We had a great response to our story about the make-up work on Hellboy 2: The Golden Army in Issue 73 of Make-up Artist magazine. So we have added Joe Nazzaro’s additional stories and photos from the film and labs where the film’s many characters were created. Make-up artists working in three different countries collaborated on these creatures—see for yourself!
While some of the more complicated make-up effects-related characters in Hellboy 2 may have drawn the most attention, it was the prince and princess that may have undergone the most changes over the course of filming.
For Prince Nuada (Luke Goss), Bart Mixon took over the make-up duties after Dave White had done some of the early application. “Luke had a full-face prosthetic that went up into the hairline,” Mixon said, “and back to just in front of the ear and underneath the jawline. He had a separate lower lip that overlapped his own lip a little bit and down to his chin and the prosthetic ended just above his lower lip line and covered everything, so that was very tricky. It was so thin that if you got it out of alignment anywhere, nothing else really fit, so it was slow going, making sure that everything was seated and placed properly.
“He also had a foam latex neck piece that was part of his wardrobe, so once we finished his make-up, we would put that on him. Initially the previous guys were gluing it on, but we ended up switching it to Velcro because some of the stuff got so physical that the Telesis was pulling skin off. So we did the bald cap, the facial piece and the lip and those were all foam and pre-painted and once we got the color scheme down, those were pretty well pre-painted so that we had him in the chair as little as possible.
“And then we did a Pax wash on the neck and a lot of Illustrator colors; mainly we took a white with a rice paper just to take the edge off the white and then I had washes of midnight brown, like a spatter color that changed throughout, but those were mainly it; the white, rice paper and midnight brown spatter. I think we sometimes had a brick red in there to warm it up if it needed, and then there was some rubber grease, so we used a variety of different things.
“We never could get anything to work real well around his eyes, so we tried DermaColor one day, rubber grease the next, tattoo color the day after that, but there was a purply-brown lip color and eye shadow color that we would finish off with. I did the application with a Hungarian local assisting, Orso Balla, who had assisted Dave White, so that was a nice transitional element. Luke also had foam ear tips that she applied and she would do the eye and lip color while I was doing the airbrushing on the hands and neck.”
One of the problems with establishing the prince’s look was that it had to correspond to the look of Princess Nuala (Anna Walton), which kept changing as well. “We did at least ten tests,” said Nigel Booth, who applied the make-up with Deborah Jarvis, “but Guillermo kept changing his mind; the prosthetic was dropped because it just wasn’t working, and they changed the lenses and the wigs a couple of times. We filmed a bunch of scenes that had to be re-shot without the piece and I changed the paint job to Guillermo’s specifications, but it still wasn’t 100 percent what he wanted. There was apparently some talk from Universal who weren’t happy that the leading lady wasn’t looking quite right so they said, ‘We’re going to ditch the prosthetic and just do something with her face,’ because Anna is beautiful and didn’t need a great deal to enhance that with color. Ultimately, when the prince started to go in a different direction, they had to pull it back around to the princess’ look.”
Although the character of King Balor (Roy Dotrice) was introduced early in the film, those scenes were actually done at the end of principal photography, with British make-up artists Simon Webber and Anthony Parker teaming up on the application. “The first day we did a test on Roy, he was quite cantankerous,” recalled Webber. “He was saying, ‘I don’t think the director is going to like that,’ and really winding me up. I was trying to be really polite and not lose my temper and Anthony was absolutely silent, and I’m thinking, ‘Oh God, this guy is going to be an absolute nightmare!’
“Anyway, we did the test, Guillermo came in and he loved it; and from the very first shoot day to the very last day, he was an absolute angel to us. He was respectful and fun and had all these stories about the old days and was really entertaining. He even thanked us at the end, so what started out as complete dread of how this guy was going to be, he became a sweetheart, so that was interesting.”
The other major story point for all three characters was their transformation into statues after death. “Our biggest challenge was to build a collapsible statue of the Prince,” said Ivan Poharnok of Filmfex Studio. “Guillermo had a very specific idea of how it should fall apart; first, we made it of a crumbly material, but the way it collapsed was different from how he envisioned it, so to understand what he wanted, we created a digital animation of the action, based on his instructions, that we could see and talk about. After approval, we created a multi-piece animatronic sculpture, so that we could control the route.”
Hellboy 2: The Art of the Movie by Dark Horse Books is now on sale.