ON SET: TARRA DAY + MESSIAH

How did you come to work on Messiah?
Stewart Lyons, my Line Producer from Breaking Bad recommended me to David Nicksay the Line Producer of Messiah and he contacted me while I was shooting
Green Book. He said Messiah would be an epic journey and after reading the first two episodes, I knew I wanted to do it.

Tell us about the challenges of working in Jordan and how you met those challenges? 
Having never been to that part of the world, I had no idea what we would be up against. My first concern was the availability of a qualified crew. Much to our surprise, we found Continue reading

ON SET: CINDY MIGUENS + FRESH OFF THE BOAT

How did you come to work on Fresh Off The Boat? 
I was lucky to have worked with the Production Manager, Jennifer Anderson on Pretty Little Liars, as well as other projects throughout the years and when she was looking for a Department Head Makeup she thought of me.

The show revolves around a family who is acclimating to a new experience in a new country. How did the social or cultural considerations that would go along with this concept come into play in your makeup design?  
The only difference I would say is the shape of the Asian eye, and you apply eyeshadow differently to compliment that shape and accent with lots of lashes.

Were there any specific inspirations for any of the characters' looks?  
The show is based in Orlando Florida, during the ’90s, so it is a period show. Back in the '90s, tans were a big thing, defined groomed eyebrows, body shimmer, lined lips, as well as a Smokey eye.

Can you tell us about the looks for Constance Wu's character; Jessica Huang? 
Constance Wu plays a housewife, who has written a book and is involved in her kid’s school. Her characters look is very put together. I give her character a smokey eye using the Anastasia Soft Glam palette, with DIOR Brow Styler to give her that perfect brow, and Urban Decay Corrupt eyeliner pencil to accent the Continue reading

ON SET: MELANIE HUGHES-WEAVER + CHARLIE’S ANGELS

How did you come to work on Charlie’s Angels?
I have worked with Elizabeth Banks for quite some time; often on smaller films as well as the first film Elizabeth directed which was Pitch Perfect 2 and again on Pitch Perfect 3. In total, we have collaborated seven times. She asked me to be a part of Charlie’s Angels and I was excited by the modern twist she put on this script and the fact that she wrote it, was directing it as well as starring in it. I was excited to be a part of this film and I liked the concept in the story and that it shines a light on the hero in all of us. It was important for me to put time aside to work on this film as I believe in unification and sisterhood is a great thing. If I was able to put my artistic spin on a project like this, I was ready to do it. 

How much time was put into pre-production?
I think we were prepping 6 weeks out. We were working on tear sheets and meetings and there was so much to collaborate on. We hired an international crew, which meant finding people with the right work ethic and everything that would work well for us. It meant finding a crew that was up for the challenges for traveling to multiple locations such as Germany and Istanbul. All of this needed synchronicity under incredibly demanding situations and I think we walked away with a feeling of unification of artistry. It was incredibly rewarding. We all learned so much from each other and I truly don’t think the learning ever stops.  Continue reading

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