The eighth and final installment of the Harry Potter series is particularly known, in all installments for Ralph Fiennes‘ unrecognizable transformation into Lord Voldemort who, in this movie had to deteriorate as the Horcruxes containing his soul was destroyed. Mark Coulier did it very carefully so as not to look like the makeup was an edge of a prosthetic piece applied feebly.
Along with other creature effects, animatronics, loads of special effects, injuries, scars, movie dirt, grime, blood and intricate hairwork, it was a sure nomination.
But what caught the attention of makeup critics everywhere including myself was the beautifully designed silicone prosthetic pieces that made up the Goblins in Gringotts Bank. The characters wore full head, multi-piece silicone appliances, black lenses, fake nails, punched eyebrows and hairline, one of which made the creature cover for makeup artist magazine issue 92 where I did most of my research.
The team had the daunting task of 40 prosthetic makeups & 20 background heads shot simultaneously over more than two years. Each shooting day had new appliances so the team had quite a number of perishable pieces in storage.
With 15 different nationalities of makeup artists it was essential to keep the team organized and that they did so by setting aside days for application demos, trials to see what kind of problems could arise until they got the application time down to 4 hours.
It was Katy Fray who suggested to have a set color palette which limited where they could go. They also used the same glue and removers making it unified. Creature designer Nick Dudman says, “We were very disciplined about it. On the first test day, people would come up and say, ‘Can I use my own palette…or this or that?’ but we had already photographed what each makeup looked like, we knew what the tones and colors looked like and each piece had been pre-painted, so I didn’t want anybody painting over them just because they had a better idea. I did wonder what would we would get if I let some of these people loose, but I just didn’t have that luxury. They had all been hired for their skill in applying these makeups neatly and accurately, as well as their ability to take instruction, and they were all brilliant.”
Photos courtesy of Make-up Artist Magazine.