My Subscriber/ProCard Account  |  My Store Account  |  Sign up for our Mailing List  |  Cart Contents  |  Checkout   
2011 Winter Movies: \'My Week With Marilyn\'
ABOVE: Michelle Williams as Marilyn Monroe
All photos by Laurence Cendrowicz/The Weinstein Company

2011 Winter Movies: 'My Week With Marilyn'

Posted: Tuesday November 22, 2011
Joe Nazzaro


The sometimes tense relationship with Marilyn Monroe and Laurence Olivier during production of The Prince and the Showgirl is examined in My Week With Marilyn, starring Michelle Williams as Monroe and Kenneth Branagh as Olivier (below).
        
The biggest challenge for make-up/hair designer Jenny Shircore was transforming Williams into the iconic Monroe.
    
"You're not cloning Marilyn; it is Michelle Williams," explained Shircore, "but you have to try and encapsulate the essence of Marilyn, hopefully in a convincing way so that every now and then you think, 'Gosh, was that Marilyn I just saw?' We didn’t do anything like false noses, big ears; it all came from Michelle. 
My Week With Marilyn Online Exclusive: Kenneth Branagh as Laurence Olivier        
"What we did was see how we could play around with her face to produce effects that would reshape her features with just make-up. If you look at Michelle, none of her features are like Marilyn's. Her eyes are a completely different shape, and so is her face and cheekbones, but once you start shading in the face, and changing the shape of her lips and eyelids and lifting her eyebrows, you’re covering Michelle with Marilyn but you can't block out Michelle completely.
        
"We didn't want to change the shape of her face with prosthetics, because we're showing you a Marilyn Monroe that perhaps the general public doesn't know too much about, so the emotion has to come through the make-up. There are times in the film when she's actually wearing very little make-up but we still kept tiny aspects of Marilyn, such as the eyebrows, the shading and the shape of the lips, so we would keep three or four major points that helped us towards Marilyn. Some of it was quite difficult, because Michelle’s eyes are completely different. Marilyn had very distinctive eyelids, so we had to try and form that shape on Michelle’s eyes by the use of light and My Week With Marilyn Online Exclusive: Dougray Scott and Michelle Williamsshade."
        
The film is packed with other real-life characters, including Julia Ormond as Vivien Leigh (below left), Dougray Scott as the playwright (and Monroe's husband) Arthur Miller (right) and Dame Judi Dench as Dame Sybil Thorndike (below right). "Most of the scenes in our film are scenes with the actors from The Prince and the Showgirl in their film make-up," said Shircore, "so you see very little of them in their actor persona; just their character in the film. We were filming scenes from The Prince and the Showgirl that we were reenacting, so if Marilyn's hair looked a certain way in that original scene we had to copy it for our film and get it right."
        
While most of the characters were recreated with straight make-up and hair, a few minor prosthetics were added, but Shircore doesn't want to give away where. "You'll have to see for yourself if you can spot them!" she laughed. "I'm not going to give them away, but they are things that make a difference and they're all beautifully conceived, produced and worn by the actors."
        
While Shircore, a self-confessed perfectionist, is never fully satisfied with any project she works on, she's glad that she and Williams were able to create an image of Marilyn Monroe that was respectful to the real person.
 My Week With Marilyn Online Exclusive: Julia Ormond as Vivien Leigh  My Week With Marilyn Online Exclusive: Dame Judi Dench as Dame Sybil Thorndike
"It's quite a contained piece," she said, "because our characters are either in the studio filming the movie or Marilyn is surrounded by the film people like the ADs, so it's not that big a cast. But it's a lovely period, and I think we will definitely take you back to the world of Marilyn Monroe."
   
My Week With Marilyn opens Nov. 23. For more coverage of 2011 winter movies, see Issue 93 of Make-Up Artist magazine.

Joe Nazzaro

 

Recent Featured Articles
Tales From the Set With Tami Lane and Katy Fray - Thursday April 10, 2014
Tales From the Set With Tami Lane and Katy Fray
Oscar-winning make-up effects artist Tami Lane and prosthetic make-up artist Katy Fray share a location story from the filming of The Hobbit.
Exclusive: Brian Henson on Syfy’s 'Jim Henson's Creature Shop Challenge' - Tuesday March 25, 2014
Exclusive: Brian Henson on Syfy’s \'Jim Henson\'s Creature Shop Challenge\'
Click through for details on the new Syfy show, Jim Henson's Creature Shop Challenge.
NYFW Fall 2014: Everything in Retro - Monday March 17, 2014
NYFW Fall 2014: Everything in Retro
Click through for Web-exclusive details on the bold make-up looks of the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2014 New York shows.
Issue 107 On Sale Now - Wednesday March 05, 2014
Issue 107 On Sale Now
In Get Together: The Collaboration Issue (#107), the pros tell Make-Up Artist how to optimize teamwork (and how to protect the rights to your work).
Adruitha Lee and Robin Mathews Win 2014 Make-up and Hairstyling Oscar - Sunday March 02, 2014
Adruitha Lee and Robin Mathews Win 2014 Make-up and Hairstyling Oscar
Adruitha Lee and Robin Mathews won the 2014 Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling Oscar for their work on Dallas Buyers Club.
Oscar Watch 2014: Watch Johnny Knoxville Become Bad Grandpa - Tuesday February 25, 2014
Oscar Watch 2014: Watch Johnny Knoxville Become Bad Grandpa
Click through for a time-lapse video of the Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa make-up team at work.
Hollywood Make-up Artists Mingle With Celebrities at Local 706 Awards - Monday February 17, 2014
Hollywood Make-up Artists Mingle With Celebrities at Local 706 Awards
Click through for details on the Make-up Artists & Hair Stylists Guild Awards, honoring outstanding achievements in film, television, commercials and live theater.
Video Exclusive: A Talk With Spectral Motion Chief Mike Elizalde - Thursday February 13, 2014
Video Exclusive: A Talk With Spectral Motion Chief Mike Elizalde
Follow the link for an exclusive interview with Oscar-nominated make-up artist Mike Elizalde (Hellboy II: The Golden Army).
How Make-Up Effects Group Designed Make-ups for 'I, Frankenstein' - Tuesday February 11, 2014
How Make-Up Effects Group Designed Make-ups for \'I, Frankenstein\'
Click through for details on how Paul Katte, Nick Nicolaou and their Sydney-based shop, Make-Up Effects Group, created monster make-ups for I, Frankenstein.
Tales from the Set With Peter Montagna - Wednesday January 29, 2014
Tales from the Set With Peter Montagna
Click through for an exclusive video about a Saturday Night Live experience.
 

Fun in the Sun
Get Together! The Collaboration Issue
Melanie Inglessis Brings European Aesthetic to Hollywood
Tube Time
Lash Out