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Lee painted action stains on pants Peeta Mellark (one of the lead characters) wore in "The Hunger Games." Submitted photo

Perham native is costumer on blockbuster movie, 'The Hunger Games'

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Born and raised in Perham, Anne Lee is back in town - or her name is, at least.

Her name is everywhere, actually, rolling down the big screens of movie theatres around the world, in the credits of the international hit movie, "The Hunger Games."

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In a phone interview from her home in Charleston, S.C., Lee talked about her role as a costumer for the film.

From May through August 2011, in long 12-hour days, Lee changed the look of fabric to better fit the themes of different scenes in "The Hunger Games." She said the main aspect of her job as an ager/dyer was to make the character's clothes look worn - especially as the action progressed through the movie.

She dyed material for the district jackets, faded new denim overalls for the coal miners and painted the tribute's boots. Under the direction of the designer, Lee and the rest of the costume department added blood, dirt or even burn marks on clothes to emphasize the actions in the scenes.

The coal miner's overalls, for example, were crisp new denim when purchased - a look that wouldn't accurately depict hardworking, coal-stained miners. That's where Lee came in. After repeated washings, she added dirt, mud and strategically-placed holes to make the pants look like they had been worked in for five years or more.

Another aspect of Lee's job on "The Hunger Games" was replicating costumes. Lee painted, scuffed and dirtied multiple versions of Katniss' (the film's main character) knee-high brown boots to make them look exactly like the designer's original version. Multiple costumes are necessary in the movie business, Lee explained, so that production isn't stalled because of something like wet boots.

Altering clothes to fit the actors also fell within Lee's job duties. Once, after realizing Katniss' brown boots were too narrow for actress Jennifer Lawrence's feet, Lee wet the boots down and wore them around camp to help stretch the tight leather before they went to set.

"Working on 'The Hunger Games' was an amazing experience," Lee said. "It was a challenging movie to work on because it was like three movies in one. We did all of the reaping scenes first, then the games in the woods, and then we worked on and shot the capital scenes."

After the production of 'The Hunger Games' was over, Lee went back to work on the Lifetime Television Network's hit series, "Army Wives." It's her fourth season with the show.

From now until mid-June, when the "Army Wives" season wraps up, Lee will help dress the extras on set. After that, she's not sure yet where she will be next. That not knowing, she said, is one of the hardest parts of the business.

As a freelance costume ager/dyer, Lee plans on applying for a job with the upcoming film, "Ironman III." She may also take a trip back to Perham to visit her parents, Ronald and Joyce Lee, between jobs.

After attending schools in Perham into her early teens, Lee spent her final years of high school at the Perpich Center for Arts Education in Golden Valley, Minn., where she studied music.

After graduation, Lee began studying fashion photography at the University of Minnesota, but she soon realized she wanted to design clothes instead of photographing them. She transferred to Savannah College of Art and Design and graduated with her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Design in 2009.

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