ON SET: DONIELLA DAVY + EUPHORIA

How did you come to work on Euphoria?
I designed the makeup for a film called Under the Silver Lake, starring Andrew Garfield, and directed by David Robert Mitchell. The film was put out by the amazing A24, who are also very much responsible for bringing Euphoria to life, along with HBO. Based on my work on that film, A24 brought me in to interview with Sam Levinson, who was the writer, showrunner and director of the project. I also met with the director of the pilot, Augustine Frizzell.

The makeup on Euphoria is so experimental, how did you approach the design process?
I got most of my inspiration from Gen Z and experimental editorial makeup on Instagram, but I also drew from the late 1960s, taking inspiration from Twiggy, Nina Simone’s rhinestone eyebrow looks, as well 1970s Glam Rock moments. Gen Z is completely redefining what makeup can and should be used to do, by embracing a total freedom in expression and defying beauty and makeup norms.

Aside from designing the Euphoria makeup to be visually captivating and help propel the various story-lines forward, I was encouraged by Sam to Continue reading

ON SET: Heba Thorisdottir + Once Upon A Time in Hollywood

You’ve worked with Quentin Tarantino for more than a decade and designed the makeup for The Hateful Eight, Django Unchained, Inglourious Basterds and Kill Bill Vol.1 & 2. How did you start working together?
We met through a mutual friend, Julie Dreyfus, while he was writing Pulp Fiction. Then he seemed to be in every restaurant in Hollywood that I went to, and we would say hi. A couple of years later, Julie and I went to visit the set of Jackie Brown, and it was so much fun! I told Quentin when we left that I wanted to work on his next film, and I did not care if I was sweeping floors! He called me six years later and told me he was ready to do his film and reminded me that I had offered to sweep his floors. But I would not need to, instead I was going to department head Kill Bill.

With your history, how does the process of working on a Tarantino film differ from working with other directors?
No matter how well you know him, you never just relax – he gives 250% and I do not want to give him less. But, of course, you do develop a shorthand and understanding that is helpful. He also starts having screenings of films that are nspiring him way before we start shooting. It glues everyone together and makes it easy to talk to people and work together.

What was your makeup design process like for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood?
Quentin is not traditional, and for some of the actors he preferred their iconic looks rather than the correct time period. It is his love story to Hollywood, his hometown, and how he remembers it. As soon as I started prep, the first thing I did was go with Janine Rath-Thompson, the hair department head, and visit costume designer, Arianne Phillips. She had been on the film for Continue reading

ON SET: AMY L. FORSYTHE + RUSSIAN DOLL

How did you get your start in makeup?
I went to college for theater at Florida State, and during my senior year a man came down from Broadway to show me how to do beards and quick wig changes. That is when I realized how much more fun it would be to help create the world with other creatives than just bringing one character to life. I graduated, went to hair school where I learned weave, braids, and minimal wigs, then went to Los Angeles to learn character and prosthetic makeup. Growing up a book worm, I was always kind of let down by the movie versions of books. But now I get it. What a challenge to be tasked with bringing a world to life and hoping people like it.

You also Department Head Stranger Things. Was there any overlap in shooting schedules?
From the get-go, I told them I might have to leave at the end for the third season of Stranger Things. I pitched my key, Heidi Pakdel, to take over if that were the case. Natasha Lyonne was fine with it so long as everything was designed, prepped, and ready to go.

What was the makeup inspiration for Nadia (Natasha Lyonne) in Russian Doll?
We knew we were going for a grungy, messy kind of smoky eye with her character. I pulled some smoky favorites of Natasha from events that she and I both liked and played with it for a little bit. I made a modern day Debbie Harry funky shape for her Continue reading

ON SET: DEBBIE ZOLLER + FOSSE/VERDON

What sort of research and preparation did you do for Fosse/Verdon?
With five decades of research to do, the prep and research never stopped. I bought the Sam Wasson Fosse book that this mini-series is based on, but I had many other books on Broadway musicals and DVD’s of Bob Fosse’s films to watch. I also had access to Bob and Gwen’s daughter, Nicole Fosse, who allowed us into the Fosse/Verdon Legacy Archives. I had to research all his musical numbers that we had to duplicate and mimic the looks exactly. And the actual producers, writers, composers, pianists and others that were with Bob on each project. All of the background extras that needed to be period specific from 1940-1987, every daytime and evening beauty makeup for each time period and mustache and sideburn length for the men. I had six weeks of prep prior to shooting but continued my research every day during the six months of shooting. I left no stone unturned. I would email detailed information to every makeup artist with reference photos and specific makeup to use for each era.

How large was your makeup team?
As you can imagine, I needed a huge team. I was the makeup designer. Department Head was Blair Aycock, Key was Dave Presto, Personal to Michelle Williams was Jackie Risotto, background makeup supervisors were Sherri Laurence and Nicky Illum Pattison, Art Sakamoto made the teeth for Michelle Williams, Vincent Van Dyke did the prosthetics for Sam Rockwell and Michelle Williams. Plus an amazing team of additional background artists.

How did you go about researching the looks for the Fosse dancers through the years?
The costume designers, Melissa Toth and Joseph La Courte, and Abby in the art department were instrumental in helping me get the research I needed for the musical numbers. Along with watching many Youtube videos and going to see musicals like Chicago, many of the dancers who have studied or worked with Bob Fosse were helpful as well. It was a group effort in every way. Once the costumes and the wigs that Christopher Fulton designed were on, everything came together beautifully. Filming the musical numbers were some of my favorite moments during the whole shoot.

What was the design process like?
Every actor, dancer and background artist who went in front of the camera had a fitting. I assigned a specific look based on the year they were a part of and the character they portrayed. I had reference photos of the real person they might be portraying and photos of makeups/facial hair for that specific time period. I then assigned an artist to that actor and it all came together, every morning. Some mustaches and sideburns were lace backed, but a majority were hand-layed. Every day was a unique challenge. Not to mention aging Sam Rockwell and Continue reading

ON SET: VE NEILL + MARWEN

How did you come to work on Welcome to Marwen?
Bill Corso called me and said he had this really unique project with Bob Zemeckis he thought I’d be great for.

Had you worked with Robert Zemeckis before?
I had never worked with him. I was really excited about it.

How does the process of creating a makeup design with Vfx work on a film like this?
It was kind of a weird thing because Billy said, “Do you mind if I design the makeup for the dolls and you recreate it on  the humans?” I said, “Absolutely not. Do whatever you want to do.” First, we scanned all the actors at Gentle Giant Studios and got copies of their heads. Billy designed renderings of what the characters would look like as dolls in
Photoshop. Then I applied the design on as human beings. In the end, we wanted to have a meld of the two characters—the dolls and humans.

Tell me about the look of the characters.
They’re all characters in Mark’s (Steve Carell) life. Each one of these dolls had a specific character and look: Anna the Soviet (Gwendoline Christie); Carlala (Eiza Gonzalez) was a señorita-type chick; Suzette (Leslie Zemeckis) was a French
maid-type character; G.I. Julie (Janelle Monáe) was a woman from rehab. We scanned Steve because Continue reading

ON SET: GODLESS + TARRA DAY

We caught up with Emmy-nominated makeup artist Tarra Day (Breaking Bad, Temple Grandin, Into the West) to talk about her work on the Netflix series Godless created by Scott Frank and starring Jeff Daniels. Tarra dishes on the Wild West, the “no makeup” look and the famed LA makeup store where she got her start.

How did you come to work on Godless?
I had a couple offers at the time when I got a call from the line producer Mike Malone.  Geordie Sheffer (Godless department head hairdresser) and I were working together and he asked if we could meet. We were working all night with no sleep and we went to meet him the next day. I said to Geordie, “If he orders a beer, we’re doing the show.” And he ordered a beer! He talked to us about the series, and the minute I hear Western, I’m in! To our delight, it was an incredible Western and incredible script. This was a must-do. So we gave up everything else and said, “This is what we’re doing.”

How did you approach the no makeup design for this series set in 1880?
With Westerns, it’s about attention to detail…things you might not notice as far as makeup goes. I’ve been fortunate to have done quite a few Westerns. It’s a genre I’ve really immersed myself in and love doing, so I’ve had a lot of history with it. Our goal is to keep the audience Continue reading

ON SET: JOANNA MCCARTHY + LOUISE MCCARTHY + OCEAN’S 8

What led you both to a career in makeup?
Louise McCarthy: Growing up, our Mum’s love of the classic movies we watched together was contagious. I remember Alfred Hitchcock’s Dial M for Murder and To Catch a Thief. I would be mesmerized by the glamour and suspense of it all! I was truly inspired by the design process of film making — the wardrobe, hair and especially makeup.

Joanna McCarthy: I channeled that same inspiration by earning a degree in fashion at Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC. After graduation, I worked in the fashion
industry and lived in London. Louise was working as a makeup artist in the film and television industry and loving it! After much soul-searching and many discussions with Louise about her career, I decided to go to makeup school — Delamar Academy in London — where Louise trained. I learned from the best in the industry and never looked back.

What brought you to the US?
Joanna: Our father is American and when he was in the Air Force he met my Mum’s brother who introduced them — they will celebrate their 50th Anniversary this October. They lived in Brooklyn for the first two years of marriage before they moved to Dublin where Louise and I grew up.

Louise: I finished high school and Continue reading

ON SET: PATTY BUNCH + WILL & GRACE

The final episode of Will & Grace aired in 2006. What is it like to reunite on a show after more than 10 years?
Truth be told, I was retired and they dusted me off and brought me back just for this! I was the department head and did Megan Mullally, Sean Hayes and Eric McCormack
so it’s really great to be back and see my friends again. We’ve got over half the crew back. Director, James Burrows is back and most of our writers are back. We have a few new, young writers that add a lot of spice to the scripts. Everybody is thrilled to be on board. Between the writing team and acting team, they were born to do this show. They’ve all gone on to do other amazing things, but if you circle back around, Will & Grace is still their greatest accomplishment. For us, as well — the makeup and hair team. When you’re working on a project that is so strong, you up your game. You do it with passion. Everybody encourages you to do better and be better. And you want to be better.

Have there been any changes to the makeup and hair team for the revival?
Karen Kawahara who used to do Debra Messing is on Veep, so we have the fabulous Julie Hewett now. Luke O’Connor and Tim Burke are back for hair. Renee Vaca has joined them. She is a wigmaster and she’s really great. Farah Bunch is back, so you have Mama Bunch and Baby Bunch.

When did Farah join the show?
Farah came in on our second season of Will & Grace and it was cast-chosen. She was doing a sitcom next door to us and she would come over and visit. At that time, Continue reading

ON SET: LA LA LAND + TORSTEN WITTE

La La Land, ta love story between a jazz musician and an aspiring actress following their dreams in the city of stars. The musical explores the importance of everyday life in the pursuit of a once-in-a lifetime love or the spotlight. La La Land grabbed the spotlight, with seven Golden Globe nominations, including best picture, best director and best lead actor and actress nods for stars Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone.

On Makeup Magazine’s Editor at Large Shannon Levy, had the pleasure of sitting down with La La Land makeup department head Torsten Witte for the Fall 2016 print issue. Check out the full interview below. We wish La La Land Nominees the best of luck for the upcoming award season.

How did you get your start in the makeup industry?
I started my career as a hair and makeup artist in Germany working in print and commercials. When I was 21, I moved to Paris, where I got my start in fashion. I just knew that I was going to be a makeup artist. I’m very fortunate to do what I believe I am supposed to be doing and that I love what I do.

How did you come to work on La La Land?
One of my industry friends introduced me to Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling. From that introduction I met Continue reading

ON SET: THE KNICK + NICKI LEDERMANN

theknick
What kind of research did you do to prepare for this early 1900s medical drama? My research for the general look of the period was mostly based on studying and reproducing portraits by American realist painters like Thomas Eakins, famous for all his amazing paintings of the medical theaters, and wonderful portraits by Sargent and Sorolla. I hosted a painting workshop led by my mentor, Cassandra Saulter, a former scenic artist turned makeup artist, and long-time painter and sculptor. My core team and I worked for two weeks on replicating their artwork to understand more of light and contrast, as well as the texture and colors of the faces of the turn of the 20th century, to translate it with painting rather than applying makeup. We had a lot of fun. I also spent a long time researching how and who used makeup since it wasn’t really commercially available back then. The easiest part of the research but crucial to a show about medicine, was researching illnesses, various conditions and their corresponding symptoms and what they do to the body. Because those haven’t really changed, the internet, medical books and our medical consultant on set were our main guides.

Did you learn anything interesting about the makeup for that period?
Women made their own Continue reading