Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Hollywood Make-Up Of ‘Bad Grandpa’

Jackson Nicoll and Johnny Knoxville in
Jackson Nicoll and Johnny Knoxville in “Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa.”

Below the Line: The Makeup of ‘Bad Grandpa’


“12 Years a Slave,” “Gravity,” “American Hustle,” “Captain Phillips,” “Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa.” One of these titles may seem the odd one out in the awards season conversation. But when the Oscar nominees were announced on Jan. 16, “Bad Grandpa,” Jeff Tremaine’s hidden-camera comedy, made the cut in the makeup category. It was on a shortlist of seven films that was narrowed to three nominees.
The film features Johnny Knoxville as Irving Zisman, the old-man character from the “Jackass” television series who has lived on in the movies, on a road trip with his grandson.
Stephen Prouty, left, applying makeup to Johnny Knoxville.Stephen Prouty, left, applying makeup to Johnny Knoxville.
The designer Stephen Prouty has been working on Irving’s makeup since the first “Jackass” film, when the character’s designs were conceived by Tony Gardner of the effects house Alterian. Mr. Prouty took the lead on “Bad Grandpa” and decided to approach it as a complete redo, which included new sculptures and molds for Irving’s prosthetics.
“I wanted to really refine the character and give him a more streamlined look,” Mr. Prouty said, speaking by telephone from Los Angeles. “He had to be less masklike, because he was going to be out in public every day in this. It had to be as clean and as precise as we could make it.”
Aiming for an older version of Mr. Knoxville, the artists took several images of the actor and, using Photoshop, overlaid different age looks on his images. They then created a lifecast of Mr. Knoxville’s head, so they could sculpt in clay the features they liked the best.
Mr. Prouty, left, and his team applying makeup in prosthetic pieces.Mr. Prouty, left, and his team applying makeup in prosthetic pieces.
Compared with the Irving makeup used in previous films, the prosthetics this time around were thinner to make him seem more realistic. The prosthetics were also broken down into multiple sections, “which allowed us more latitude to get them exactly where they needed to be on his face,” Mr. Prouty said. “We could focus in on how each piece fit together as a puzzle.” The earliest iterations of Irving’s makeup were more like one large piece pulled over the actor.
Applying the character Irving's hair.Applying the character Irving’s hair.
The hairpieces were also improved.  “Hair can be a huge giveaway,” Mr. Prouty said. “If you see the lace on a wig or if you see the shine from the spirit gum that holds the lace on, that’s a tell for someone to realize he’s wearing a piece.” So the lace was much finer on those pieces.
The drying process.The drying process.

To apply  elements of the makeup, Mr. Prouty and his team used silicone almost exclusively rather than previous materials like foam latex, because silicone is more translucent, like human skin. “It moves more realistically and allows greater expression through it,” he said.
The final product.
The final product.
Unfortunately, silicone isn’t porous like foam rubber, which an actor can sweat through, Mr. Prouty said, adding, “With silicone, your sweat has nowhere to go, so you have to think of that ahead of time when building the makeup and build in sweat channels.” Those channels included ones at the front and back of Mr. Knoxville’s neck.
The makeup was applied at the beginning of each day, and the initial test took slightly more than three hours to apply. “But by the end of the first week, we had the process down to about 2 hours and 45 minutes,” Mr. Prouty said. - New York Times
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