January 31st, 2017
There’s one thing that cheers us up no end in the Warpaint office and that’s the Awards season. From a make-up point of view, we get to applaud the skills of the film make-up designers and their teams as well as indulge in some fabulous Red Carpet fashion and beauty looks.
The Academy Awards long list has been whittled down and we now know the three movies whose make-up teams will get their glad rags on and head down the Red Carpet of the Dolby Theatre on February 26th – A Man Called Ove; Star Trek Beyond and Suicide Squad. The British Oscars the BAFTA Film Awards, held in London on February 12th, has more final nominations and interestingly for the first time in a while, no two films are up for both. BAFTA has spread the love between Florence Foster Jenkins; Doctor Strange; Hacksaw Ridge; Nocturnal Animals and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
A Man Called Ove has not only become the highest-grossing foreign-language movie of the year, but landed on the Oscar shortlist. It’s the second OSCAR nominated film for Love Larson and Eva von Bahr. In A Man Called Ove, the title role, played by Rolf Lassgård, is the block’s grumpy old man who rules over his neighbourhood with an iron fist. But when pregnant Parvaneh and her family move into the house opposite an unexpected friendship develops. Love Larson commented, “Most don’t realise how much make-up Rolf Lassgård wore. But he’s covered in silicone prosthesis, from his eyelids to the back of his head… It took two and a half hours every morning to apply Ove’s make-up to Rolf.”
Star Trek Beyond and its out-of-this-world creatures was the responsibility of Joel Harlow and Richard Alonzo. Harlow explained that for Star Trek Beyond, “We created 56 alien races, some with multiple looks within the races for that film. As the conductor of this massive group of artists, I tried to allow them to create with as much ownership of the characters. I would be nothing without the support of my crew.”
Alessandro Bertolazzi, make-up and hairstyling designer, Giorgio Gregorini, wig supervisor and Christopher Nelson, Killer Croc Supervisor are the men behind bringing the famous comic strip to life in Suicide Squad, the movie that’s spawned a million You Tube tutorials on Harley Quinn’s make-up. According to Bertolazzi, every Suicide Squad character’s tattoos had to be reapplied daily. Robbie’s head-to-toe tattoos took over an hour to apply. Bertolazzi had to be innovative at times when it came to Harley’s look, like her trademark pigtails. To keep Robbie’s hair in place, the designer took the rubber stoppers off of walking canes, punched holes through the bottom, painted them and used them to keep the pigtails from slipping out during shooting. For the Joker’s sickening white complexion, Bertolazzi went in a different direction. The Clown Prince of Crime’s translucent white skin tone was created by mixing together silicone and water based pigments, then applied all over Jared Leto’s face and body. The Enchantress’ skin provided another unique challenge for the designer. Going for a look that was ‘somewhere between wood and scaly reptile skin,’ Bertolazzi got there by applying four different types of clay to Cara Delevingne, followed up by gold leaf. As for that rat’s nest on the actress’ head? That came together by taking a wig and tying mop strings that ‘we dyed, burned, and glued together.’
The BAFTA line up has five outstanding films vying for the best make-up and hair gong.
Jeremy Woodhead is up for his work on Doctor Strange. Dr. Stephen Strange was an arrogant neurosurgeon whose hands were crippled in a car accident, and whose desperation to regain his dexterity led him to Eastern medicine and the occult. There, he found a whole new universe (or universes), astral projection, secret societies of sorcerers, empowering mystical objects like the Cloak of Levitation and the Eye of Agamotto, and a mentor – The Ancient One – who helped him achieve the title of Sorcerer Supreme. Tilda Swinton plays the Ancient One and she worked together with Woodhead to create her distinctive look, “I was really lucky that Jeremy Woodhead, who’s the hair and make up designer on this, is someone I know very well, I worked with him very closely on a Bong Joon Ho film called Snowpiercer and we worked on making that look, and so we worked again on Doctor Strange and that’s been really fun. And it took it’s time, that’s part of the fun, the development of all of it is a ride,” Swinton explains. “We started out playing with some wigs,” says Woodhead. “We tried semi-bald. Is it a man? Is it a woman? It’s an androgyny thing. We put the wigs on her and she said, ‘No, that’s no good.’ “So then it was, ‘Let’s try to see if we can push them into having the Ancient One bald – which, if you have one of the most beautiful actresses in the world, is a hard sell. But they took one look at it and said, ‘Fine.’ So we’ve got a completely bald Tilda Swinton.” And Benedict Cumberbatch’s beard? Fake. “We’re not shooting in story order, and there are times in the film with different lengths of beard and sometimes with no beard at all.”
New York socialite Florence Foster Jenkins believed she could sing, but audiences flocked to secretly shower her with derision, not praise. Her voice was the stuff of legend, drawing thousands who had heard awe-inspiring stories of her unbelievable performances. J. Roy Helland and Daniel Phillips were charged with bringing this 1940s spectacular to life. Florence Foster Jenkins took a phenomenal amount of wig work together with authentic ’40s make up in this visual, if not aural, masterpiece.
Casualty make-up and prosthetic gore aplenty in Hacksaw Ridge. Andrew Garfield takes the lead in this saga that tells the true story of Desmond Doss, who wanted to serve during WWII, but refused to carry a gun. Directed by Mel Gibson, said of Shane Thomas his Make-up Designer, “The war carnage, the wounds — dynamic stuff. I’m sure it wasn’t easy and he did it on a budget. We had maybe 100 guys playing American soldiers, and 70 Japanese soldiers, though it looks like we had thousands. It was enormous, but it was all in a day’s work for Shane and his great team.”
Nocturnal Animals is Tom Ford’s second movie and a stylish psychodrama that has two overlapping but very different strands. Part of it is set in the world of high society and high art. Part is an In Cold Blood-style revenge thriller that unfolds in the dusty outback of western Texas. With make up and hair from Donald Mowat and Yolanda Toussieng the story is told in many flashbacks, a challenge for any make-up and hair department. “We discussed the challenges of creating many characters from the flashback in small-town Texas,” explain Mowat, “a bearded lead actor and time cut where he is possibly another guy; and then, clean-shaved. In between, there are numerous out-of-kit casualty make-ups, age with paint and a finale with a silicone full eye cover appliance from a major blunt-force trauma. We had to rough up Aaron Taylor-Johnson with facial hair, including a modern version of ‘mutton chops,’ and getting Michael Shannon looking like the dying small-town sheriff, which Tom had envisioned sharply in his mind’s eye.” The leads Jake Gyllenhaal, Amy Adams and Armie Hammer all appear at various stages of the story in a more than 20-year span.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was most certainly a box office hit. The story follows Jyn Erso, daughter of the unwilling designer of the Galactic Empire’s superweapon, the Death Star, and her mission to retrieve the schematics so the Death Star can be destroyed. The nominees have yet to be confirmed, but Lisa Tomblin was Hair Designer.