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.
How did you build your team?
Word of mouth is still really a great form of promotion. People talk about others and we’re looking for those that are dependable, have a good character base and are talented. We can learn from somebody who’s very, very new as well as someone seasoned. If I hear of a newer person over and over and the information is positive, I will sit down for an interview with them. I’m willing to look at someone who doesn’t have that strong of a resume but I hear good things about them. I’ll meet with somebody and consider them if I can. I will have them help in background where I can test them out and that allows me to see how they work, communicate, and if they have a good instinct and know-how to cover people well. It’s also important to know the subtleties of makeup, not just how to apply a lot of makeup as well as understand lighting.
What was the size of your makeup department?
Our team would range from 5 to 15 people with our first, second and third units depending on how long the units were. That also included Kristen Stewarts’ personal makeup artist, Stacey Panepinto. That would fluctuate but we worked as a standard crew of 5 and it would build from there.
Tell us about the makeup looks for the film?
Regarding the overall looks, we developed smart looks with a beauty Intel that would be flexible depending on the character and their personality and the action-packed demands. It would start in a soft and naturalist look for fight sequences and flow into beauty looks. We had the attraction of creating artistic choices and we chose to move from naturalistic to glam to women warriors.
There was inspiration from the original Charlie’s Angels, while considering the creative process. The globe-trotting, high-octane spy franchise certainly brings a wide range of beauty looks. We tried to be bold with our shadows, liner, lashes, and lips, but sometimes it meant less lash and to pull back to allow it to feel more modern. When we pulled back into a more naturalistic look we tried to showcase the natural confidence and power of women from all walks of life and then select an aesthetic that would build on the authenticity of each character and her strength.
Any specific looks that were your favorite?
There are so many that I like but the compound where we had to create doppelgangers out of the three women who are very different looking from each other. We had these great Vidal Sassoon wigs that we called the mushroom wig. We did a specific red lip from Julie Hewett called Belle Noir, which was my favorite red on this movie. We played with their skin tones and kind of created sameness even though their skin tones were so different. I enjoyed that.
The thing I loved about Ella Balinska is she would have this smokey brown eye that was her signature look and then it would move into a dark liner, which was her warrior. We would go all the way to building up a peacock shimmer shine of shadows, which was so beautiful and sexy. We would glamorize her and yet she would be wearing a gun on her leg. It was fun to go from one end to the other.
Working with Naomi, I really can’t say enough about her. We tried to build on her skin and have her in an organic business look and then slowly, as she was becoming a Charlie’s Angel we would intensify her look. Her beauty was her bone structure. The difference between these makeup looks was that we were never trying to make them into someone else. These girls would be in their disguise yet you would still know who they were. That is part of what was fun and the modern twist in this.
Tell us about working on such an iconic film with such a history behind it?
I certainly was so proud of working on this film! I loved watching Charlie’s Angels as a young girl. The women were so smart, beautiful, confident and playful. To work on a film of this capacity and to continue that story that there is a Bosley in all of us was truly special. It was fun and playful. Also, there’s a lot of men in this movie too and the collaboration there is important within this forward female world. We certainly still need the man too, but you know the women are leading and being confident in themselves and part of that confidence comes from appreciating the rest that flows into that. It’s a film led by strong women and it was about honoring men too. It’s important to stand side-by-side in co-creating.
Must have products on set?
KohGen Do Spa Cleansing Water was perfect for quick changes and cleaning up. I love Face Atelier foundations. I could mix them, layer them, thin them out, and build them up. Anastasia Cream Contour allowed me to mix colors on the fly and use them as color correctors quickly. Bobbi Brown Gel Eyeliner Pencil in Pitch Black and Chocolate Truffle are always in my kit.
Lipsticks from Julie Hewett were a must have for this production. Elizabeth Banks wears Jacqueline while driving Naomi around in the film, It’s a fantastic pink. Other must-haves on set were MAC Mineralize Skin Finish Powder, Dr. Haushka Lip Balm, Senna Cream to Powder Foundation, YSL Shock Mascara, L’Oreal Paris Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara.
Words: Erika Lee Cohoe-Fitzgerald
Photos: Ed Salsbury (Impact24)