Who is she? If you, like Us, can’t get over how much Charlize Theron looks like Megyn Kelly in the just-released film Bombshell, there’s good reason: Theron sat in the makeup chair “for just under three hours” every day on set, key makeup artist Vivian Baker reveals. In an exclusive interview, the beauty guru shares exactly how Theron, nominated for a Best Actress Golden Globe for the role, transformed and it is mind-blowing!
Before we dive deep into the beauty moves (and they are spectacular!), let’s take a step back and discuss the groundbreaking film. Bombshell, released wide on December 20, tells the story of several women who worked at the Fox network and alleged sexual harassment by the network’s CEO, Roger Ailes (portrayed by John Lithgow). Theron plays Megyn Kelly, Nicole Kidman stars as Gretchen Carlson and Margot Robbie acts as Kayla Pospisil, a fictional character meant to be a composite of every woman who has ever had to endure negative treatment. (Robbie has also garnered a Golden Globe nominations, for best supporting actress.) While Baker designed the makeup for all three (as well as other characters, including Connie Britton as Beth Ailes) she focused on Theron.
So how does one turn a well known actress into another well known media figure, just as popular in the zeitgeist, via makeup? Apparently, it takes a village. Baker tells Us the look started with eight pieces of prosthetics by special effects-makeup master Kazuhiro Tsuji that the Emmy-award winning makeup artist would then “cover with beauty makeup,” which, according to her, was no small feat. “From a technical standpoint, it’s a challenge because makeup on top of a prosthetic is usually the first thing to say ‘here’s the prosthetic’,” Baker explains. To create the most realistic effect, the prosthetics were “very strategically placed,” she says. “It has to be precise and exacting and you’ve got to do it quickly. You slow down on certain details and speed up on others, there would be a lot of double teaming. There’d be places in the prosthetics where the hairdresser would wrap the head, and then times during the makeup application where the hairstylist would begin to put the wig on, so that by the time Charlize walked out of the trailer, she had just a couple minutes to throw her clothes on and be on set.” Indeed, the hair and makeup brought the look to life. But it was one feature that made all the difference.
Getting the eyes right was the key. “Lashes were a big deal,” Baker reveals. To change the shape of Theron’s eyes to look more like Kelly’s, the makeup pro used false eyelashes, and she specifically relied on Lashify gossamers, which could be manipulated to change the line of the lids. “If I put a [traditional] strip lash on, it’s just going to follow the actress’ line, but the little pieces of Lashify, I used them to maneuver the weight line of the eye and actually change the shape of it,” Baker reveals. The makeup maestro used the shortest black gossamer lashes on Theron (as well as Robbie and also on Connie Britton, who portrayed Roger Ailes’ wife Beth Ailes).
Once the lashes were set, Baker traced Theron’s new lashlines with black liquid eyeliner by Shiseido, which she found to be less irritating than other formulas. “Day after day of prosthetics and contact lenses and lashes and glue, it takes it’s toll,” Baker says.
Under-eye puffiness was an issue, too. “Every single day it’s different. Sometimes we’re puffier in a call at four in the morning, versus, you know, eight in the morning.” To tackle swelling, Baker used patches by Talika. “I love those little de-puffer pads, they’re amazing,” she says, though she admits that it was hard to use them on Theron while the prothetics were going on in the morning.
After three hours of makeup every morning, how long did it take to remove it all when shooting was done for the day? “As fast as we could!” Baker exclaims. “There were like three people attacking her, cleaning up the prosthetics, getting off all the glue and the liner and all the makeup.” It took “a good twenty minutes” to get the job done.