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 amazing, talented and committed artists to be on our team, and they were all local Jordanian’s. Farah Jadaane, who was my background supervisor, was instrumental in finding our crew. I also was in such gratitude for my key, Sleiman Tadros.
Another challenge we faced was the lack of a makeup and hair trailer, which we are so accustomed to. The trailer is our on location workspace and without that we had to think outside of the box. We ended up setting up a mini base camp in rooms at our hotel and we would get the cast ready and then transport to location where we did get a small four-station trailer. We had a lot of back and forth with tools and supplies and that was challenging.
Did working in Jordan create challenges due to the environment and the climate with regards to makeup application? If so, what and how did you work around it?
Fortunately, I have had the experience of working in New Mexico on many shows, including lots of westerns. The climate is very similar so I feel that we were prepared for most of the challenges that we encountered. The real challenge was that we didn’t have a workspace, which was difficult, especially when you are working with 3D transfers, alcohol colors and blood. We just really had to make sure we were completely prepared to have all supplies on hand at all times.
Looking back, is there anything you would have changed with hindsight?
I would have really liked spending more time outside of work with my crew. They worked so hard and I never heard any complaints about the amount of work or the distance of our locations. They were such troopers and we really couldn’t have done it without them. I have such gratitude for all of them.
The cast was quite diverse. Please tell us about your favorite products to use while working on this show?
We focused on less is more as this is what our director and producer asked for.
We used a lot of Armani foundations; they were definitely a staple. Armani
foundations come in a variety of formulations so they tend to work for almost
anyone. Good cover-ups were essential as the changing of weather and travel
gave us a few breakouts.
What was your collaborative process for creating the looks for this show?
It started with meeting the director. Geordie Sheffer (DH Hair) and there were a variety of meetings before shooting which took place with James McTeigue as well as the showrunner and writer, Michael Petroni. As we starting casting we would have meetings with the cast regarding their idea of their character. This was most certainly collaborative effort with hair, makeup, and costumes because it is important to have open communication with all of the departments for the creation to come together properly.
Who made up your core team?
We started in New Mexico and my key for the US was Sheila Trujillo-Gomez, Corey Welk was my 3rd, Collette Tolen, Karla Munze, Jon Shroyer, Brian Perkal, Jerrad Grey. We also had many other day players along the way. When we traveled to Nashville we picked up Julie Callahan and several others. We also picked up several more people in Washington DC so it was always changing and expanding.
Whose makeup were you responsible for?
I was directly responsible for our lead, Michelle Monaghan, Medhi Debhi, Tomer Sisley, Beau Bridges, Sayyid El Alami, Assaad Bouab, Ori Pheffer, and Dermot Mulroney. As the Department Head I was responsible for creating the design of all of the looks and to oversee the entire cast.
What was the best part about working on Messiah?
I really try to work on projects that are storytelling. It is always fulfilling when you can take something from the page and bring it to the screen. I think Michael Petroni’s writing is exceptional and the collaboration with all departments made this project worthwhile.
Tell us about your kit focus and must-have products and why?
I was mentored by the likes of Harry Blake, Maurice Stein, Tommy Cole, Tom Burman and they taught me that you should always be able to do anything from your kit. Of course so much of that has changed and there are so many products of the utmost quality to choose from now. I do like to keep to my roots of how I learned and to always keep it simple. I like Sian Richards palettes as they come in many different tones. I love to keep several in my kit. I also love the Blue Bird alcohol palettes and I try to keep a little bit of everything just in case the director wants something that we were not anticipating. There were plenty of stipple sponges, latex, blood, Rose Bud Salve and those are just a few of the things required. OH!!! SUNSCREEN, SUNSCREEN SUNSCREEN!! I found a great non-greasy creation using a mix of sunscreen and daily moisturizer in Rhonda Allisons Broad Spectrum. It was the BEST!
Photos Courtesy of: Netflix
Words: Erika Lee Cohoe-Fitzgerald