ON SET: TRICIA SAWYER + VASILIOS TANIS + WANDAVISION

WandaVision is a blend of old school sitcom and a universe that is very Marvel. Seems like a big challenge.
Tricia Sawyer:
This job was a challenge and a dream. Some days we had sitcoms, some days we had the MCU, and some days we had both. At times, it felt more like we were filming a six-hour Marvel movie. Each actor had a period look and MCU look; some actors had several of each. Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) had six period looks plus Halloween — the traditional comic book Wanda — four MCU matches and her finale look. Agnes (Kathryn Hahn) had five period looks, Halloween and her Agatha Harkness look. We had a red synthezoid Vision, white Vision and blue Vision, as well as human Vision in every decade.

The first episode was also shot before a live audience using period lights and in black and white. To say this job was a challenge is an understatement. The sitcoms were very fun to shoot. The MCU was a little more nerve-racking for me because I was matching to the movies — some of which I hadn’t worked on. We know how fanatical the Marvel fans are, so we felt the pressure to get it right.

Vasilios Tanis To say you had to bring your A-game to work every day would be putting it lightly. As makeup artists, this project was a dream. To be able to reference different time periods and the shows that represented Continue reading

ON SET: MARC PILCHER + BRIDGERTON

What was your design process like on Bridgerton?
I always begin a project by reading the script a few times over, trying to get to know the characters and how I can convey their personalities through their hair and makeup. Once I’ve read the script, then alongside my research of books and paintings of the time and my knowledge of history, I start to formulate my ideas of how I can reflect their personalities through the hair and makeup. I then put these ideas to the actors in their initial fittings. I was lucky with Bridgerton that all the actors loved my ideas. So, once we received approval from the producers, we were good to go.

Where did you draw inspiration from in terms of makeup and hair?
Most of my inspiration comes from the usual books and paintings of the period, but I also have a good knowledge of history, and also spent my formative years watching old black and white movies and musicals of the golden era of Hollywood. People say that I have the memory of an Elephant; it’s all kept in those little grey cells in my brain ready for a new production. For example, Daphne’s look was based on Audrey Hepburn from the film War and Peace. On her first meeting with me, her eyebrows, with her hair taken up tightly reminded me of Audrey Hepburn in this film. I then adapted it to what I felt was right for Daphne. War and Peace was made in the 1950s but again the story was set in the Regency period so her makeup had to have that no makeup look, but still leaving her soft, dewy and stunning.

You come from a theater background and this show has a very theatrical feel to it. Did your history working in stage help or hinder your process with this project?
I began my career in 1988, after graduating from The London College of Fashion. I landed a job on Continue reading

ON SET: LOUIE ZAKARIAN + SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE

How long have you been Department Head on SNL?
Ive been Department Head at for the past 25 years. It’s so crazy to think about it seems like yesterday I was doing my first show. I still get butterflies in my belly when the band starts playing the music during warm up.

How has working on SNL changed the most over all those years?
It has changed drastically. With the switch to HD it all had to change. The colors we used became more vivid. Every little thing showed. With prosthetics it really made a difference painting and application had to change. Before HD if there was a little edge you couldn’t see it but in the HD world everything had to be film quality.

This season I’ve started to do a lot more 3-D printing and 3-D scanning. In the past if we had to build a prosthetic for a host or cast member we would do a lifecast. But now I have every host Come in on a Tuesday and I scanned them just to be prepared in case.

How does 3D printing effect the process?
In the past if the host needed a prosthetic I would not get them in for a life cast until Thursday afternoon or end of day. But now because we have our 3-D printers and 3-D scanners I have the host come in on Tuesday do a head scan which takes about 10 minutes and then print their head overnight so that if I have to read through on Wednesday I need it I have it and it’s ready to go.

While in Covid lockdown I was trying to think of how we can still do Continue reading

ON SET: ERYN KRUGER MEKASH + HILLBILLY ELEGY

How did you come to work on Hillbilly Elegy?
A wonderful producer I worked for on My Sister’s Keeper called me and asked if I was available. My pal Patrica Dehaney and Amy Adam’s makeup artist Kate Biscoe put together a shortlist of people they thought would be good for the film, and I was chosen for the project. Very exciting!

The story revolves around a family who don’t necessarily take great care of themselves physically, Mamaw is a heavy smoker, Bev is a drug user, they are poor and presumably don’t eat healthily. How do you reflect their lifestyle through makeup design?
I knew that skin texture plays a part in reflecting lifestyle. Matthew Mungle created the prosthetics and did the initial test on Glenn so I had a template. After our makeup tests with cameras and lighting I knew I needed to pump up the details. Matthew liked what I did with Glenn and I adjusted as each lighting scenario changed. Mamaw was in the sun and was a smoker and a high stress lifestyle. Patty and I made sure we could see that; the rest was Glenn’s amazing performance.

Amy has beautiful skin with fine pores (and so does Glenn). I worked with Dave Anderson of AFX to create two Continue reading

ON SET: SHARON MARTIN + JINGLE JANGLE: A CHRISTMAS JOURNEY

How did you come to be involved with Jingle Jangle
I became involved in Jingle Jangle when the writer director David Talbert sent me the script, which i read and immediately fell in love with the project, from a standpoint of seeing Black  representation in a positive, fun way. The very idea of Afro hair in a Victorian setting was too exciting not be get involved

What was the design process like?
The design process was a very collaborative one, David Talbert has been working on the project for over twenty years, so to have their trust to bring your ideas to the table was generous of them and liberating for me. I worked with a concept artist to present early ideas and launched from there.

How many makeup artists and hair stylists were on your team?
My core team was made up of myself, a Key Makeup Niamh O’Loan, Key Hairstylist Kat Fa, Laura Blount as crowd supervisor, Klara Levring junior makeup and hair and trainee Angella Appiah. We also had a regular team of Continue reading

ON SET: MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM + MATIKI ANOFF + MIA NEAL + SERGIO LOPEZ-RIVERA

We had a chance to chat with the makeup and hair team behind the captivating Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. Makeup Department Head Matiki Anoff, makeup artist to Viola Davis, Sergio Lopez-Rivera and Hair Department Head Mia Neal, share techniques and behind-the-scenes stories from reviving Ma and her band in the Netflix film based on the play by August Wilson.

How did each of you come to work on this project?
Matiki: I worked on Fences with Denzel Washington and Viola. At the end of that production, Denzel told us he had the whole catalog of August Wilson’s material, and at that time he told us we’d be doing one project a year. So, I came to the project through the producers Denzel and Todd Black.

Sergio: I was working with Viola on How to Get Away with Murder for six seasons. She told me this project was coming, but by the time I got a phone call from producer Dany Wolf I had already said yes to going over to London to supervise Bridgerton. Long story short, Bridgerton didn’t need me anymore so I called Dany and told him I was still available. I got lucky.

Mia: I’ve worked with the costume designer, Ann Roth, several times and I’ve worked with Continue reading

ON SET: DENISE KUM + MULAN

What did you know about Mulan going in?
I missed the generation of the whole Disney princess film, but of course I knew about it because it was the only Chinese princess in the genre. Because my ancestry is Chinese, I knew more about the story of Mulan that had been handed down through fables, so I was aware of the story. 

This marks your sixth collaboration with director Niki Caro. How did you get chosen for this film?
Niki and I are old friends and long-time collaborators. When it got announced she was doing it, she asked me to do it, and we’ve been talking about this for several years. Of course, I had to get approved by Disney, but they must have liked what we did together in the past because here I am.

Disney has had a great success rate with transforming its animated classics into live-action films. Were their certain looks from that movie that needed to be replicated?
They were never descriptive in that way. Our film is rooted more on the fable than the other Disney princess fairytales. Of course, we were very aware of the Continue reading

ON SET: CANDICE ORNSTEIN + LUCKY BROMHEAD + SCHITT’S CREEK

How did you get involved with Schitt’s Creek?
Candice Ornstein: Schitt’s Creek reached out to me in its second season, based on a  recommendation from actress Sarah Power, who had Dan Levy’s ear. That’s how my five seasons as makeup department head on the show began. Lucky Bromhead: I used to be the head of makeup for MTV in Canada where I met Dan, who was one of the hosts. We started our working relationship back in 2006, and had developed somewhat of a shorthand when it came to communicating things visually. I also worked with  Catherine O’Hara before Schitt’s Creek on the Match Game, so we started our relationship a bit before Schitt’s Creek, as well.

What was your inspiration for Moira Rose’s look?
LB: Catherine and I really wanted her to look chic, wealthy, timeless, and a touch eccentric. Catherine, myself and Continue reading

ON SET: BURTON LEBLANC + THE HANDMAID’S TALE

How did you come to work on The Handmaid’s Tale?
I heard The Handmaid’s Tale was going to be shooting in Toronto late summer/fall. I was working on the Stephen Spielberg produced show, American Gothic, at the time. I
contacted The Handmaid’s Tale production office and requested a script. Once I read the fantastic script, I realized that I needed to be part of it! I talked to the Production
Manager — we worked together on a show about a year before and had a great rapport. He thought I would be a perfect fit for the show and Elisabeth Moss, in particular, and
said she would be in touch.

Soon after she phoned me, we chatted about what ideas I had for the show and her character, Offred/June, for Gilead and flashbacks. I phoned the PM the next day to see when he wanted me to come in for an interview. He said, no need Lizzie loved what you had to say and the job is yours. Amazing!

Where did you draw your inspiration for creating the makeup for the women in Gilead?
I was so taken aback with the script and the rawness of the story that I knew the makeup had to Continue reading

ON SET: ERYN KRUEGER MEKASH + HOLLYWOOD

How did you come to get involved in Hollywood?
I’ve had a long relationship with Ryan Murphy. I’ve worked for him for 17 years on almost all of his projects, and the ones I haven’t been hands-on with I’ve staffed for him. I met him on Nip/Tuck. James Mackinnon was the department head on the pilot and asked me to be his key. James left to do another show and I moved up to department head. I was there with Stephanie Fowler Ziese until Glee started in 2008. Then Running With Scissors, Eat, Pray, Love, American Horror Story, People vs. OJ, Feud, Versace, Ratched, Hollywood, and recently the film, The Prom. I get to do a lot of time period
perfect projects for him. I love the 1940s. It’s very clean and precise. I was very excited he asked me to do it. This is a period piece that has both historical and fictional characters in the storyline.

How did your design process differ for each type of character?
The process always starts with the script and then costume design. Lou Eyrich and Sarah Evelyn were the designers and they showed me early on the color palette and textures they were using. I looked at sets and Continue reading