Breaking Out Dif­fer­ent Looks

Col­lab­o­ra­tion was key for ‘Es­cape at Dan­nemora’ makeup de­part­ment head

Variety - - Exposure | Dirt Parties Wwd Report Card Devour - By DANIELLE TURCHI­ANO @daniel­letbd

IN OR­DER TO POR­TRAY real-life prison- es­cape ac­com­plice Joyce “Tilly” Mitchell for Show­time’s lim­ited series “Es­cape at Dan­nemora,” based on the 2015 events, ac­tress Pa­tri­cia Ar­quette had to com­pletely trans­form her phys­i­cal ap­pear­ance. She gained a sig­nif­i­cant amount of weight — mostly by in­tro­duc­ing “a lot of milk­shakes” into her diet, the ac­tress says — but she also had the aid and artistry of makeup de­part­ment head Ber­nadette Mazur.

“It’s al­ways a chal­lenge when you have to do a like­ness or a re­sem­blance, be­cause you want to make a char­ac­ter, not a car­i­ca­ture,” Mazur says.

The goal for direc­tor Ben Stiller, whom Mazur has worked with on films in­clud­ing “Zoolan­der 2” and “The Se­cret Life of Wal­ter Mitty,” was to be as true to life as pos­si­ble. This meant Mazur had to “strip down” Ar­quette’s nat­u­ral ra­di­ance.

Us­ing photo ref­er­ences from Mitchell’s ear­lier life with her hus­band and son ac­quired by the series’ re­searcher, news footage when she was ar­rested, and con­ver­sa­tions with peo­ple who knew Mitchell, Mazur came up with a plan that in­cluded giv­ing Ar­quette false teeth and brown con­tact lenses — but didn’t use pros­thet­ics.

“We started mot­tling her skin, ad­ding freck­les, age spots, bro­ken blood ves­sels on her face. We sunk her eyes in to show the fa­tigue of the Dan­nemora life,” Mazur says. “[Ar­quette] didn’t want movie makeup. She said, ‘I’m ready to ex­pose my­self, so do what­ever you can.’”

For the ac­tress, the con­tact lenses proved the big­gest chal­lenge at first be­cause they “cre­ated a bar­rier to con­nect­ing with other ac­tors in the scenes.” But be­cause she re­al­ized her char­ac­ter had an emo­tional bar­rier con­cern­ing re­la­tion­ships, she says the con­tacts ul­ti­mately helped her find the per­for­mance more fully.

Mazur worked with Yoichi Art Sakamoto on the teeth, which cre­ated an un­der­bite that “stuck out al­most like a lit­tle dog,” Mazur says, and ended up push­ing Ar­quette’s jaw for­ward, cam­ou­flag­ing her nat­u­rally high cheek­bones. Mazur en­hanced the new face shape by “putting a lit­tle light un­der the cheek­bone” to make her face look even rounder. She added stains to the front two teeth.

Mazur also worked closely with hair de­part­ment head Suzy Maz­zarese-al­li­son to for­mu­late the arc of looks as time passed in the story.

“In the be­gin­ning, Tilly’s life with [hus­band] Lyle is so mun­dane, and I think that’s where she looks her worst — where she’s just go­ing to work ev­ery day in the prison,” Mazur says.

As Tilly be­came sex­u­ally in­volved with in­mates David Sweat (Paul Dano) and Richard Matt (Beni­cio Del Toro), she be­gan to take bet­ter care of her­self. Mazur used less of the skin blem­ishes for this part of the story and also “added a lit­tle blush here and there and a lit­tle lip balm.”

Af­ter the men es­caped and she re­al­ized she could get caught for her part in the plan, Mazur brought Ar­quette’s skin back closer to where it was at the start of the story and even in­cluded new flaws, in­clud­ing a her­pes sore.

The typ­i­cal daily process, re­gard­less of which look Mazur was putting on Ar­quette for the day of pro­duc­tion, took only about an hour. “[Mitchell] had an at­ti­tude that she was more beau­ti­ful than she was,” Mazur says. “Once we got the de­sign down, it was easy to do. [Ar­quette] was 100% com­mit­ted.”

Es­cape Hatch Pa­tri­cia Ar­quette gets a slightly dif­fer­ent look as Tilly af­ter she meets Paul Dano’s David Sweat.

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