Mark Coulier interview: ‘Pinocchio’ makeup designer

“My modus operandi really is to do a varied selection of work, hopefully with a script that is engaging or some characters that we have to make that are really interesting to me,” reveals two-time Oscar-winning prosthetic makeup designer Mark Coulier in his exclusive interview with Gold Derby (watch the video above). Credited on “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” and “Wonder Woman 1984” in 2020, Coulier’s work will next be seen in the Netflix horror thriller “Blood Red Sky” and the Elvis Presley biopic from director Baz Luhrmann. He continues, “I like to step away from what I’m known for and do something that’s unusual to me.”

Coulier contends now at the 2021 Oscars in the Best Makeup and Hairstyling category for his company’s special makeup effects on the latest Italian adaptation of “Pinocchio,” which features Roberto Benigni in the human role of Geppetto alongside “lots of fantastic characters.” Coulier says about the project, “We’d never done characters like this before. It’s not very often we see such imaginative makeup.”

He responds when asked what films in his three-decade filmography prepared him for this undertaking, “Every single film I’ve ever worked on.” Coulier continues, “We did 33 different makeups altogether. Each one of those makeups is really technically challenging, whether it’s the tuna fish or whether it’s the full snail suit with the full foam latex suit with silicone makeup and hands — or the fox, there’s hair-laying and hair-punching and the birds, there’s really complicated feather work.”

Among the more surprising prosthetic designs in the film is that of a talking tuna, which Coulier initially assumed would be handled by the visual effects department. He notes about director/producer/co-screenwriter Matteo Garrone, “He’s so character-oriented. He’s really interested in seeing the human qualities of all of these animalistic characters.” Coulier concludes, “It worked really well in the film. It was nice for Matteo to keep all these characters having a very similar theme and the fact that you can really see the human person in them.”

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UPLOADED Apr 13, 2021 8:45 pm