Just over a decade ago, I designed the costumes for a movie titled “Our Fathers”. It’s based on the book by David France “The Secret Life of the Catholic Church in an Age of Scandal”.
In this true story, Cardinal Law was the Church’s piece of hierarchy that covered up the sexual abuses of children by certain priests. It was very heartbreaking to work on this show: recreating pedophile scenes, depicting the turned upside down lives of victims & the denials by the church. Even the scenes of Cardinal Law testifying on the stand were not satisfying moments. Reality is, he eventually went to live in Rome, as a Cardinal, allowed by the Pope.
Actual adult victims, survivors came to set while we were shooting. It was all quite eerily unnerving.
Prior to starting prep on the movie, I read the book. It is the biggest book I ever read. Humongous, with a hard cover, I couldn’t hold it on my lap. The part of the book we made into the movie was a fraction of the book. The rest of it delved deeply into the Church’s very old history of sexual sins. It was bleak, even at the most optimistic points.
One day, the book attacked my right foot’s next to my big toe’s toe. Okay, I probably accidentally dropped it. The toe broke.
I hobbled through the ensuing 4 month prep & shoot with the broken toe taped to the toes on each side of it. There was constant pain, swelling & 14 or more hours to a working day. I had to buy sneakers in 2 different sizes, the larger size for my right foot. The doctor was adamant. I needed to put my foot up for a few weeks, which I did after we were wrapped, & it eventually healed.
In retrospect, I realize that nothing was going to stop me from helping to bring this story into movie format, and into the light of the many who didn’t know about it. I believed I was doing something important & good.
In retrospect, I also think …. perhaps the book did attack my toe, after all.