Hollywood Makeup Artist: I Started Out as Actor

Novinite Insider » INTERVIEW | August 22, 2006, Tuesday // 00:00
Hollywood Makeup Artist: I Started Out as Actor Photo by Kameliya Atanasova (Sofia News Agency)

Dean Jones has been a makeup artist in Hollywood for over 20 years, and he has worked on mega productions like Jarhead, Poseidon and Pirates of the Caribbean. He is in Bulgaria as Special Makeup Designer for Nu Image's newest production Day of the Dead , a horror with Mena Suvari in the lead. Jones spoke about his work and the future he sees in Bulgaria to SNA Editor Petya Sabinova.

Q: How did you first get into makeup?

A: I Have a BA in Drama with a concentration in Acting and I came in as an actor and got hired on low-budget movies. Of course low budget movies, if you can do something else too, they will take advantage of that, of course I became an art director and a makeup artist on a show, but there was more makeup work than than parts for people, so I got hired on a couple of other shows and kept working after that.

Q: How many years did it take you to get so far?

A: I think about 20 years.

Q: Which is your favorite project

A: Let me think... that would be.. I'm supposed to say this show but I did a project called Jarhead, and that was cool, Pirates of Caribbean started after Jarhead and then I did another project Santa Claus 3, which comes out now. I don't know, each movie has a visual personality, this one especially, because of where you are, or the people you're working with, it's always different, so I've got to say, they're all special in some way.

Q: In Pirates of the Caribbean, did you actually have a chance to work on Johnny Depp?

A: Occasionally we were asked to take care of some stuff, but he has his own makeup artist Ve Neill, department head, and she's really terrific, she has a couple of Oscars and about half a dozen nominations. It's such a large show, there were about 20 or 30 of us at a time, but they were cream of the crop, they pick the best to do all the makeups.

Q: Is horror the genre you like the most?

A: I like everything, I've done a lot of beauty shows too, but this is more fun because we are involved in longer makeups and you get more creativity, sculpting, painting and putting these pieces together.

Q: What is special about the characters in Day of the Dead?

A: The zombies here are not like the zombies in any other movie made before, because it is about a virus that zombifies people and in turn they eat people, so we're going victims that have been chewed off and eaten and we're going with this look that's more like a virus instead of your typical forehead on a zombie, Zombies all look alike in most shows but we try to make these look a little bit different.

Q: So you've got bits and pieces coming off?

A: No bits and pieces come off, the skin starts to open up and peel away.

Q: How long does it take you to do one such virus victim?

A: It takes about 3 hours because I do this by myself, and occasionally someone will jump in and help like Brian or Lilly, but there is a lot of paint and there's also contact lenses and such.

Q: Any problems with the heat wave?

A: As long as everything is air-conditioned we're fine.

Q: Is this your first time in Bulgaria?

A: Yes.

Q: How do you like it so far?

A: I'm having a great time here, I like the people very much, I'd like to come back again if I have the opportunity and I'm sure I will.

Q: Did you have to bring all the materials with you?

A: There's absolutely nothing here, I had to bring everything. I was allowed to bring two of my guys, but we need much more than that. There haven't been a lot of films here, so we're probably going to work on getting some people trained to do this.

Q:Did any Bulgarian make up artists help you out?

A: I had a number people helping but these makeups are really extreme and complicated, paintjobs are complicated. Some are simple, but there are a lot of paintjobs, a lot of marbling with color and you gotta know how to work the color and how to use the materials and no one knew any of that here.

Q: Because they can't find them here?

A: Because they can't find them here and because it just takes extreme precision to work with these things.

Q: Do you ever wonder how Bulgarian movies are made without such products?

A: I've got a feeling I know how they're made. But I would definitely come back again and train some people or get some people more involved. Originally what I plan to do is come back here in the near future and I plan to have a makeup store and start a makeup lab, to do movies and makeup here and also start training people.

Q: Do you think there is a future for that in Bulgaria, with Nu Image and other companies?

A: Yes, I'd like to talk to them about that see if I could set up shop here. I have a place on the East Coast and on the West Coast too, so I could work East Coast, West Coast and Europe. I'd love to maybe be here in Europe and try to develop the makeup .

Q: Do you think it's going to be hard to get all the materials?

A: No, not if you have the right sources. If you have them and the right contacts and keep stuff in stock here, it wouldn't be a problem?

Q: So are you planning on settling in Bulgaria?

A: Not so much settling as keeping an international office here, so I can go back and forth, and start doing movies here.

Q: Do you think you could work with the National Academy for Theater and Film Arts?

A: There is such an academy? Absolutely. If I ever have a chance, I would love to.

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