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Site of the Week – themakeupgallery

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There’s a lot more to movie makeup than Nicole Kidman’s nose in The Hours . Ever wonder who used braces to create a character? Who looked the best as Queen Elizabeth? Or how many women really went bald on the big screen? For answers to these questions and more go to themakeupgallery, a highly entertaining site illustrating makeup transformations on the Web.

Creator Jeff Davies started the site over ten years ago to “fiddle around with something more image and layout intensive.” Now it has over 8500 images of actresses transformed by prosthetics or other makeup effects and it’s still growing. “Six new entries this week,” he says. What does Davies get from doing it now? “If I think of a satisfactory response I’ll let you know,” he says, “Simply saying ‘It’s fun’ stopped being adequate years ago.”

Surprisingly, he isn’t a makeup artist and has no interest in being one. “I have never been to a Halloween event. I don’t do dressing up and I’ve got too many thumbs to replicate any look.” He did, however, wear makeup once: “About eight years ago, a makeup artist kindly applied prosthetic makeup so I could see what it felt like,” he says, “I would not sign up for that every day — not to mention then wearing the stuff for another twelve hours.”

The site covers everything from those made to look like First Ladies
to the brides of Frankenstein. Davies developed what he calls his
“transformation fascination” as a kid. “I just got hooked on the
transformations in movies like The List of Adrian Messenger ,”
he explains. The unusual 1963 murder mystery, starring Kirk Douglas in
multiple roles and unrecognizable cameos by Robert Mitchum and Frank
Sinatra, among others, was billed as being a film in which “5 Great
Stars Challenge You to Guess the Disguised Roles They Play!” As to why
some makeup effects work better than others, Davies says, big budgets
aren’t always the best. “Sometimes it’s not the absolute quality that
provides the wow factor, but the how the heck did he/she manage to make
it look that good in that time on that budget.”

Davies attends
the the makeup artists trade show (IMATS) in London and has been
contacted by multiple artists through the site: Dick Smith, Neill
Gorton, David Marti, just to name a few. You might not know their names
but you likely know their movies. When push comes to shove Davies
admits he does have a clear favorite: Charlize Theron’s transformation
in Monster .
“This was one where it all came together: Director, actress and makeup
artist,” says Davies. “Toni G’s makeup was simply stunning and it
worked because of Charlize’s commitment (including physical) and
performance.” He’s happy Theron won an Oscar for her performance but
feels Toni G should have won for makeup too. It’s the nature of their
work: A makeup artist’s contributions are usually meant to go
unnoticed. At least, themakeupgallery celebrates the amazing work they
do.

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