Tipping their hats to a legend. Shrinking‘s Paul (Harrison Ford) can be counted on for a lot — being Jimmy’s mentor, uttering “woof” under his breath, carrying a water bottle and talking about potatoes. Oh, and let’s not forget about wearing a fedora.
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“He brought that fedora in. Harrison did. It’s his!” costume designer Allyson Fanger exclusively tells Us Weekly. “He brought it in, and he was just like, ‘I wanna wear this.’ So they had to write it in.”
Harrison, 80, stars opposite co-creator and executive producer Jason Segel on the freshman Apple TV+ series, which follows a grieving therapist (Segel) trying to heal following the death of his wife. As he leans on Paul and fellow therapist Gaby (Jessica Williams) and rebuilds his relationship with daughter Alice (Lukita Maxwell), he takes an unethical approach to guiding his patients.
Paul also grows attached to Alice, who he has sessions with at the park — and she pays him in candy. In episode 5, “Woof,” his eye-catching hat is introduced for the first time.
“He was gonna wear it in the office. And I was like, ‘I don’t know that he’d wear it in the office. I like it. I like it for him.’ And there were all those great scenes with him and Alice on the bench outside. And I was like, ‘Let’s do that outside,’” Fanger recalled to Us. “And he was like, ‘OK, wear it outside.’ And now it’s such a thing. He’s wearing it in all the outside things, which makes sense too. ‘Cause we shot in Pasadena, [California], in the summer and it was super-hot. And it was great that he had that hat, but now it’s a thing.”
Such a thing that multiple jokes were written into the 10-episode series to tease Ford about the attire. In “Woof,” Alice says, “That hat is ridiculous,” in which he replied later in the episode: “What, all of a sudden you are an expert on hats?”
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In “Imposter Syndrome,” Jimmy’s nosy neighbor Liz (Christa Miller) gives Paul some CBD gummies and notes: “Look, best case scenario, it helps. Worst case scenario, you get a little high and you buy another one of those hats.”
The cast and crew stocked up on fedoras to celebrate Harrison’s 80th celebration on set. “On his birthday, everybody was wearing the hats and it was a whole funny thing,” Fanger told Us. “One of the producers was like, ‘Can you get us, like, 50 fedoras and we’ll put them on the whole crew and then surprise him when he walks in.’ Which we did. … It’s become a great moment for the whole crew.”
She added: “We matched them as best we could. We went to Warner Brothers Costume and pulled out as many similar fedoras as we could.”
The 1923 actor would also wear his own belts and stick to a “very specific cut of Levi’s” when the camera rolled.
“Jeans are so specific and personal. I almost always ask an actor in the first couple fittings to bring in their own jeans that they love. Jeans are as specific as our shoes. But people have jeans that they love and a guy like Paul, you know, he’s got his jeans. He’s been wearing those same jeans forever. So that’s what he wore,” Fanger explained, noting that she even toured his collection at his home.
“He showed me his closet. We looked at what he had, and we had brought a couple details like his belts. He wanted to wear his own belts and I loved his belts because those are unique and those are hard to find — those perfect belt buckles. They’re older and they’re just that little perfect amount of detail and texture to a character. They personalize a character for the audience,” she continued. “The fact that the [actors] care so much makes me so happy. I love it.”
Harrison “became more of a challenge” than Fanger expected at the start of production — but not in a bad way.
“He had a lot of ideas about his character. He’s one of the most detail-oriented actors I’ve ever worked with. And I appreciate that so much because I am very detail-oriented, and I love that he also appreciates and notices and knows how important all those little moments are. All the tiny details. And he also is an actor who doesn’t really wanna decide what he is wearing until last-minute,” she told Us, laughing. “Every scene I’d be in his trailer, we’re like, ‘OK, so we’re gonna do …’ I’d give him, like, three options of looks that I thought could work for a certain scene. And then he’d be like, ‘I’ll wear this.’ He thinks about every detail, every shirt and how the pocket is sewn on.”
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It was initially a “learning curve” for the designer, but the two had “a great relationship together” on set.
“He’s just the most amazing guy because he really wanted to feel in the moment what he was gonna wear. Which I’m like that too. I’m not a planner ahead of my outfits because I have to feel it in the moment. I gotta feel how my mood is for the day. And that’s how he was. So I relate to it,” she said. “He has specific brands that work for him that we stuck to. And he has a specific palette. He likes things to have texture, but not too much texture.”
Ford’s wardrobe consisted mainly of east coast pieces to highlight Paul’s Connecticut background.
“He’s now on the west coast, but he still maintains his sort of east coast look. I got a lot of his clothes from the east coast. I was calling stores for a lot of that. You can’t even find it in L.A. I used Atlanta and New York to get a lot of his clothes,” she told Us. “And I wanted the same thing for Meg, his daughter.”
Lily Rabe plays Ford’s daughter in the dramatic comedy. Nicknamed “Connecticut Meg” by Jimmy, she dons a Francis Valentine sweater when she visits their practice for the first time.
“I wanted to make sure that she felt very east coast. I didn’t buy anything for her in L.A. Everything came from the east coast. And I think that also communicates when you meet her and you see her, you can see the relationship between them,” Franger told Us. “I really love Francis Valentine. They make pieces that I don’t see anywhere else. They have those great details. On the cuff it had the colored yarn pieces. It almost looked hand done.”
Shrinking was officially renewed for season 2 on Thursday, March 9, and Fanger — who has previously worked on Grace and Frankie and 80 for Brady — is already mapping out what’s next for each character.
“All of them I wanna take a little further honestly, because I feel like now we know who they are,” she said. “It’s my job to tell that story of their personality through the way they dress. And I think that’s now well-defined and so now we can take even more risks.”
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Shrinking also stars Michael Urie, Luke Tennie, Ted McGinley, Devin Kawaoka and Heidi Gardner. A new episode drops weekly on Apple TV+ with episode 8, “Boop,” debuting on Friday, March 10, and the season finale on March 24.