“There was one time we had lightning near us, and if the film industry, if there’s lightning within a certain amount of miles you have to shut down your electricity,” recalls “Amsterdam” hair department head Lori McCoy Bell. “So all the lights went out and [director David O. Russell] is yelling, ‘Get the flashlights! We’re gonna shoot in the dark! We’re gonna shoot in the dark! More blood, more blood!’ Everyone had flashlights. It didn’t matter that we didn’t have lights. It’s that kind of crazy chaos that brings something remarkable to the screen.” Watch our interview with Bell, co-hair department head Adruitha Lee and makeup department head Nana Fischer above.
“Amsterdam” stars Christian Bale, John David Washington and Margot Robbie as three friends who witness a murder, are framed for it, and uncover one of the most outrageous plots in American history. The large ensemble includes Robert De Niro, Taylor Swift, Chris Rock, Anya Taylor-Joy, Rami Malek and many more.
Lee remembers another moment when one of the extras fell and had to go to the hospital, causing her to go MIA for one of the busiest scenes of the film. “I was on Zoom trying to tell an emergency room doctor how to take a wig off,” she explains. “He put [the actor] into the the tube to do the MRI and the metal started pulling. So I was on Zoom trying to tell him how to [get it off]. Him and the nurse, while [McCoy Bell] is up on stage with all these actors on our gala night. It was crazy.” Thankfully, everyone turned out to be just fine.
McCoy Bell and Lee also go into detail about what it’s like to work on Russell’s film set and the efforts they went to in order to pull off the various looks for Robbie, Swift and Taylor-Joy. “[Margot] could do numerous movies with all the different looks we came up with,” Lee laughs.
For Fischer and her makeup team it was about balancing the beauty and gore of the film. “I like to do all of it,” she explains. “I was trained in Japan and in England so we do a bit of everything. My background is fashion, so beauty is a strength, but I also love prosthetics and I love a bit of blood and guts. So in the beginning when you see Christian, John David and Margot all covered in blood it’s such a high because it was really on the go. And David would be like, ‘More blood, more blood!’ I like it all and I’m quite lucky that I can do a bit of both.”
Fischer also talks about giving the women of the film their gorgeous 1920s/1930s looks one day and creating a corpse and war wounds the next. “David really pushes you to think out of the box.”
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