In May 2017, we attended a fantastic talk at IMATS by Peter King. Peter is an Oscar winning make-up designer, responsible for the Lord Of The Rings, The Hobbit, King Kong, Pirates Of The Caribbean, Alice Through the Looking Glass, and many other huge fantasy films. Peter spoke at length about the importance of prosthetic make-up, in a world where CGI and post-production effects can do anything.
The most interesting assertion that Peter made, was that prosthetics and special effects make-up in the film industry is now hugely favoured over CGI. He explained that the directors, actors and camera departments on films, really prefer to work with tangible creatures. During the turn of the millennium, the film industry was expected to become dominated by CGI, but we are pleased to say that it is not the case today. Good prosthetic make-up artists are now in hot demand! If you have a skillset and a passion for prosthetics, the number of productions hiring our graduates is really mind blowing.
So, with this in mind… what are some of the best films to watch for prosthetic make-up? In no particular order…
1. The Lord Of The Rings The Return Of The King
This epic fantasy blockbuster was designed by Peter King, who went on to win an Oscar for his incredible work.
The Orcs and other creatures were mostly prosthetic make-up, pushing boundaries in make-up for a large-scale production. We cannot begin to imagine how much foam latex and silicone was used!
2. Darkest Hour
We have written all about this Oscar win here. David Malinowski has spoken to us after his IMATS presentation, discussing the lengthy process of applying and painting Gary Oldman’s undetectable prosthetic pieces. This transformation was completely unbelievable, pushing boundaries for prosthetics.
3. The Goonies
Sloth’s character is iconic. This make-up was by Thomas Burman and Bari Burman. You can see the fantastic make-up in the trailer here:
4. The Elephant Man
Christopher Tucker designed this incredible make-up, based on the medical condition of a real person called Joseph Merrick. The British Film Institution have a fantastic video on how the character was brought to life with prosthetics.
5. Monster starring Charlize Theron
Subtle and effective, Charlize underwent a huge transformation to become a character that did not resemble the actress at all. Yoichi Art Sakamoto was the genius artist behind this work.
6. How The Grinch Stole Christmas
Rick Baker and Kazuhiro Tsuji were responsible for Jim Carey’s Grinch prosthetics. Jim had to train underwater to prepare for the weight of the huge prosthetic pieces!
A Dick Smith classic, Smith is considered the ultimate master of prosthetic make-up, and for good reason. This film about Mozart required hours in the make-up chair for the ageing and special effects on characters. Smith won the Oscar for his work in 1985.
8. An American Werewolf in London
Designed by prosthetics legend, Rick Baker. Baker is most known for this classic film, which has inspired so many prosthetics make-up artists ever since.
9. Mrs Doubtfire
Lovingly played by the much missed Robin Williams, Mrs Doubtfire is a family friendly comedy, showing how prosthetics make-up can be used in any genre of film. Make-up Artist Ve Neil applied this well-recognised face:
10. Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows part 2
This dramatic climax to the Harry Potter films, earned an Oscar nomination for Delamar Graduate Nick Dudman, Amanda Knight and Lisa Tomblin.