ON SET: Donald Mowat + First Man

How did you come to work on First Man?
I was department heading Blade Runner with Ryan Gosling. Maybe a month in, Ryan said there was a script he’d like me to read and would love for me to work on. And that’s how that came to be. How lucky am I? I had met Damien Chazelle while we were still doing Blade Runner in London. I’d also worked with Mary Zophres, the costume designer. Everything intersected at the same time and felt meant to be. I nearly didn’t do the project because I went through a severe health scare after Blade Runner last summer and I didn’t know if I’d be coming back to work so soon.

How did you put together your makeup team?
It was not a large team partly because I’m really OCD. We were shooting in Atlanta. Some people think you need a seasoned key; I thought maybe not because I wanted
someone who came to the film because they wanted the opportunity rather than they deserved it. I hired Katelyn Barton as my key, a newer key makeup artist who did a really great job. My whole team did. My core team included Katelyn and Kaylee Swisher, plus a lot of additionals. Atlanta has great people from the TV side and I got the sense that they are eager to learn and be taught by old-timers like me.

How did you approach the makeup for this film set in the 1960s?
When you’re working with Damien Chazelle or doing a film like this, it’s not the ‘60s that people naturally think. We were doing real ‘60s. Middle-class America ‘60s. Damien  really wanted it to look like >> Get the Fall 2018 issue for Donald Mowat’s full interview.