Makeup artists Margie Durand and Judy Chin discuss the dramatic makeup looks they created for Black Swan.
ELLECanada.com: When you are working on a film, do you collaborate with the director or costume designers to discuss the looks you want to achieve?
Margie Durand: When I begin working on a film I speak to the director and all of the creative team if possible. The director’s inspiration and vision really drives the process and I try to deliver that vision in makeup.
Judy Chin: As I read the script, I try to envision the characters, taking into account their background (age, personal history, affluence, profession). As I see the plot develop in the story, I make note of how these events might affect their appearance. I always try to find out how the actors will be dressed, as that can have a significant influence on the
EC.com: How does a makeup design contribute to building a movie character?
JC: What I’ve always loved about makeup design is its contribution to the actor’s performance. Makeup helps to create the character visually. I feel that I’ve done my job well when an actor can walk onto the set feeling like the embodiment of the character that he or he is portraying.
EC.com: Does the makeup have any relation to the makeup in the traditional version of the Swan Lake ballet?
JC: Not really. The ensemble dancers wear what might be considered a traditional theatrical eye makeup, but our rendition is more dramatic. It’s practically an opera makeup. Besides that, the only other relation might be that we did portray the
Black Swan as a sinister dark foil to the more angelic and innocent Swan Queen.
EC.com: The ballerinas’ performance makeup in the movie is especially dark and dramatic. What was your inspiration?
JC: The look was inspired by the story, and by the director, Darren Aronofsky. I felt that he was looking for something dramatic and visually striking, so all of the intensity was focused in the eyes. Margie Durand realized that there were elements of our beautiful set design that should play a role in our makeup. Thus, the delicate silver branches that played across the swan’s faces came to be. The ensemble swans and the Swan Queen are delicate and romantic with a soft pink lip color, whereas the
Black Swan is dark, sharp, and, angular.
EC.com: Black Swan makeup tutorials have popped up all over the Internet. Why do you think makeup fans are fascinated with this look?
JC: What’s not to be fascinated with? The look is intense, alluring, and sexy with a bit of danger mixed in. Frankly, I’m flattered and pleased that there has been this much interest in the makeup.
EC.com,: How can the everyday woman translate the Black Swan makeup into an evening look?
JC: There are a lot of aspects to this makeup that are standard elements for a classic beauty makeup. The highlights and contours along the cheekbones, nose, jaw line, and the pout of the mouth can all be adapted to a contemporary makeup. I also think one could incorporate the dramatic eyeliner – the angles and the intensity – into a very seductive, catlike smoky eye.
MD: Think 1920’s vamp makeup: create the smoky Black Swan eyes with slender, silver eye liner applied under black wingtip liner and add thin wisps of silver liner over the eyelid, too. Rim the waterline with black liner and top it off with full, feathery false eyelashes. Apply a very matte foundation with contoured cheekbones and a hint of shimmery blush on apple of cheeks. Lips can be matte or glossy in dark eggplant, wine and even black colours!
EC.com: Out of all the M·A·C products you use on a set, which one can you not live without?
MD: The Blot Powders are a must for whatever seems to be going on with my makeup at any given moment!
JC: That’s a really difficult question, but I guess I would have to say a Powerpoint Eye Pencil. I think I could make up anyone with just one Powerpoint Eye Pencil. Or at lease enhance their features.