http://taltybaptistchurch.org/events/2018-02-03/?outlook-ical=1 How did you come to work on Poor Things?  http://sjfiremuseum.org/?mcsf_action=main_css
I had worked with Yorgos Lanthimos and Emma Stone on The Favourite so I had an existing relationship with them and also did Cruella with Emma. I woke up one morning to receive an email asking if I wanted to be part of their next adventure and I sent a picture back of me holding the book and a thumbs up.

As this is your third collaboration with Emma Stone, how collaborative was the design process for creating the Bella character? 
It’s always very collaborative, when you work closely together and have a friendship, trust builds so it’s an open space for ideas and you start to know what she will respond to. She gives me a lot of freedom though and lets me play out ideas, no matter how crazy they seem, which is amazing. As Emma was a producer on this, she had a strong overall sense of the world too which helped.

What was your reference/inspiration for the hair and makeup design for this rather fantastical world of Poor Things? 
I had seen what our production designers and costume designer were doing and their starting references. I could see we were creating something very different. I wanted to create hair and makeup we hadn’t really seen on screen before and wanted to tell the characters’ stories through hair and makeup. We had an Egon Schiele painting as a reference for Bella and a Francis Bacon painting for Baxter as an early reference.

As Bella begins to develop and go out into society, how do her hair and makeup evolve during her journey? 
Bella’s hair tells its own story. It grows at an accelerated rate which I used to change the length as she travels to different places. It ends at 42 inches in Paris and is generally always kept down especially in the early parts because Bella wouldn’t know to dress her hair up as a lady in polite society. She has no idea of society’s rules and doesn’t conform. I think the hair color, length, and style make her stand out in her surroundings. Bella starts the film with no makeup at all because she’s a baby and wouldn’t wear it, she has no reference to makeup and only starts to play with it when meeting Madame Swiney at the brothel where makeup is used for a purpose.

Can you tell me about the design for the Parisian brothel makeup and Madame Swiney? 
The color palette of the brothel was a key part of the design. I wanted to use anatomical colors like blood reds, blue of veins, and pinks of skin. I wanted the makeup to be different from anything we had seen up to that point in the film. The girls would use makeup to attract customers to the brothel, painting themselves so I wanted it to be bold.  It has a strange 1930s style, but as usual with a Yorgos film, we kind of bent the rules with that.

What inspired the tattoo design for Madame Swiney? 
I knew there would only be one scene when she is uncovered and I was thinking about this incredible character, who she is and how did she get to be running this brothel. I had an old reference photo of a tattooed lady and when Yorgos said yes, I ran with the idea. She has over 100 individual tattoos, all designed for the character and her unique physicality and movement. She has octopus, fish, snakes, French sailors’ names, and a whole life mapped out over her body.

What inspired the Dr. Goldwin Baxter makeup and what was your design process like for executing it on Willem Dafoe? 
I worked with Mark Coulier and Josh Weston, our prosthetics designer and supervisor, to create Baxter and it was a long, tough process because you are creating something very new and there are no perimeters so it’s hard to know when you have it right or wrong. The guys did a lot of concept art and Josh did many sculptures until we landed on something that worked. Then it was time to test on Willem.  The script tells us that Baxter’s father operated on him and we wanted to map that out on his face with precise surgical scars.

Can you tell me about the makeup/hair journey of Duncan (Mark Ruffalo) and Max (Ramy Youseff) in this film? 
Both of these characters have subtle but important journeys with hair and makeup and both again show a connection to society and their place in it.  When we meet Duncan, he is perfectly coiffed and put together, he oozes confidence but through his love of Bella and the fact he can’t control her, he begins to unravel. His hair loses its style, he’s unshaven and by the time we see him in the asylum, he’s lost control of his look. Max is the opposite, we meet him as a poor student trying his best to make himself presentable, and as his status changes throughout the film, he becomes smarter and more put together.

Do you have a favorite look in the film? 
It’s so hard to choose because I’m so proud of it as a whole but I really love Madame Swiney’s tattoos!

What did you love most about working on this project?
I love how creative I was allowed to be. It doesn’t happen very often that you are set free so much on a film and it means you come up with things you didn’t even know you had in you.

Words: Shannon Levy
Photos: Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures