As Sean Penn’s prosthetic make-up and hair designer on Gaslit, Kazu Hiro needed to flip the two-time Oscar winner into former U.S. Attorney General John Mitchell. That meant a full face of prosthetics. (Penn additionally wore a bodysuit to alter his body. “We wanted to make it look believable,” Hiro explains, “but not to pile things up on the actor so he can’t move well.”)
Hiro needed to create prosthetics that wouldn’t render Penn motionless or trapped within the make-up chair for extreme hours. “I have to consider the makeup time. How long it will take on set? Because if it’s one day, we can spend five hours. But he worked, I believe, about 40 days. We have to know how long it will be good for him to sit in the chair.”
The course of started with a 3D scan of Penn’s head. “I made a copy of his head cast in the plaster, and then I started to sculpt,” Hiro continues, noting he used historic pictures to element the variations between Penn’s and Mitchell’s faces. “I made Sean’s face close to John Mitchell’s by adding stuff — we can’t take out actors’ facial features; we only can add.”
For Sarah Paulson’s makeover as Linda Tripp on FX’s Impeachment: American Crime Story, a collaborative overhaul of her facial options proved essential. Paulson even went as far as to bleach and skinny her actual eyebrows to assist the make-up workforce. “That gave us an opportunity to go in with a medium light pencil and reshape her eyebrow to give a different structure around her eyes,” explains make-up designer Robin Beauchesne, who labored carefully with the prosthetics workforce to reshape Paulson’s face. “When I highlighted around and underneath her eyes, it filled out her eye and matched up to her prosthetics.”
Prosthetics had been hooked up round her mouth and neck to provide her a heavier look: “Sarah has very full lips. We blocked out the top and the bottom of her lips to change the structure and give them a thinner appearance.” Beauchesne says that her job isn’t to make a photocopy of an actual individual however to seize their spirit: “Sometimes if you try too hard to make it look exactly like who you’re trying to replicate, it can go against you. It’s [about] the essence of the character and giving that illusion.”
This story first appeared in a June stand-alone challenge of The Hollywood Reporter journal. To obtain the journal, click on right here to subscribe.