This year's Oscar nominees for makeup and hairstyling worked on three very different movies but they did have one thing in common: a knack for making healthy young actors look significantly closer to death.
Using everything from detailed prosthetics to common pantry items, these artists turned Matthew McConaughey into an HIV-positive patient given 30 days to live in "Dallas Buyers Club," Johnny Depp into a 120-year-old Tonto in "The Lone Ranger," and Johnny Knoxville into an 86-year-old "Bad Grandpa" in the first iteration of the "Jackass" series to earn the academy's regard. Here we asked them each for a remembrance of their project.
Joel Harlow and Gloria Pasqua-Casny, "The Lone Ranger"
Harlow: The inspiration for Tonto "happened in Puerto Rico in 2009. Johnny and I were doing 'The Rum Diary,' and I was pulling images for this carnival sequence. And one of these images I got off the Internet was of this painting 'I Am Crow' by Kirby Sattler. It's the pale face with the black lines through the eyes. I think the bird is flying behind his head, but the illusion is that it's on his head. And Johnny was like, 'Let's pull that aside and maybe use that for Tonto.' And at the time, the movie was shelved. So I suggested that we test the makeup. Photos circulated to [producer] Jerry Bruckheimer and [director] Gore Verbinski, and that's basically what got it up and running again."
Pasqua-Casny: "We had Johnny Depp and everybody tied to the top of the train going 40 miles an hour, and their action could be [their] back to the wind, facing the wind. So it was keeping hair out of his eyes, going backward on top of a train, that was my biggest challenge. It was a lot of hair. And you know, I sewed it to his breast plate. I wove black thread through it and pulled out what hair was allowed to fly. Occasionally, the train would go in the right direction, and I could have a coffee at crafty, but not often. They would always say, 'Hair!' And I'd have to climb up on top of a train. Literally, they pulled out the ladder for you."
Stephen Prouty, nominated for "Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa"
"[The old-age makeup] had to read in person as well as on film realistically, so that was definitely the biggest challenge of this. There are some people inches from [Johnny Knoxville's] face, and we have to fool them every day of the shooting. During the sculpting and design phase of makeup, we surrounded the sculpture tables with reference casts of old people, and that's always a big help. And as far as the painting and paint work goes, people really seem to respond well to the liver spots. And we laid hair on the back of his neck and on his ears, and it just gave it another layer of dimension."
"In the film, he crashes through the window on a toy ride. When he came back over to watch the playback on it, there were pieces of glass sticking into the silicone makeup, and we were able to pluck those out. So it almost acted like a little seal to keep it from penetrating to his skin. There were a couple of pieces stuck in his real skin, like his hands and that. But for the most part, his face was fine."
Adruitha Lee and Robin Mathews, nominated for "Dallas Buyers Club"
Mathews: "One of the things that the AIDS patients all tend to get toward the end of their lives is something called seborrheic dermatitis. And it's a rosacea colored, patchy, flaky, dry, crusty rash that they get on certain parts of their faces. And normally, I would have used prosthetics for that, but we had no time, no money. So I had to work with what I could afford. After I went through the whole process of making the rash on their faces using this material called Green Marble Concentrate, once the last layer was drying, I pressed grits and cornmeal into the surface of the rash to make it look like this seborrheic dermatitis. And it worked! But unfortunately, there was no money left to buy grits and cornmeal, so I had call my mom up, and say, 'Mom, can I borrow these out of your pantry?' "
Lee: "[Jared Leto] was not going to meet the director as anything but [his character] Rayon, so we had to pull wigs. I did pull one, and I pulled another one, and [director Jean-Marc Vallée] didn't like it. It looked too good. I did all kinds of stuff to it and cut holes, you name it, to make it look like what Jean-Marc had envisioned. And finally after the third attempt, I took it out in the parking lot, threw it down and ran over it about 10 times with my car. And picked it up, shook it off, and I said, 'OK,' brought it in. Nobody knew about it. And then we put it on Rayon, and Jean-Marc said, 'I love it. Perfect.' "Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun