“Find the character’s shoes, you’ll find the character.” Irish actor Robert Sheehan shared during Netflix’s See What’s Next Asia. Along with Ellen Page, Tom Hopper, Emmy Raver-Lampman, David Castañeda, Aidan Gallagher, Cameron Britton, and Mary J. Blige, Robert stars in Netflix’s new superhuman anti-hero original series Umbrella Academy. Based on the Eisner award-winning graphic novel of the same name by My Chemical Romance’s Gerard Way and artist Gabriel Bá, Umbrella Academy features a unique and colourful dysfunctional family who reunites after their father’s death.
Robert Sheehan plays the eccentric Klaus who is telekinetic and has the ability to speak or contact the dead (in the comics he’s referred to as The Séance). Though all seven siblings have their own special abilities, Klaus sticks out like a rose among thorns (especially in the promotional posters) because of his odd sense of style and distinct fancy for smudged eyeliner.
“I went in to do costume fittings for Klaus,” Robert tells Preview. “Luckily we had this costume designer Christopher Hargadon, and his idea was that Klaus was this very gender-fluid [character]. There were no restrictions as to what Klaus wouldn’t wear.”
True enough, Klaus goes from shirtless to full-on bohemian rockstar, but carries it with such confident flair that you can’t help but stare. “The kind of style philosophy that we had for Klaus was that he has no style. He would wear anything. A scuba suit. Some lederhosen. Or maybe a scuba suit and lederhosen at the same time. Then it became kind of drag. Like a gay biker, out-of-work scarecrow,” Robert shares and admits that the costume really helped him get into character and understand Klaus’ point of view in full focus. He also says that there’s a bit of him in Klaus and vice versa. “We’re both charming,” he quips. Although in terms of eccentric styles, we do see some similarities as Robert’s personal fashion sense is anything but basic.
Unlike most superhero shows and flicks, Umbrella Academy is less about the superpowers and more about its characters as normal (and often-times) troubled human beings. Being such a diverse cast, with equally varied fashion senses, we can’t wait to see Umbrella Academy unfold. “I think it’s fantastic that the doors have opened for people of all ethnicities and genders,” Robert tells us, and we’re definitely living for it.