French make-up effects artist Benoît Lestang, whose work included the critically acclaimed 2007 film The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, died in Paris, France July 27, reportedly of a suicide. He was 44.
As Make-up Artist magazine reported in Issue 67, in Alain Bielik’s story “The French Paradox,” Lestang was a self-taught professional who began work at 17—on cheap horror films, he told Bielik. He went on to create special make-up effects for commercials in the mid-’90s. His filmography includes the surreal feature The City of Lost Children and the award-winning period pieces Le Bossu, Brotherhood of the Wolf and Les Destinees Sentimentales, for which he created age make-ups, and which he described to Bielik as his greatest achievement.
“The great thing was that nobody paid attention to the make-up when the film came out,” he said. “It must be rewarding to build a creature that everyone sees, but I’ve always preferred to make something fake look real. I consider that I have succeeded when my work goes unnoticed.”
Lestang was a special make-up effects artist on last year’s biographical drama The Diving Bell and Butterfly, which was nominated for four Academy Awards. He had worked most recently on the effects for the French horror film Martyrs.
Lestang is survived by friends, family and colleagues.