Movie Makeup Tip: It’s OK To Go Old School

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Movie makeup and special effects wizardy is very much a study and exercise in materials science. Since the dawn of film, artists have been been toying with synthetic appliances, pigments, and all kinds of organic matter. Through the years, new materials, digital tools and rendering software, like ZBrush, have boosted efficiency and creativity.

Rick Baker, the legendary makeup artist behind films like An American Werewolf in London, Thriller, and those Eddie-Murphy-fat-guy films, isn’t a purist when it comes to adopting new technologies. He’s stated very clearly that he embraces the use of CGI because it can accomplish what’s literally impossible &mdash even for him.

And yet, for the upcoming film The Wolfman, starring Benicio Del Toro (pic above), the guru of gore decided to go old school. As an homage to makeup artist Jack Pierce, who created the effects in the original film from 1941, the Academy Award-winning special effects master decided to ditch silicone and other newfangled materials for the stuff of yesteryear &mdash foam rubber, acrylic teeth and yak hair. Yes, yak hair, which Pierce used along with kelp to transform Lon Chaney into the o.g. wolfman.

So how does Baker’s wolf compare?

Not sure. The film was originally due in April, got bumped to November. Color me curious to see the transformation and F/X, but concerned about everything else.

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4 Responses to Movie Makeup Tip: It’s OK To Go Old School

  1. Jadyn says:

    Orders are going to start flooding in after Kanebo Sensai cleanser got itself an endorsement from one of the biggest celebrities in the world. Miley Cyrus recently lauded Kanebo Sensai cleanser in a Twitter post, and she did so without being paid in any way whatsoever for the endorsement. Kanebo Sensai is a skin care and cosmetics line which purports to use only natural ingredients. Cyrus is immensely popular and wealthy, and some consider a lack of compensation to be spurious, as the holding companies that own Kanebo have been in financial trouble. Still, a lot of people will go to a payday loan store to get Kanebo Sensai cleanser on her recommendation.

  2. artbot says:

    Here are some of Baker’s CG creations from the CGTalk cg website. It’s an exquisite gallery of new tech from an old master.

    http://monstermaker.cgsociety.org/gallery/

  3. knoxblox says:

    @Jaydn — WTF does that have to do with the blog post? This is a perfect example of how marketing has reached an all-time low.

  4. WalterBillington says:

    BdToro doesn’t need makeup for this!

    I recently saw “The Howling” on TV – and indeed, I was howling with laughter on the floor. Old School indeed – I remember seeing this when I was 13 or so, and being vaguely interested in the transformation, but on a re-watch, it’s a hoot!

    The “bones” inflate / deflate rapidly in an attempt to create a repulsive scene, but nowadays, it looks ridiculous.

    Maybe it’s not the makeup per se, but the filming technique – clearly designed for an uninformed audience.

    Old School, very cool – but where Jim Henson is the movie equivalent of the inventor of the derailleur (and hence elimination of the ridiculous fixed gear), we need to draw that line – don’t go pre-Jim, or risk ridicule.

    Just watch the Hammer House of Horror movies!

    Ho ho Old School that really tickled!

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