days to govern — or censor — material deemed inappropriate for general movie audiences certainly took it seriously. In later films in the Tarzan series, for instance, Jane is covered from neck to thigh by her more demure outfit.
23. X-Men: First Class (2011)
The folks behind X-Men: First Class followed the comic books pretty closely when it came to designing a movie version of Emma Frost’s costume. In the comics, the character wears sexy, skimpy outfits all the time. And what actor January Jones ended up wearing for the movie was sexy, skimpy outfits. But the actor admitted that she found the wardrobe intimidating at first. "The costumes are insane, it's a lot of very body-conscious stuff; if you look at the comic book, she's barely dressed — she's got quite the bod, which is very intimidating," she told Hero Complex.
January Jones’ Emma Frost underwear
"I'm thinking, 'I'm supposed to be doing crunches on the plane. How am I gonna get buff in one day?' I'm a petite person, so I didn't want to go into a strict workout and eating regime," she continued. "I would have disappeared entirely, and she's very busty, very voluptuous, so I didn't want to get rid of any of my curves." Fortunately, Jones ended up liking some of her outlandish Emma Frost attire. In 2011 she told MTV, “I have a lot of very interesting costumes in that movie. There’s nothing like a cape that makes you feel really tough.”
24. Star Wars: Return of the Jedi (1983)
The whole Star Wars franchise is packed with amazing costumes, but perhaps none is more famous than the gold bikini Carrie Fisher’s Princess Leia sports in Return of the Jedi. Fisher admitted to some trepidation about the outfit, though. She said on a 2016 episode of Fresh Air, “I have to stay with the slug with the big tongue! Nearly naked, which is not a style choice for me... It wasn't my choice. When [director George Lucas] showed me the outfit, I thought he was kidding and it made me very nervous.”
Carrie Fisher’s gold bikini
Still, there was an upside. Fisher continued, “I had to sit very straight because I couldn't have lines on my sides, like little creases. No creases were allowed, so I had to sit very, very rigid straight... What redeems [that scene] is I get to kill [Jabba the Hutt], which was so enjoyable. I sawed his neck off with that chain that I killed him with. I really relished that, because I hated wearing that outfit and sitting there rigid straight, and I couldn’t wait to kill him.”
25. Watchmen (2009)
Malin Akerman’s character in Watchmen may be named Silk Spectre, but she actually wears a bright yellow-and-black latex leotard. And it doesn’t look like the comfiest thing to walk in – let alone fight in. Akerman seemed to feel that way, too. In a 2009 interview with MTV, she said, “The costumes were definitely a big challenge. I don't know if anyone here has a latex fetish, but I certainly don't after this film.”
Malin Akerman’s latex
Akerman went on, “[My costume is] definitely not the most comfortable thing to wear for 18 hours straight. It’s very constricting, and then you add heels, the corset, and a blonde wig to that. When they say, ‘Get up and fight,’ you go, ‘Excuse me, in this outfit?’ It also takes on the temperature of whatever the room is. If it’s really hot, you’re boiling. If it’s really cold, you’re freezing. The [male actors] had the opposite because they had foam costumes that were heavy and warm.”
26. Catwoman (2004)
Critics not only hated the 2004 Catwoman movie, but they also seemed to dislike Halle Berry’s weird strappy catsuit. IGN said, “The costume alone cannot make a bad movie, though this one sure gives it the old college try.” Reno News & Review went even further, suggesting that Berry should “burn that damn costume for all to see.” And while Berry didn’t quite go that far, she too has gone on the record to say she hated the poorly judged flick.
Halle Berry’s Catwoman costume
In 2005 she actually showed up in person to collect a Razzie award for her “Worst Actress” performance in the film and announced, “First of all, I want to thank Warner Bros. Thank you for putting me in a piece of s**t, god-awful movie!” Me-ow. But her opinion has since softened. "So many people come up to me telling me that they loved the movie," she told Vogue in 2022. "Forget the haters, whoever you are, who cares? ... I just love seeing all the other women try on this costume and bring their inner Catwoman out. I love it."
27. Green Lantern (2011)
The superhero suit in Green Lantern turned out to be a disaster in almost every respect. But hopes were high, to begin with. "Seeing the prototypes for the Green Lantern costumes was a huge moment," star Ryan Reynolds told MTV in 2009. "It was a moment when I was like, 'This is happening, and it's happening in the right way.'" But in the end, they went with a computer-generated costume that, to use Ryan Reynolds' words in a post-release interview, "didn't work." The Green Lantern costume was such a flop, moreover, that Reynolds ended up poking fun at it in the superhero comedy Deadpool.
Ryan Reynolds’ CGI suit
At one point, his Deadpool character yells, “Please don’t make the super-suit green... or animated!” — a clear reference to the ensemble he was made to wear in the earlier movie. In all fairness, costume designer Ngila Dickson later revealed that it was a case of too many cooks in the kitchen. "It’s a fascinating thing to look at all of the designs that were done for that compared to what ended up on screen… there were some genuinely really great ideas for that show. The politics of it totally overwhelmed it," Dickson said on the Red Carpet Rookies podcast.
28. The Fifth Element (1997)
The Fifth Element’s costumes were created by director Luc Besson and fashion designer Jean-Paul Gaultier, and they were specifically designed to look totally out of this world. For example, Milla Jovovich — who played Leeloo in the film — was given a dress that looked as though it was made completely out of bandages. And it seems that she had mixed feelings about it, too. She told Vogue in 2022 that the idea of a bandage-like costume had actually come from her — but she has also called it “a bit embarrassing.”
Milla Jovovich’s bandages
To Vogue, Jovovich said, “I said, ‘Listen, what about bandages? Like, you know, when people get wounded they just put bandages to cover the necessary bits.’ Luc and Jean-Paul talked about this bandage idea and Jean-Paul was just like, ‘Oh genius, I love it!'” But in a 1997 interview with Entertainment Weekly, Jovovich said, “In the fashion world, most of the guys are gay, and they have the etiquette not to notice. But those English guys working on the set were whistling and stuff.” She continued, “My character’s all about what’s inside. It’s not really about her clothes.”
29. Batman Returns (1992)
Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman is generally considered to be one of the best-ever portrayals of the character. And the star still shone despite being in a tricky-to-wear suit. In 2017 Pfeiffer told The Hollywood Reporter, “It was the most uncomfortable costume I’ve ever been in. They had to powder me down, help me inside and then vacuum-pack the suit. They’d paint it with a silicon-based finish to give it its trademark shine. I had those claws, and I was always catching them in things. The face mask was smashing my face and choking me.”
Michelle Pfieffer’s Catwoman costume
“Originally, they didn’t leave me a way to use the restroom in the suit, so that also had to be remedied as well,” said Pfeiffer. And Danny DeVito also had a rough time with his Penguin get-up. “It was four-and-a-half hours of makeup and getting into the costume. We got it down to three hours by the end of the shoot,” said DeVito. “I had pounds and pounds of face prosthetics and body padding, and the prosthetic hands, which were hard to use. I kept them on about half the time.”
30. Elektra (2005)
Elektra saw Jennifer Garner reprising her role as the titular superhero – despite apparently dying in the previous movie Daredevil. And the makers of the follow-up promised that Elektra would have a more comics-accurate costume the second time around. “[Elektra]'s known mostly for this red outfit that you can't seem to wear any underwear underneath, so we could never quite figure out how to make it work,” Garner told About.com before Elektra's release. Alas, the film still ended up disappointing fans.
Jennifer Garner’s red corset
Garner spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about the movie in 2021. “It’s such a shame, honestly, because once Kevin [Feige] took over everything [at Marvel Studios] was elevated: the writing, the direction, the comedy inside of the stories they were telling,” she said. “And I did not have that experience.” In 2005, though, Michael Vartan — Garner's ex — told Us Weekly, "I heard [Elektra] was awful. [Garner] called me and told me it was awful. She had to do it because of Daredevil. It was in her contract."
31. Jurassic World (2015)
After the long-awaited Jurassic World came out, fans were left with a question — and it wasn’t a dinosaur-related or even science-related one. Instead, viewers pondered why Bryce Dallas Howard’s Claire never took off her very impractical heels throughout the duration of the movie. Even while running from danger, she never twists her ankle or injures her feet in any way. For one moment, it became one of the biggest talking points of the film. Howard herself didn’t agree with the criticism, though.
Bryce Dallas Howard’s heels
In 2015 she told Yahoo!, “From a logical standpoint, I don’t think [Claire] would take off her heels… I’m better equipped to run when I have shoes on my feet. So, that’s my perspective on it. I don’t think she would carry around flats with her. I think she’s somebody who could sprint a marathon in heels.” And in 2022, she joked about the controversy with Variety. “Stepping into the shoes of Claire was also a little challenging because they were heeled, but nobody noticed... I always felt empowered, every single minute of Jurassic, by [director] Colin Trevorrow. And that experience, no comment or observation or analysis can ever take that away from me.”
32. The Avengers (2012)
Spare a thought for the stars playing female superheroes, as they don’t always have it easy. During the press tour for The Avengers, Scarlett Johansson told Collider of her super-tight screen outfit, “It’s like 800 degrees in my costume… and it’s a unitard, and I have nothing underneath it!” And speaking on Inside the Actors Studio in 2017, she said of the costume, “I mean, who wants to get into something like that? You just think, ‘Oh God, really? Couldn’t it have, like, I don’t know, some sort of a peplum skirt or something?’”
Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow suit
Johansson is glad the costume evolved over time, though. "I mean, you look back at Iron Man 2, and while it was really fun and had a lot of great moments in it, the character is so sexualized, you know?" she said to Hello Beautiful in 2021. "Really talked about like she's a piece of something, like a possession or a thing or whatever." She told Fatherly, "After Iron Man to going into Avengers, there's been an evolution of her look. I think part of that is just gaining the trust of the executives at Marvel and kind of sitting in the character and just being able to make decisions for her."
33. X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)
Olivia Munn had been a big admirer of her X-Men character, Psylocke, before she was cast in the movie franchise. And the actress tried to make the superhero more than a costume. In 2016 she explained to Collider, “To me, I know that Psylocke is dressed very sexually. Out of all the costumes, it's really revealing, but it's important to know that she always had substantive plotlines… Just because she's dressed like that, she's not this promiscuous, slutty girl that's — in fact, Apocalypse is the one who dressed her and gave her that outfit.”
Olivia Munn’s purple latex
Before getting into the outfit, though, Munn had to rub lubricant all over herself. "They lube me down," Munn said on an episode of Conan. "And I step into this latex fitting. They lubricate the costume, and they lubricate me. Two women lube me up..." But, she said, "The first day I put the latex suit on, I popped the crotch. The latex just broke." Then, once the movie was released, the look was panned — despite it adhering more or less to the comic books. In a movie that contained some pretty serious scenes, the ensemble was judged as looking both silly and far too sexy.
34. Batman and Robin (1997)
Everything about Batman & Robin was a hilarious catastrophe — and everybody involved has been pretty upfront about that. But if the script and comedic scenes were bad, the Batsuit was arguably even worse. For a start, George Clooney couldn’t get it off easily and thus had to pee in it. Also, it featured something not usually seen in superhero outfits: nipples. And years later, the Bat-nipples are still mocked. The late director Joel Schumacher stood by the decision for a long time — but he eventually apologized to all the fans.
George Clooney’s Batsuit
"Look, I apologize," Schumacher told Vice in 2017. "I want to apologize to every fan that was disappointed because I think I owe them that." He later lamented, "It's going to be on my tombstone, I know it." As for Clooney, he said in 2014, "I wasn't thrilled with the nipples on the batsuit. You know that's not something you really think about when you're putting it on... Batman was just constantly cold I guess."
35. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)
Emma Watson’s Hermione wore a pink dress during the Yule Ball scenes in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. But while this was a perfectly appropriate outfit, fans of the franchise weren’t happy. You see, in the source material, Hermione’s Yule Ball gown is periwinkle blue. Some even considered a pink version out of character. The costume designer for the films thought differently, though.
Emma Watson’s pink dress
In 2017 Jany Temime told Cosmopolitan, “[Hermione] was a tough girl. She was a girl [who only hung out] with boys. And now she appears at the Yule Ball and she’s in pink. People look at her as being a girl — and a very pretty one, which was not established before. It was a lovely dress. It was quite difficult to design because... I didn’t want her to look like she borrowed a dress from her mom or her sister or whatever. It was her sweet sixteen dress, and she loved it.”
36. Labyrinth (1986)
For many adults who saw Labyrinth when it first came out, there was one pressing question: was David Bowie wearing a codpiece in the movie or not? But after one blogger after another has scrutinized the issue in detail, apparently it seems likely that the star didn’t need any help in that department. But in a 2016 interview with Empire, designer Brian Froud referred to the musical icon’s attire as “perv pants,” adding, “Every so often you go, ‘Oh, my God! How did we get away with that?!’”
David Bowie’s pants
Froud said, “We’re not looking at reality, we’re inside this girl’s head. There are references to all sorts of things in his costume. There’s the danger of a leather boy in his leather jacket, which also has a reference to the armor of a certain type of German knight in it; there are references to Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights; and the tight trousers are a reference to ballet dancers. He’s an amalgam of the inner fantasies of this girl.”
37. Justice League (2017)
The Amazon armor in Wonder Woman was refreshing, as it seemed like the kind of stuff a person could actually fight in. When images of the Amazons in Justice League were released, however, fans may have been dismayed to realize that their outfits were much skimpier by comparison. Some even considered the armor change sexist. Jessica Chastain appeared to agree, retweeting the pictures and writing, “Hey men, what would you wear to fight? Hint: don’t expose your vital organs. Ugh, I miss [Wonder Woman director] Patty Jenkins.”
The Amazon warrior armor
Still, two actresses portraying the Amazons actually revealed that they didn’t mind the new costumes. Brooke Ence told USA Today, “I’m an athlete first, right? [Usually], I can’t wear anything without someone commenting about my [muscular] body. So for me, it was actually really cool to be able to show it and not immediately feel masculine, but still very feminine." Hari James said on Instagram, "Personally, I loved the costumes [in Justice League.] So much fun on the set of this film."
38. Borat (2006)
Not every movie costume is a literal crime in some places, but the infamous “mankini” from Sacha Baron Cohen’s Borat could be. In 2017 six Czech men were arrested for “minor hooliganism” after posing in the dubious swimwear in Kazakhstan’s capital. Kazakhstan is, of course, the very real place from which the fictional Borat hails. Sacha Baron Cohen actually offered to assist the men, writing on Facebook, “To my Czech mates who were arrested: send me your details and proof that it was you, and I’ll pay your fine.”
Sacha Baron Cohen’s mankini
Still, as the people of Kazakhstan have mixed feelings about Cohen, you should probably avoid ever wearing a mankini for laughs in the country. And in 2016 Cohen confessed that you wouldn't be catching him in a mankini anytime soon. “I miss those roles but cannot do them as I have responsibility for my family,” he said. “Being in a wild situation when you’re deep in character, and nobody realizing you’re not real – that’s the ultimate adrenaline. But I’m too old for it – and you start feeling irresponsible when you have a family.”
39. Zardoz (1974)
Once he had hung up James Bond’s stylish tuxedo for good, Sean Connery decided to try something different — very different. Specifically, he took on the role of Zed in the bizarre sci-fi movie Zardoz. Zed’s costume was little more than some bright red material to cover his modesty and boots that went up to his thighs. Surprisingly, Connery apparently didn’t mind the outfit. When Vulture asked director John Boorman about the ensemble in 2014, he said that he had simply told the famously bad-tempered actor, “This is what you’ve got. This is what you’re going to wear.”
Sean Connery’s barely-there costume
And, supposedly, there was “never any argument” about it, either. But Boorman did admit that Connery was volatile. “He was a very explosive character,” he said. “At the end of the film, we shoot a scene where his character ages rapidly, and with the makeup, that scene took a whole day.” But after the second attempt, a camera assistant accidentally exposed the film — meaning they had to do it again. “Sean wouldn’t believe me; he thought I was teasing him,” Boorman said. “When I convinced him that we needed to do it for the third time, he went after this camera loader and nearly killed him. It took three grips to restrain him.”
40. Cleopatra (1917)
Most of Theda Bara’s 1917 Cleopatra silent film is lost now. Yet even before a surviving print burned in a fire, the flick was considered too hot to handle. That’s because Bara wears some very revealing costumes as Cleopatra, causing the Hays Code to deem the movie “obscene” — at least 17 years after its initial release. Some churches apparently located copies of the film and destroyed them, too. One of the most remarkable surviving images from the film shows Bara in a sort of snake-themed metal bikini. This would probably raise eyebrows even today!
Theda Bara’s Cleopatra costume
A list of cuts required to be made to the film by the Chicago Board of Censors survives to the present day. These make references to an “objectionable costume” and “snake breastplates” having to go. In addition to these, scenes showing the queen with her "naval exposed" or even "lying on a couch" were deemed too much for the public to view. But despite all of this — or perhaps because of it — the film still proved to be one of the highest-grossing films of 1917.