What 16 Movie Makeup Artists, Whose Work We All Know, Look Like
From one film to another, movie creators continue surprising viewers with their talent. And some of the most amazing people in the industry are makeup artists. Using simple and complex makeup, they don’t just create a certain appearance, they also convey the feelings and the mood of the characters.
While we mostly know popular actors and directors, makeup artists are often sidelined. So, we decided to find out who’s behind the appearance of our favorite movie characters.
Rick is a popular Hollywood makeup artist. And was in the industry until 2015. From early childhood, he loved monsters in movies. And it was his dream to create monsters and earn money. This is exactly what happened: in 1982, Baker got his first Oscar, and he has 7 awards in total. Like he planned, Rick helped directors create various monsters, villains, and other creatures.
One of his most famous projects is Maleficent. He developed prosthetics for Jolie and attached them to her face every day, and the legendary horns were fixed on her head with magnets. The crew developed lenses especially for Angelina that, as Rick said, were inspired by goat eyes.
Jenny Shircore is a professional with a lot of experience. Every time before she creates a character, she carefully studies their life path. Shircore created makeup for many movies, like Macbeth, The Invisible Woman, Great Expectations, My Week with Marilyn, W.E., Clash of the Titans, Mary Queen of Scots, Pinocchio, and many others.
She had to do quite a lot of work when she turned Margot Robbie into Queen Elizabeth in Mary Queen of Scots. Every day, the actress had makeup and prosthetics, imitating smallpox scars, so she had to spend 2–3 hours in the makeup chair.
Mark is a make-up artist and prosthetic make-up expert. He’s won Oscars, Golden Globes, Emmy Awards, and BAFTAs. He’s worked on more than 50 movies in his career. He created the looks for the Harry Potter movies, Fantastic Beasts, The Mummy Returns, The Iron Lady, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Suspiria, and Bohemian Rhapsody.
One of his most amazing works is Tilda Swinton’s character in The Grand Budapest Hotel. The 54-year-old actress looked like an 84-year-old woman. Coulier and his partner Frances Hannon got an Oscar nomination for this project. They used prosthetics and fitting make-up.
Stanley dreamed of becoming an actor, but it just so happened that he started working for the Walt Disney studio and learned to be a makeup artist. His career started to develop very quickly, which pushed him to start his own company. Winston worked on Terminator, Edward Scissorhands, Predator, and Batman Returns.
In order to create the Penguin in Batman Returns, Winston drew inspiration from ravens. Before applying makeup on Danny DeVito’s face, Stanley trained using clay, and only later did they recreate it on the actor. And one of the last works he did was Iron Man.
Ve Neill is famous for her long-term work with Tim Burton and Johnny Depp. When she was a child, she dreamed of being a makeup artist and creating monsters, and at the age of 18, she had already taken her first career steps. She worked on movies like Beetlejuice, The Hunger Games, A Star Is Born, The Amazing Spider-Man, and The Highwaymen.
Neill won an Oscar for Beetlejuice. But it wasn’t an easy job for her: the first concept was too scary, so it had to be redone. So, they used prosthetics for the ugly teeth, and foam rubber and a mix of green and purple paint for the hair.
Nicki Ledermann started her career in independent cinema. But then, she got lucky enough to work on the set of Sex and the City, which paved her way to the world of big cinema. You may have seen her work in The Devil Wears Prada, Get Smart, Inside Llewyn Davis, The Other Woman, The Greatest Showman, or The Irishman.
She got her first and only (so far) Oscar nomination for Joker with Joaquin Phoenix. In order to create the look every day, they needed very little time: just 20 minutes. Nicki said that Phoenix is a very active person who finds it hard to sit still, so they did his makeup and his hair all at once.
Greg Cannom has been in the industry since 1977, and he has several Oscars. He’s worked on around 70 movies. Among them are Cocoon, Batman Forever, Van Helsing, and many other famous movies.
One of his projects was Vice. In order to turn Christopher Bale into Dick Cheney, Greg needed just 2 weeks. Every day, the actor would shave his head and then attach hairpieces.
Michelle Burke started her makeup career in 1980. It was an accident: Michelle was just helping her friend with makeup during a fashion show and had no idea it would turn into her profession. But in 1983, Michelle got her first Oscar for Quest for Fire. She won another Academy Award in 1993 for Dracula. Today, her name is very popular in the world of big cinema, and she often works with Tom Cruise.
One of the legendary movies they worked on together was as a crazy producer in Tropic Thunder. The actor had a bald wig, and prosthetics for hands and a hairy chest. Burke said that this job was a big challenge for her. But Cruise’s legendary dance is hard to forget.
Doniella Davy was responsible for the makeup in Euphoria. In 2020, she won the Emmy Award for it. Davy worked with Alexa Demie, Sydney Sweeney, and other characters. Her job was to convey the character’s mood and temper through makeup.
Aside from Euphoria, she’s worked on Under the Silver Lake, and If Beale Street Could Talk.
Arjen Tuiten learned from the best in business: Stanley Winston, Dick Smith, and Rick Baker. Tuiten started his career in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, then he worked on El laberinto del fauno, Iron Man 2, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1, Wonder, and Welcome to Marwen, among others.
Arjen won an Oscar for his work in Wonder. He was one of the few that agreed to work on the film, because he needed to portray a child with Treacher Collins syndrome. The director of the film, Stephen Chbosky, even cried when he first saw the actor with makeup. And another difficult part was that the boy couldn’t work more than 9 hours a day, so the makeup needed to be applied quickly, with no discomfort.
Kazu Hiro developed his skills on his own, through trial and error. In 2018, he got his first Oscar for Darkest Hour.
In 2020, he won another Oscar for his work in Bombshell. He managed to turn Charlize Theron into a totally different person. She played a TV host, Megyn Kelly. Using special prosthetics, he made her face more squared, and to make the nostrils bigger, they used plugs (more than 40 pairs were made).
Without Richard Taylor and his company Weta Workshop, the legendary Lord of the Rings trilogy would have been completely different. Taylor won 4 Oscars for these 3 movies.
One of the difficulties he had to handle were the Hobbit feet. They were made out of a spongy material which had to be glued to the actors’ feet. Unfortunately for them, the glue was “freezing cold” and the spongy foam material of the hobbit feet made it absorb water. Besides, these feet would break all the time, so more than 1,500 pairs were made.
Morag Ross has been in the movie and TV industry since the mid ’80s. She’s won 2 BAFTA awards and has worked on more than 70 projects, like Lost in Translation, The Aviator, Carol, Arrival, Manifesto, and The Tudors.
Ross often works together with actress Cate Blanchett. They have worked together on the set of almost 20 movies. Ross says that she really enjoys working with historical figures.
Shane Mahan, like many other makeup artists, dreamed of creating unusual creatures for movies, when he was a child. During his time in school, he had already practiced his skills based on what he had learned in books, and then he entered a school of professional makeup and worked with the legendary Stanley Wilson. The Avengers, Suicide Squad, The Shape of Water, The Mandalorian, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Avatar: The Way of Water, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 are just some of the many movies Mahan worked on.
Shane took part in creating the creature for The Shape of Water. It took several months to design the look. What’s amazing is that CGI was barely used — which was only when some of the facial expressions were necessary.
This makeup artist has even worked with the CIA, creating makeup kits for spies overseas. He’s won more than 9 Emmys for Star Trek.
His most famous work is the 1985 movie Mask. Westmore managed to portray a character with a rare bone condition that distorted his face. His amazing skills allowed the viewers to see the emotions of the actor that played the part.
Deborah La Mia Denaver
Deborah La Mia Denaver is a professional with more than 30 years of experience. She’s created looks for actresses like Scarlett Johansson, Margot Robbie, Rachel McAdams, and Jennifer Garner.
One of her famous projects is I, Tonya. Deborah had to work hard on Margot Robbie’s character, even though it might seem like she looks like she usually does. Her eye corners were pulled down, she was made to look older, and she even had special prosthetics for her chin, cheeks, neck, and under-eye area.
What is your favorite makeup for any movie or show that you’ve seen?