(Key make-up artist)
- How did you get involved in THE 13TH WARRIOR?
- I was hired as one of three department head make-up artists by Jeff
Dawn, the Head make-up designer.
- The first title of the movie was EATERS OF THE DEAD. When hired, weren't
you surprised by the association of Disney with such a movie (and such
- I was not aware of the Michael Crichton novel, so, yes, I was surprised,
as it sounded like a zombie movie!
- How long did you work on this project?
- I spent a month or so in preparation, and then shot for 110 days.
- You are listed in the end credits as "Key make-up artist".
What was your task, exactly?
- As I said, there was 3 of us that Jeff Dawn hired (also, many assistants
under us). One of the other "Keys" handled the background, one
specialized in prosthetics and effects, and I made up 7 of the main Viking
cast, in addition to being the make-up supervisor on set... Also, taking
care of Antonio Banderas and Omar Sharif.
- How many make-up crew members worked on the show?
- At our busiest, we had about 57 hair and make-up artists working. Most
of the time, we had about 12.
- Working with John McTiernan, how was it?
- During the prep of this show, the director did not participate as much
as we would have liked. In fact, he waited until just 2 days before shooting
to decide up on the final looks of the main Vikings. This meant that we
could not incorporate as much design into the film as we would have liked.
- Did the actors give any suggestions for their character's make-up?
- Did you do any research for this show?
- We did extensive research and offered many variations of character looks...
Unfortunately, the director was not interested in most of them.
- What were the filmmakers' desires regarding make-ups? I assume they
wanted some sort of realism, right?
- Yes... To be real, particularily with the background extras. But, often,
their idea of "real" and ours would clash.
- What are the main differences between make-ups for a contemporary show
and make-ups for a "period" show like this?
- In a period show, you may be using a lot of make-up techniques to achieve
a look, but you have to be careful that it never looks like make-up.
- Would you compare your make-up work on the Vikings for this movie with
other "realistic" make-up works you did on westerns?
- I did the movie UNFORGIVEN with Clint Eastwood and, yes, the dirty grimy
look is one that is similar in both genres. After seeing THE 13TH WARRIOR,
I wish they were more dirty... But that is one thing the director was
specific about: he did not want them as dirty as we did.
- What did you do on the level of facial hair and beards, which usually
are considered as symbolic of the Vikings?
- In the beginning, we tested many beard variations with the actors...
But the director wanted a simpler approach. Most of the actors grew their
own beards throughout shooting. And, unfortunately, we were not able to
use some of the more interesting designs we came up with...
- What is "Clean-Dirt"? Jeff Dawn mentioned this product
in the production notes...
- Just a product that gives the look of dirt without being dirt. Tinted
cosmetic powders mixed with glycerin and facial mud bases.
- What about the actresses' make-ups on this show?
- Very minimal, but perhaps still too much. Not enough attention was paid,
because they were so overshadowed by the male actors.
- The movie was shot on location, out in the dirt and the miserable weather:
did that pose any particular problems for the make-ups? (touch-up, continuity,
etc.?) Also, I have read that the tent scenes were done in the blazing
- Actors were in heavy wardrobe and armour... And in the heat, or being
rained on... And sweating off their scars or make-up... The Wendols body
make-ups were specially formulated to be resistant to heat and perspiration.
As a result, the actors and stuntmen who played Wendols had a little trouble
getting their make-up off... It would come off all over their bed sheets!
The local hotels hated us for that! The blazing heat scene was the Viking
tent, which was set up in a huge barn. It was blistering summer heat,
in addition to the movie lights, as well as the huge firepitts and torches
on set. Omar Sharif suffered heat exhaustion here, on his first day of
- When creating make-ups for the actors, did you take into account this
(rather unusual for an Hollywood movie) lighting with fires and torches?
- The movie ended up with a lot of minimal light scenes. We did not know
this would be the case initially. So we adjusted as we went along!
- Did you try to give each Viking his own sort of individual personality
- That is what we wanted to do and we did in the tests. The final result
is toned down a lot from what our original ideas were.
- What were your inspirations for the Wendols make-ups?
- We spent a week testing colors and designs for the Wendols body make-up...
And many more weeks designing and fabricating the "Neanderthal like"
prosthetics that were used. In the end, you only really saw the blackened
body make-ups and the choppy hair. I thought that the black sooty look
was appropriate for cave dwellers, and then, we put slashes of colors
through it, like they had painted on streaks of lightning using sticks.
- Wasn't the Wendol leader's make-up more elaborated than the ones of
- Yes, he and a few of the "close up" Wendols were in prosthetic
appliances and dentures. Again many tests... And the director changed
his mind and re-shot the Wendol Mother 3 times! With a new make-up look
- I had heard that several actresses were used to play the Wendol Mother
and that many make-up effects were tested for that same part that didn't
seem to suit the director... So that was true!
- Yes! As I said, 3 times! My favourite was the original one, which you
will never see... However, I cannot divuldge the original design details,
as it was not mine...
- Weren't there other women, all painted and wearing bone jewelry, involved
in the original Wendol Mother scene?
- While on the reshoot/actresses subject, do you know who exactly plays
the Second Oracle Woman, the old witch they meet in the woods? Is it NY
actress Suzanne Bertish (as listed in the credits) or Anne Bancroft?
- It was Suzanne... NOT Anne!
- Also, some source told me they reshot the swordfight scene between Herger
(Dennis Storhoi) and Angus (big red hair giant), and that the original
Angus was actually an untrained biker they picked up at the last minute
to play the part, who ended up
breaking Dennis' hand in the swordfight. Any truth in that?
- That one is true. Dennis suffered a broken hand due to the over-zealous
inexperience of the "Angus" actor.
- Most of the Wendols are wearing bear heads and, in the first part, they
are supposed to be demons... Did that translate in their make-ups in any
way? For example, did the director ask their face to be darkened in order
to make them more nondescript, or things like that?
- It served that purpose, yes.
- I noticed paints on some of the Wendols horses. Were they also designed
and applied by your people?
- Yes. We established those and then, turned the work of applying over
to the animal wranglers.
- One of the 13 warriors has got tattoos on his face...
- These are Celtic braids that both John McTiernan and Michael Crichton
wanted. Jeff Dawn originally designed an amazing "Viking" tattoo,
with various symbols and in a primitive blue color, that was much better!
- Regarding the tattoos, I have seen several different versions myself,
on photos... Did each of the main Vikings characters go through many looks
like that, before the final version being picked?
- Could you elaborate on some of these unused original ideas?
- Basically, just more elaborate wigs and facial hair designs, scars,
that sort of thing...
- Besides their costumes, I noticed three elements that helped characterize
the main Vikings from one to another, in their final look: scars, colors
of the hair, and plaits. For
example, Halga has giant scars on his face and left biceps ; Weath, the
"Scottish" one, has red hair (I think it was colored, right?)
; and Rethel wears a big plait on his side...
- Yes, this was all to differentiate the Vikings from one another. Tony
[Curran] actually has red hair... But we enhanced its brilliance.
Rethel's hair was one of the most elaborate designs that actually was
used. Perhaps the director allowed that because [Mischa Hausserman]
is in fact a friend of John McTiernan's in real life...
- Did you find any inspiration in the main Vikings nicknames, as written
in the script? (Herger the Joyous, Edgtho the Silent, Skeld the Superstitious,
- No. The director did not seem to pay much attention to these character
traits... And only Skeld's design of tattoos on his face was representative.
- I was wondering... Did you test make-ups with beard for the Buliwyf
character (he has no facial hair in the movie, which is a rather unusual
look for a Viking, by the way...)?
- That was how the director wanted it from the beginning... So, nothing
was tested on him... Just long hair and regular make-up.
- During the tests (or when working in the make-up trailers), did you
ever play movies on VCR, or film music, to put actors in the mood? I have
heard about Richard Fleischer's THE VIKINGS, and BRAVEHEART...
- No. I cannot speak for the other trailers... but not true in mine.
- Antonio Banderas' look is evolving throughout the movie, from the Baghdad
opening scene to the final battle...
- Well, he begins as a proper Arab emissary, with the kohl around his
eyes, and gradually gives in to the Viking ways, emulating them... sans
- Did you work on the Baghdad scenes too? The make-ups from that sequence
are quite different from the rest of the movie...
- Yes. We shot that in studio... The same artists!
- Back in early 1997, there were rumours circulating about Arnold Schwarzenegger
doing some cameo appearance in the movie. Did you hear about this on the
- Yes. But it was never true. There was talk he would play the Viking
King... but not so.
- So many scenes were shot which are not in the final release. Do you
remember having participated in sequences that ended on the cutting room
- Many! Too many to remember...
- Amongst cut scenes, I have heard about some more Baghdad scenes, shot
in sets not seen in the final cut (a garden and a court)...
- No. You saw all that we shot of Baghdad.
- ...some whale scene (apparently, the mechanical whale they used was
not working very well...)...
- False. No mechanical whale.
- ...more romantic scenes between Ibn (Banderas) and Olga, the local beauty
- False. Again, you saw what was shot.
- ...some mass suicide of the Wendols scene; they must have used gory
effects in that sequence...
- ...and a scene with Arab generals waiting for old Ibn (Banderas), outside
his tent; maybe you worked on some "aged" Banderas make-up for
- No. Just the scene at the end of him writing, in very subtle age make-up.
- There is also, in the previews, a very mysterious shot of Queen Weilew
(Diane Venora) kneeling on the ground, in the mud, under the rain, looking
upwards, crying and shouting, as if someone had been killed (like her
husband, the Old King, or her son, Prince Wigliff) or she was expressing
her anger/outrage at the Wendols... Obviously, this scene is taken from
the end battle sequence...
- Diane's part was unfortunately very disjointed. She is a wonderful actress
whose talents were wasted here.
- Have you heard about additional photography on this movie?
- Yes. Charles Porlier and Jeff Dawn did another 20 days or so in L.A....
Inserts for the battles scenes, mainly.
- Didn't they also shoot the interiors of the farmer's hutt sequence (with
all the dead and severed bodies) in L.A.?
- No. That was all on location, on Vancouver Island, in the actual set
you saw the exterior of.
- Do you know why they did these reshoots? Several alleged reasons are
invoked, from Antonio Banderas' back problems during original filming
to very bad test-screenings...
- Not so. The main goal was to add more make-up effects to the battles
and coverage that the director needed to cut the scenes the way he wanted!
Antonio did have some back problems that shut us down for a bit (from
doing his own stunts on [THE MASK OF] ZORRO) but he was able to
shoot everything required.
- During some chat on the net, Antonio Banderas' photo double, Alejandro
Abellan, told fans that you can tell which footage are from principal
photography and which are not simply by looking the "hair thing":
according to him, Banderas' hair is shorter in the footage from the re-shoots...
Did you notice such a thing in the final version of the movie?
- No. In fact, Alejandro was not a photo double, but rather a lighting
stand in. Antonio's stunt double was Casey [O'Neill]... And the
hair was identical between them!
- There are also rumors of disputes between Michael Crichton and John
McTiernan... Do you know what were the reasons of the trouble?
- This is a delicate area... All I know is that it all started as a "happy
marriage" and went sour very quickly, when Crichton saw how the director
was shooting the movie. It was better than we all thought it would be...
But not what it "could have been"! In my estimation (and dare
I say, Michael Crichton's), the director was simply not at his best during
- Do you know why they finally changed the title of the movie?
- Michael Crichton always wanted his original title from the novel...
But Disney thought it sounded like a schlocky horror film.
- They allegedly considered other replacement titles...
- I have not heard of the other titles.
- Finally, what was your greatest challenge on this show?
- Putting up with the director! Much of the time, we never knew what we
would shoot from one day to the next... And the director would expect
us to create many effects on set that were not planned! The locations
were a challenge too, as we had heavy winds rain... In fact, on several
days, we had storms that actually started to uproot giant trees, and they
would fall down crushing tents, trucks or anything on their path! The
crew had to evacuate a number of times. We came back to find the "Extras"
make-up tent had a giant tree fall on top of it! Had we not evacuated,
and there were people working, we surely would have had casualties.
- So you were on the set when that storm wreaked havoc on August 97?
- Oh, yes! As I was walking to breakfast with Charles Porlier, another
Key make-up artist, a 100 foot tall tree came crashing down behind us
where we were walking seconds before. That is when we decided to evacuate!
- How did you feel about the finished version of THE 13TH WARRIOR?
- Again, mildly disappointed... because I was there, at these amazing
locations, with great actors and first rate production design, and all
of the elements were in place... but the director chose to shoot it in
such a way as not to truly capitalize on all of these things!
- Anything you would want to add about your work on THE 13TH WARRIOR?
- It was the hardest shoot of my career!
VERSION FRANCAISE :