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Arjen Tuiten Interview: ‘Wonder’ special makeup artist
When he first read “Wonder,” a novel about a young boy with severe facial deformities soon to be turned into a movie by Stephen Chbosky, special makeup designer Arjen Tuiten knew he had his work cut out for him. “There’s only so much physically you can do with makeup,” he reveals during our recent webcam chat (watch the exclusive video above). “It’s just trying to find that right balance.” Jacob Tremblay stars as Auggie, who tries to fit in during his first year at public school. Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson costar as his supportive parents.
“We did several tests trying to copy Treacher Collins syndrome, which is the condition Auggie has,” Tuiten divulges. That meant attempting to create “underdeveloped ears, cleft pallet, teeth, underdeveloped cheek bones which makes their eyes droop. Just trying to find the right balance on that was the main first thing to tackle really.” Additionally, he had to ask himself, “Was Jacob going to feel comfortable still in it acting?” Luckily, after the first test, “there was a big moment of relief of, OK, this is going to work. We can do this as a makeup on an actor.”
Tutien has worked on such films as “Big Fish” (2003), “Pan’s Labyrinth” (2006), “Hellboy II: The Golden Army” (2008), “Alice in Wonderland” (2010), “Thor” (2011), and “Unbroken” (2014). He contended at the Makeup and Hairstylists Guild for his work on “Maleficent” (2014). “Wonder” was recently nominated at the BFCA for Best Hair and Makeup, where it also competes for Best Adapted Screenplay (Jack Thorne, Steve Conrad, and Chbosky), and Best Young Actor/Actress (Tremblay).