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 that specific era, while staying true to the technical aspects of those times was fun. Being a Marvel fan since childhood, I had an enormous sense of gratitude and joy bringing my fandom knowledge to work. It was helpful that both of us have worked on past Marvel productions, but this was the first one Tricia and I did together, which made it even more special. The biggest challenge was resuming our filming during Covid. We all had to adjust to the new protocols and readjust our own approach and processes.

Were there adjustments in design or application that were needed for the changes of filming in color and black and white?
TS:
The first two episodes were shot in black and white with the end of the second turning into color. Our DP Jess Hall was fantastic. He used period lighting, so we had to make adjustments to skin tones and colors used on the actors. I changed the undertone of Lizzie’s foundation and makeup to pink and used an aqua blue eyeshadow, winged eyeliner with full strip false lashes, almond shaped nails painted in orange reds, and apricot blush. This looked like a “period sitcom natural makeup” on her. Knowing the end of the second episode switches to color, I chose colors that would photograph well in both mediums such as neutral beiges and browns on her eyes and Lorac Technicolor blush, one of my all-time favorites. We went with slightly shorter nails in a deeper red for the 1960s. Vision’s makeup also had to change for black and white. In black and white, his signature red would not have photographed how our eye would perceive it. Bart Mixon who did the original Vision makeup did many tests to get the blue just right, and a member of our Atlanta team did the application.

Are there changes to design as the characters begin to question or understand deeper parts of what’s going on in the story line?
TS:
Each character goes through several changes. Agatha and Wanda go through the most dramatic changes. Wanda has her biggest transformation in the finale. Each change is like a metamorphosis for the character. We learn a little more with each new incarnation.

VT: Absolutely. Kathryn Hann’s Agatha has her big reveal in episode 7, with a catchy theme song to boot, and in episode 8 she’s in full Agatha mode. I wanted her to emanate something sinister without going overboard. Focusing various shades of greys on the inner bridge of her nose and on the inner part of her eyes, I drew my inspirationfrom Siouxsie Sioux. I wanted something theatrical and creepy, but still beautiful.

Can you tell me about the Wanda look from the finale?
TS:
I pulled a lot from the comics, but my main source of inspiration was from Andy Park who is the Director of Visual Development for Marvel Studios. His drawings are exquisite. My job was to marry Lizzie’s idea of the Scarlet Witch with Andy’s, our wonderful director Matt Shakman’s and mine. I also knew we were establishing something very special. For her eyes, I used Pat McGrath Labs Mothership VII in Divine Rose. I completed the eye with MAC Power Surge on the water line. I darkened Lizzie’s skin a shade with Kevyn Aucoin Foundation Balm in 6 and 9 because I knew we would be shooting her in a lot of warm and red light. For lips, YSL Rouge Volupte Shine #91with Laura Mercier Red Chocolate lip liner. To define her cheek bones, Kevyn Aucoin The Art of Sculpting and Defining Volume 111.

You two have worked together on quite a lot of projects! What’s the secret?
TS
: Vasilios and I have worked together for more than 10 years and known each other even longer. We are family. We have gotten to the point where we don’t even need to speak, we can just look at each other.

VT: With all the personal and technical aspects of our positions, and our relationship aside, there are countless nuances to this industry that most people strive to achieve. We’ve been fortunate in our careers because of our bond and our high standard work ethics.

Words Shannon Levy
Photos Courtesy Marvel Studio