Elizabeth Yianni-Georgiou (‘Rocketman’ makeup/hair designer) on capturing the ‘essence’ of Elton John [EXCLUSIVE VIDEO INTERVIEW]

It was admittedly a “big challenge” for makeup artist and hairstylist Elizabeth Yianni-Georgiou to turn Taron Egerton into Elton John for “Rocketman.” “Obviously Elton’s got a huge fan base, so I was very aware of how we needed to please them.” Watch our exclusive video interview with Yianni-Georgiou above.

SEE Taron Egerton Interview: ‘Rocketman’

Directed by Dexter Fletcher, the Paramount release takes a magical-realist look at the life of the iconic rock star, from his early rise through his struggles with drug addiction. Because the film features fantastical musical numbers set to John’s greatest hits, Yianni-Georgiou realized she couldn’t “overload Taron with huge amounts of makeup because it was a role where he would be dancing and bouncing off pianos,” not to mention aging “through four decades.”

When first sitting down with John himself, “I looked at him carefully to see if there was anything I could take from that meeting and put on Taron that would actually make it stand out. A lot of my makeup is very subtle, but obviously helps to make Taron look closer to Elton. Basically, I was looking for an essence of Elton, but I think we went further than that.”

SEE Dexter Fletcher Interview: ‘Rocketman’

John’s signature glasses “were going to take up a lot of Taron’s face,” so Yianni-Georgiou knew she had to work around that as well. “What I noticed when I first met Elton was how heavy his eyebrows are,” she recalls, whereas Egerton’s eyebrows “are really, really fine. I thought if I made those eyebrows heavier and closer to Elton’s that would help to bring Taron’s eyes closer to what Elton’s looked like,” which also “helped to shape and frame the face” around that giant eyewear.

Yianni-Georgiou was previously nominated at the Oscars for “Guardians of the Galaxy” (2014), for which she also earned a BAFTA nomination. She contended at the BAFTAs for “An Education” (2009) and “Made in Dagenham” (2010) as well. For “Rocketman,” she has already earned three bids at the Makeup Artists and Hairstylists Guild Awards (Best Period/Character Makeup, Best Period/Character Hairstyling and Best Special Makeup Effects). She previously won a prize from the guild for her makeup in “Guardians.”

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