Everyone talks Sandworm and spices, but Frank Herbert invented the most wonderful thing HillHe even thinks it was a stillsuit. Worn by the inhabitants of the desert planet Aracis, steel suits capture any moisture that comes out of the body and reuse it in drinking water. They also look quite sick, all tubes and piping and chest plates (a cosplayer’s wet dream). For Dennis Villanuev Hill Adaptive, costume designer Jacqueline West wanted the look of the steel suit to reflect their environmental needs. “It was a prophetic book about a planet that was looted as our wealth,” he says. “We wanted the suit to fit exactly as described by Frank Herbert.” Can this kind of work ever work in the real world? Probably not – but it’s still cool to deconstruct.
In the desert, sand grains can tear the skin of the face. Herbert imagined a mask that covered everything except the eyes – they were protected by a hood – and filtered sand and other particles into the air. Although the Western version did not perform the next task, it did protect the actors from flying grit on the set.
On the nose
Inside Hill, Stillsuit wearers are instructed to breathe through their mouths and noses, and any moisture they inhale is captured by tubes attached to their nostrils. West’s version wasn’t a functional respirator, he said, “it should have fitted the actors’ noses comfortably.” Just try not to sneeze.
One of West’s challenges was designing suits that looked like they kept moisture but didn’t hold the actors ’breath. To do this, buyers created a “fabric of the future” from heat-mixed layers of foam combined with cotton gauze and acrylic mesh. It can’t actually do the basic survival tasks of a stillsuit, though pers perspire sweat and get salt out (an idea that starts backfire, because the point of sweat is that it cools the body through evaporation).
The stillsuit stores water wherever there is space and then uses motion to spread it around the body এমনকি even in Western real-life versions. To keep the actors cool while filming in the scorching deserts of the Middle East, her suits had pockets of water near their heads and wherever they looked normal – thighs, breasts, biceps, buttocks. “Wherever we put them they will keep beautiful shape,” West says. “They had to look good.”
The stillsuit embraces the body like a second skin. So in close collaboration with West, Villeneuve and dozens of buyers, each actor creates men and uses them to create a suit for their exact measurements. “These were surprisingly well-crafted,” said Javier Bardem, who plays Freeman leader Stilgar.
You can’t just move in your stillsuit, it’s encouraged, because that’s the main source of your recycled water. Alas, HillIts stars could not use their costumes as diapers (which we know). Even NASA’s best technology – the ISS’s Urine Processor Assembly – can’t do what Herbert has described.
The human body is the engine of a steel suit. Walking, running, breathing – Herbert imagined that all energy could be used to energize the reactions needed to recycle water. Sadly, this is pure fiction: our bodies cannot get enough energy from food and oxygen which we can turn waste into drinks.2Oh.