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How Ana de Armas Grew to become Marilyn Monroe in ‘Blonde’

In re-creating essentially the most well-known of icons, one may assume the strategy could be to imitate the unique. If solely resurrecting Marilyn Monroe for director Andrew Dominik’s Blonde had been that easy. “Andrew mentioned to me, ‘Don’t simply put Marilyn’s make-up on Ana [de Armas]. You must discover Marilyn inside Ana,’ ” says make-up division head Tina Roesler Kerwin.

With just a few weeks to organize for the Netflix movie, Kerwin and hair division head Jaime Leigh McIntosh’s first day of manufacturing was a photograph shoot creating the nonetheless photos that will present Marilyn’s rise to fame all through the movie. It was whereas placing collectively the greater than three dozen seems to be that they had been in a position to follow perfecting the two-and-a-half-hour course of of remodeling de Armas into Monroe. “Loads of it was erasing earlier than we may rebuild,” says Kerwin. “Her brows didn’t have the identical form, so I reshaped them. Her eyes didn’t have the identical form, so the lashes had been introduced up a little bit and the shadow was introduced down a little bit. And her prime and backside lips had been reshaped.”

It was additionally in these picture classes that they found {that a} bald cap wouldn’t work. “Realizing the wigs would change a number of instances, doubtlessly in a day, a daily bald cap not solely will not be snug, it couldn’t have withstood the eradicating and re-gluing,” says Kerwin, who got here up with the concept of utilizing silicone to cowl the hairline. “The silicone transfers are skinny and clear. We had these custom-made to Ana’s head form, and people would go on earlier than any of Jaime Leigh’s lovely wigs.”

Whereas the nonetheless photos had been shot utilizing off-the-shelf wigs with the fronts eliminated and customised, the three wigs used essentially the most all through the movie had been custom-made to suit the dark-haired de Armas. “You design every thing, from the appropriate texture of hair and colours to how dense you need it, what shapes you need across the hairline, the little child hairs or, in [Marilyn’s] case, presumably some bleach breakage from lightening her hair,” says McIntosh. “You’re designing it from the bottom as much as mimic that head of hair that everyone is aware of.”

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One of many biggest challenges for Kerwin was capturing off-hours Marilyn. “It was difficult as a result of if I pulled the make-up again too far, then you definately both obtained younger Norma Jean otherwise you obtained Ana,” she says. “As soon as she had established that iconic look, there was solely to this point that I may pull it and nonetheless have it seem like Marilyn.” That’s the place the wigs did a number of the heavier lifting. “I may push it a little bit additional, having extra of Marilyn’s pure textures present via, or mess it up, no matter would assist stability that a little bit bit extra,” says McIntosh.

To take Monroe into her closing decade, Kerwin created wrinkles utilizing a stippling method. “It’s actually not a cushty course of for the actors, whether or not it’s placing it on or taking it off, however if you happen to do it proper, you get actually refined, natural-looking getting old,” she says. Round that very same time, Monroe additionally modified her hair coloration to platinum, additional emphasizing the consequences of her laborious life. “Everyone knows platinum is a tough coloration to put on,” says McIntosh. “Integrated with the make-up that Tina did, it helped us shift into a special Marilyn interval.”

Kerwin describes the shoot as a shifting practice, and the tight schedule meant often second-guessing what they had been placing onscreen. “The scene the place she’s singing ‘I Wanna Be Cherished by You,’ we didn’t assume we had it proper,” she says. “It was a type of moments the place if we had a little bit extra time with it, we would have felt extra snug with it, however we had been simply placing it collectively the easiest way we may — after which it obtained on digicam and it appeared unimaginable. It’s one in all our favorites.”

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Though most of their time was spent on de Armas, Kerwin and McIntosh additionally ready what Dominik lovingly known as the “facet dishes.” Fortunately, the director was much less involved with making actors Bobby Cannavale and Adrien Brody seem like Joe DiMaggio and Arthur Miller, respectively, than he was about capturing their essence. ” ‘The Playwright’ and ‘The Ex-Athlete’ are their precise character names,” says McIntosh of the Miller and DiMaggio roles within the movie. “I didn’t really feel the strain from Andrew to make that matchy-matchy. And the casting is nice, which was useful.”

Cannavale got here in with a head of hair much like DiMaggio’s, and a tooth hole in addition. Kerwin labored on his sideburns, whereas McIntosh tamed the mane. “His hair’s very curly naturally, so he schooled us on that, like, ‘That is what you’re going to wish to do,’ ” says McIntosh. “For him, we wished to only get the form comparable, have an analogous texture, have it parted on the identical facet and get him into that Joe DiMaggio really feel.”

To create Arthur Miller, McIntosh’s problem was Miller’s receding hairline. “We didn’t need to fully destroy Adrien’s hairline for his private life, so we did a little bit thinning. We additionally styled it on the roots with a moist gel so it might separate extra and you might see extra scalp. We didn’t push it so far as Arthur Miller’s [hairline], however we obtained it into the realm.”

Watching the outcomes of their labor, Kerwin and McIntosh are nonetheless in disbelief that they accomplished the gargantuan process. “The primary time you see it, you’re like, ‘My profession is over,’ since you watch it with the narrative of, ‘That day we needed to rush this,’ or, ‘We had to do this behind a van,’ ” says Kerwin. “Perhaps [after] the third time, you really go, ‘OK, I’d work once more.’ ” The 2 are, the truth is, collaborating once more on the John Wick spinoff Ballerina — with de Armas, furthermore — the place their expertise on Blonde is paying dividends. “We dance round a head rather well collectively,” says Kerwin. “We transfer in a very good rhythm. And we snicker lots, that’s for certain.”

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This story first appeared in a December stand-alone challenge of The truestarz journal. To obtain the journal, click on right here to subscribe.

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