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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