http://rhythmsfitness.com/wp-content/plugins/wpgateway/css/style.css How did you come to work on West Side Story?
I’d worked on Bridge of Spies and The Post with Steven Speilberg. When I heard that he was going to direct West Side Story, I was hopeful he’d ask me to design it. I later learned that Lois Burwell was enlisted to design and department head for him. Aside from being a lovely person, Lois is a brilliant designer and incredibly talented artist. She’s made a long list of iconic films throughout her career, many of them alongside Steven. It made so much sense that he would ask her to create the looks he wanted for Westside Story. Somewhere along the line, she couldn’t do it. That’s when I got the call. Lois is an idol of mine and trying to step into her shoes would be a huge challenge for anyone, but I worked up the courage and set out to do my best. It was one of the most rewarding experiences of my career and I just hoped that Lois would think I did ok.
where to buy Clomiphene pct uk How do you approach design when working on such an iconic film, that has also been a stage production and built in expectations from the audience?
I’d only ever seen the film version, and as beloved and iconic as it was, I hoped to reinvent the makeups. My goal was to stay true to the period, and it was very important for the makeup to be relatable and timeless. The costumes designed by Paul Tazewell, the sets designed by Adam Stockhausen, and cinematography by Janusz Kaminski were all so beautiful with accents of color and vibrance. The color palette of the film had a heightened aesthetic that I loved so much, and I strived to create that in my palette as well.
The makeup design felt authentically period yet also somehow modern. How did you accomplish this?
The story is very emotional and visceral, and still relevant on many levels. Sometimes period films take the looks very literally, and the characters come off looking too perfect. I took the period seriously, but while keeping that in mind, I wanted to break it down as well. Complexions were handled in a minimalist way with little product. They probably wore more sunscreen than foundation. The Sharks and Jets had a rawness to them; they all had hints of sweat and veils of dirt. They cleaned up a bit for the Dance at the gym, but still the tattoos, subtle scabs and cuts across knuckles and elbows, a flush in their cheeks, and faded scars helped tell the story of who they were in their day to day lives. My approach for the Shark and Jet girls was to give them the classic 1950s elements but keep their skin bare, fresh, and real looking. We used washes of shimmery blue and green on the eyes with a classic winged liner, primary and orangey reds and corals on the mouth. That gave them the look of the period while keeping them youthful and relatable.
Working with Rita Moreno as Valentina must have been surreal given her important role of Anita in the original film. Can you tell us about creating her makeup design?
Rita is a class act; engaging, intuitive, funny, and she knows her way around the makeup trailer. She taught me all her makeup tricks and made finding Valentina a true delight. During our first makeup session, I’d done most of her makeup, and when I reached for the brow pencil she said: No, You’re not going to try and do my brows. I said: Yes, I’m going to do them, and you’ll have a look, and if I mess up, you’ll fix it and then I’ll learn! So, I had a go, she scrutinized, and reluctantly said not bad. She made a small adjustment, I watched and learned, and we were friends for life after that.
There is a lot of dancing and movement in the film. Was there anything special you did from an application standpoint to accommodate all that movement?
No. I couldn’t think of a way to keep the makeup lasting longer under those extreme conditions that wouldn’t compromise the way I wanted the skin to look. I had a wonderful team of makeup artists: Mandy Bisesti, Angela Johnson, Jane Dipersio, and Christina Grant, and many others who worked tirelessly throughout those scenes in the blazing summer heat to keep the makeup looking the way I wanted it to look.
Can you share some of the key products you used for Rachel Ziegler’s makeup as Maria?
MAC Paint Pot in Quite Natural, Pat Mcgrath Permagel Ultra Glide Eye Pencil in BLK Coffee, Pat Mcgrath LuxeTrance Lipstick 418, Ogee Tinted Sculpted Lip Oil, MAC PRO Face Palette Blush in Deep Blush.
What other must-have products were on set?
My custom-made tattoos by Hookup tattoos and Hookup sealer, Ultimatte Matt Sealer by Gamut, Kryolan Fixing Spray, Reel Creations Greg Cannom Aging palette—amazing colors for simulating faded scars, Brushes by Bdellium, Temptu Air Airbrush, European Body Art Endura Skin and Alcohol Palettes, Rob Smith Flow Blood, Maekup Bloody Real Dark Blood.
What did you enjoy most about working on West Side Story?
I’m typically not a fan of musicals but I 100% loved everything about this project. The cast was inspirational, Steven Spielberg and producer Kristie Macosko Krieger were the greatest leaders. I had the best team of makeup artists I could hope for. I got to go to work every day surrounded and supported by talented friends. What more could I ask for?
Words Shannon Levy
Photos Courtesy of 20th Century Studios