We have just celebrated the 2021 Academy Awards, and I wanted to take a minute to lavish in the work of Matteo Garrone’s folkloric and rustic re-telling of the classic Pinocchio.

This movie has single-handedly re-ignited my love for movie-makeup and fantasy characters, after what seems like the longest of times. It is nominated for its delicious makeup and hair work at the Oscars this year.

So, to celebrate the work of Mark Coulier and his team of talented artists, sculptors, mold-makers, silicon runner, seamers, painters, and hair-technicians and makeup artists, I took a moment to chat with English movie-makeup artist and Oscar nominee in his own right, the one and only Duncan Jarman. Duncan was involved with the sculpting of a few of the key characters in Pinocchio, but we shall get to that in a bit.

Hi Duncan, first of all, thank you so much for taking the time to talk today!
I have been a big fan of your work for so long, and I have many questions about your impeccable career.
So let’s get to it!
I want to start by asking what’s been the single most challenging makeup you have had to tackle in your career as a movie makeup artist?

I think, like a lot of makeup artists, there have been tricky deadlines, difficult actors, and ridiculous budgets.

But I’m going to be really boring here and give you a very short answer and say the current job I’m working on for BGFX.

Barrie and Sarah Gower have a number of projects going on, and I can’t comment on any of them, but they are cool! I have signed an NDA, so can say anything about it, but hopefully in about a year come back to me and I can answer that question in full!

Tell me about your childhood. Was there a single moment that you discovered your love of makeup?

I was born in 1969. In a time before VHS videos and the internet.

I would watch Gerry Anderson’s tv shows – especially Captain Scarlet and UFO and Space 1999. Also, the Planet of the Apes tv series.

On my birthday, my dad would hire super 8 movies and project them at home for me and my friends. There would be Tom and Gerry cartoons but also short edited versions of the universal monsters movies.

I loved making model kits, which included the Aurora monster kits, and I got the Dick Smith monster makeup kit one Christmas.

My parents would take me to the cinema. I saw Jaws, Star Wars, King Kong 1974, Close Encounters. Me and my brother would go to Saturday movie club at our local cinema.

I was very much obsessed with the comic 2000AD and would constantly copy the illustrations. So I went to art college intending to be a graphic designer or comic book artist. 

The real “Eureka” moment was seeing Hellraiser at the cinema. I was blown away by the design of the cenobites and the fact that they were created in North West London. And by a U.K.-based makeup effects company and made not far from where I live.

The next day I went to the college library and took out the book, Making a Monster by Al Taylor and Sue Roy, with Dr. Zaius on the front cover. I read it cover to cover. I knew then that this was the career I was going to take. 

Nowadays, it’s commonplace for the bigger effects shows to be quite compartmentalized in the various creative production stages. Yet you still seem to be involved in a lot of the physical designing of characters in makeup.
Is this part and parcel when you are negotiating your projects? Do you prefer applying makeups that you have sculpted as well?

I started as a bedroom boy. I would read Fangoria, Cinefatastique, Cinefex and copy what I saw.

Sculpting, molding in my bedroom, running foam latex in my mum’s oven at night when she wasn’t using it.

I was making low-budget horror movies with my friends. We would all act in them and I would do the makeup effects.

I spent many years working at Bob Keen’s Image Animation. Everyone that worked there was like me in the fact that they all did a bit of everything.

I’ve been exceptionally lucky to hone my skills by being taught techniques by Mark Coulier, Daniel Parker and David White.

All of this made me realise what constitutes a good and a bad prosthetic, and the reasons why they’re good or bad. Having been burned many times over the years – turning up for an early call, only to be handed some shockingly bad appliances.

I realised that it’s best to apply prosthetics that you have seen all the way through from sculpting, molding, through to application.

I’m very lucky now that I work for companies that feel the same as I do, so it’s now not an issue.

When I read the makeup credits of Nick Willing’s Alice in Wonderland that you were involved with, it reads like a who’s who of today’s British Makeup Effects leaders. You all must’ve been fairly young and it early on in your careers then.
Can you tell me a bit about the project?

Annie Spears, a fantastic makeup artist, was the designer. She made the ballsy decision to put prosthetics on pretty much the whole cast.

Gorton and Painter (an early company of Neil Gorton’s) were employed to produce a lot of the prosthetics, along with Mark Coulier, David White, and the Jim Henson company.

I worked for Gorton and Painter. I was doing lifecasts, sculpting appliances, and making molds.

Annie wanted someone to work with her applying on some of the main cast, and I was very lucky that she chose me.

Hallmark always managed to get the best actors in their shows. So I got to work with Ben Kingsley, Christopher Lloyd, Gene Wilder, Ken Dodd, Sheila Hancock, and Liz Smith. Applying these cool designs and working with your mates. It was a great project.

You also work on a lot of projects that seem to take you far away from your home country. On the surface this sounds glamorous and exciting. But as we know, once you land, the true challenges begin. 
Would you mind telling us about some of the more remote locations you’ve filmed at and how you manage the unexpected challenges and spontaneous curveballs that tend to be thrown when you’re not in a major city, with the makeup supply shop down the road?

In my younger days, I was very fortunate to travel to New Zealand, Canada, United States, South America, South Africa, Morroco, Turkey. All over Europe and Eastern Europe.

But working in Northern Thailand on a lesser-known Angelina Jolie movie called Beyond Borders comes to mind. Martin Campbell directed it. The film was set in Cambodia but used remote locations about 2 hours north of Chang Mai in Northern Thailand.

We had minimal materials with us. I can remember driving around the nearest big town with a handful of US dollars looking for materials. We managed to find dental plaster, alginate, molding silicone, fiberglass, resin, polyfoam, wet clay, and clear silicone caulking.

The director wanted to see actor Clive Owen hit in the face with a metal car aerial and have a red cut appear on his cheek in-shot without a cutaway.

I remembered the Dick Smith gag from The Godfather where James Caan gets shot in the face, and to reveal the wounds, he covered them with flesh tone latex patches attached to the fishing line gently attached to the actor’s skin. He pulled them off one by one to reveal the gunshots. 

We used the same technique. I glued the latex strip over a painted-on scar on Clive’s cheek.

On a muddy hillside in the Thai jungle, actor Burt Kwouk swung the car aerial at Clive Owen while Darren Robinson (legend makeup effects guy) tugged the fishing wire it snapped, leaving the latex cover still on his face.

Take two.

I have to stick the fishing line back onto the latex cover, which is on Clive’s face with superglue, which is like a surgical procedure, in front of the whole crew and director. Luckily on take two, everyone hit their marks, the latex pulled off, cut revealed!

Moving on, Martin Campbell shouts, “Well done you c..ts, now get off my fucking set!”

if you have worked with him before you will know that’s high praise indeed!

Wow, that’s quite a compliment!!
Now tell me about working with Leonardo DiCaprio. You have quite the history at this point. How did your working with Leonardo begin? 

It’s all down to one person, Sian Grigg – Leo’s personal.

Many years ago, one summer, we worked together on an awful sci-fi game show called Scavengers.

At the end of that job she said she was off to Mexico to work on a film about the Titanic.

Sian went on to become Leo’s personal after that. I made some scars for her on Gangs of New York, and met again making stuff for The Beach for Mark Coulier.

But it wasn’t till Aviator that I really started to produce prosthetics for him.

It has always been Sian that has hired me. One of the reasons being that she physically likes to see the prosthetic sculpts before molding. And we usually do makeup tests on a double before going to a shoot. And it helps that we’re all in the same country for that.

I must check out “Scavengers”!
That’s a very interesting progression. Tell me more about the pros and cons of being a “personal” prosthetic artist. 

I would have to say that you have to be on your a game constantly and always prepared for every eventuality.

When you’re working on the main star of a show, I’m very aware that it’s their face that’s selling the movie. So whatever you’re doing has to be perfect.

The hours are always a plus. The artist is never kept waiting around, your work is always seen, and very rarely will a producer break a turnaround.

The Revenant filmed in chilly Canada. How did the weather affect the appliances, or any makeup/materials?
For instance, I recall working through a European winter, and our 244 bottles froze each night. Did it provide challenges that we take for granted when not working in freezing conditions?

Weirdly there weren’t that many problems. If anything, it was better for adhesion as we shot the entire film outside. There was zero chance of sweat attacking the appliances because it was so cold.

We always kept our makeup trailer warm, apart from one day when the heaters weren’t working. It got so cold our boots were freezing to the floor.

You couldn’t leave prosaide in your onset bag as it would freeze solid during the day. So I would keep it warm in my coat pocket.

Blood was always an issue. Because many of the wounds were on Leo’s body, and to reveal them for the shot, we had to take off all the warm weather gear and then get it quickly back on again between takes.

The blood was sticky and cold. And the post-bear attack scene, we had 6 blood pumps on him. It was a logistical nightmare.

The beautiful and horrifying fleshwounds on Leonardo in The Revenant

Congratulations on your Oscar nomination for your work on The Revenant. It was incredible, and I suspect it was a challenging shooting experience. Your accolades are very well deserved!
How did the pandemic in 2020 affect the film industry in general, and more specifically makeup artists in the UK? 
Did you take up any creative projects during the year? I would love to hear how you utilized your time (or perhaps you took a complete departure from all of this?)

I had been at BGFX for quite a while and we were right in the middle of several projects when the pandemic hit.

Luckily the projects were happy for us to continue the build. I took some sculpts back home to my shop to continue on them whilst the workshop was closed.

Also, my friend Alex Harper had just set up his mask-making company – Crypt Studios. So I was sculpting zombie masks for him. When it came down to sculpting, which on the whole is a solitary pursuit, I managed to keep myself quite busy.

In regards to applying makeups on set, Jurassic World was the first movie back to work in the U.K. and everyone was watching to see how that worked out, funnily enough Sian Grigg was the designer.

Luckily, it went well. After that, we were back working on set with Edgar Wright’s Last Night in Soho.

Followed quite quickly by The Witcher.

It was a slow start, and it is difficult to work with masks, visors, and plastic aprons.

But I think everyone is very aware of how easily a production can get closed down because of a COVID outbreak. The whole crew is exceptionally on the ball with the regulations as everyone wants to keep working and earning.

Absolutely. It’s not easy. We lose so much of how we communicate when covered over, it is all something of a new challenge, indeed. A new way to gain trust and expression.
I have to ask you about Pinocchio. I’m quite taken with it. And all of the makeup work and creature designs and executions are perfect, in my opinion.
I haven’t been this excited about a fantasy/fairytale movie in a long time.
What was your involvement on the show?

Mark Coulier was the Prosthetics Designer for the show. He gave me the Gorilla Judge, as he knows I love monkey makeups.

It was an interesting one to sculpt as it was the first time I had sculpted on a 3D print instead of the traditional lifecast.

Because the eyes were open instead of closed it had a much better fit around the eyes.

We also scanned him wearing dental plumpers to push out his lips into a more simian muzzle shape. He was originally going to wear little glasses and a judge’s wig. This would have been cool, but these fell by the wayside after the build. 

Makeup from Pinocchio movie
The exquisite Gorilla Judge from Pinocchio – sculpted by Duncan Jarman, for Mark Coulier

I also sculpted the Cricket. I did a version based on an original concept by Sebastian Lochmann.

Brogan Sharpe and I did the makeup test, but when the director saw the final makeup, he wanted to see more of the actor showing through.

So I re-sculpted the face area to look like the actor and he approved it.

For Mr Fox, I originally sculpted a full-face prosthetic with ears. We did a test with this beautifully hair-punched face piece.

But again the director wanted to see more of the actor, so it ended up just a top lip and septum piece with the ears.

With the Snail, Sebastian had done a beautiful maquette using a miniature print from the actress digital scan. Then Sebastian and I scaled it up over a full-size CNC’d version of the actress (a CNC router is a computer controlled cutting machine.
It takes the digital scan data from the body scan and cuts it out of hard foam) and blocked out in wet clay.

All the detailing was done by Andrea Eusebi. Julian Murray and I also sculpted Pinocchio’s legs, feet and hands.

I went out to Tuscany to work on the puppet theatre sequence where I applied the puppet, Pantalone with Michele Vaccaro.

Pantalone was played by Davide Marietta – the same actor as the cricket. Interestingly he was the demon child in Dario Argento’s Phenomena and he’s in Passion of the Christ as well.

The puppet theatre sequence is breathtaking!
With a project as fantasy-based as this, when you are primarily working on the design aspect of characters and prosthetic makeup looks, is it difficult to be removed from the final steps of the creative process?

I’m very rarely involved with the art finishing and hair work of a character.

I’m usually hired by a prosthetic designer for my strengths – which are sculpting and application.

They are the ones who have the overall vision. I get involved when I’m asked for my opinion, but there are people way better than me who specialize in those departments.

Having said that, when I run my own jobs with a crew, it’s great to be involved in the entire look. On smaller jobs, I do everything, sculpting, molding, running silicone, art-finishing, and then the final onset application.

Whilst researching you online, I discovered a portrait of you and your family with some Planet of the Apes characters.
I love this – what a special family portrait.
This must’ve been a standout moment of your childhood, then?

I love that photo!

As a kid, I was obsessed with the Planet of the Apes tv series.

I heard that you could go to the London department store Selfridges and have your photo taken with the apes.

You can tell by the size of my smile and the huge pin badge I was wearing I was so stoked. Unfortunately, I don’t think my siblings shared my delight.

children portrait with men in ape costumes
The best family portrait ever! Duncan, bottom right.
There are multiple projects in your career that you have been strongly involved with that are either favorite shows of mine or contain favorite makeups of mine (or both). Pardon me for indulging, but I have to ask about a few of them…..
The work in Chernobyl was so captivating and confronting.
And yes, some of my most recent, favorite makeup work is in the program. I think because you see the humanity in the performer’s eyes behind all of the radiation wounds and hideousness. I was reminded of The Elephant Man makeup on John Hurt, in that respect.
Would you mind telling me how you were involved with that series and how it was to work on?

I thought the makeup work was brilliant in it, too.

We were working in Ireland on the last season of Game of Thrones when Daniel Parker asked Barrie to create the prosthetics for the show. I came back to the U.K. workshop to work on both shows simultaneously.

I was sculpting Crumb the Zombie Giant for GOT but also working on Chernobyl. I did the sculptures for the character Anatoly Dyatlov, played by the recently departed Paul Ritter. He had a mild radiation sickness look, which included a bald cap, eyebrow blockers, swollen eyes, and blistered lips.

And then, a premature aging look which consisted of eye bags, eyelids, nasal labial folds, and a neck waddle.

His makeup was applied by the talented Victoria Bancroft and Robin Pritchard.

That was me done on the project and I flew back out to Ireland to finish up GOT.

Amazing! Two incredible pieces of work, across continents and genres. Love it.
Your Nixon makeup for “The 101 Year Old Man who Skipped out on the Bill and Disappeared” is phenomenal!
Nixon makeups can easily come off as looking like a parody or caricature.
But you brought him to life with a deft hand, and a subtle, understated quality.
I’m always quite fascinated how vital casting is on these character makeups that are such iconic historical recreations. Considering that the actor looks little like Nixon to begin with. 

Back at the Oscars ceremony, I talked with Love and Eva (Eva von Bahr and Love Larson own and operate the brilliant Swedish makeup effects house The Makeup Designers) about 101 Year Old Man. I had told them of my interest, as I loved their work on the first movie.

They gave me Nixon as he was a stand alone character and I could do everything in the U.K.

Production chose Darrell Duffey, who is a Nixon impersonator, and not a bad face to work on.

man made up as nixon
Darrell Duffy as Richard M Nixon. Insert: Duffy before makeup

Vincent Van Dyke did the lifecast, which was one of the best I have ever seen, and shipped it to me in the U.K.

I sculpted lots of individual pieces so I could use some but not others, as I knew the makeup test would only be the day before the actual shoot day and there would be zero time to make new pieces. Love organized the wig and eyebrow corners.

I flew to Hungary and did the test with Richard Redlefsen.

Darrell was a star and let us shave his hairline back and pluck his eyebrows.

We did old age stipple around his eyes, then applied silicone nasal labials, jowl pieces, a nose tip and a piece that went in between his eyebrows.

It was one of those makeups that worked well because you have someone at that perfect age with lots of skin texture and colour. 

Okay, this interview wouldn’t be complete without me asking you about Game of Thrones.
GOT is undoubtedly one of my favorite television shows.
It’s such a brilliant, almost Shakespearean drama, and I can’t begin to imagine the logistics of working on it – I have heard from various artists in the past about the different shooting units all over the place. Mind-blowing. Share what you will about your experiences on the show!

I started on Season 6. I had put off working for BGFX because the workshop is over an hour’s drive from me.

But once I started working for Barrie and Sarah, I liked the work ethic and the people they have working there.

The iconic Mountain – Gregor Clegane

It was very cool to work on the Mountain on Season 6 and then revisit him again in Season 8.

People had been waiting to see what he looked like under the helmet for such a long time. Not only that but to see what had happened to the rest of his body when he removes his armor was pretty sweet.

I sculpted the head for Seasons 6 and 8, plus I created a stunt version for his stunt double.

He’s a big man. And it took four of us to do his makeup. To cover that amount of skin, we ended up using paint rollers. 

I’m still really proud of the Wight that is shown to Cersei in the dragon pit in season 7.

It’s the only time a Wight is seen in daylight. I got to sculpt his head. Patt Foad and Andy Hunt did the body, hands and legs.

Barrie, Patt, and I applied the makeup to stunt man Michael Birch.

Michael is a man whose face has the perfect proportions for zombie makeups.

The captured Wight from Game of Thrones S7

It was so hot in Spain, and Michael was exerting himself so much.

Sweat was pouring out of the suit. And if you watch the show, you can see it flying out of him as he runs at Cersei.

Is it weird that I was aware of that?!
He’s unreal – such a fantastic makeup, performance, and VFX combination!

When he’s originally captured he has lips. We did this scene in Iceland. The Hound puts his hand over his mouth and his lips slough off, revealing just his teeth. This was filmed again as a pickup on the tarmac in the crew car park in Belfast.

The other makeup I’m proud of is Crumb the Wight Giant that kills Lyanna Mormont.

I worked on some Giant Wights in Season 7, but you didn’t really see them. This one was on performer Ian Wight, who I’ve worked with before on Alien Vs. Predator.

I had to stick closely to an existing VFX design, which I wasn’t a huge fan of, but luckily managed to steer it in a slightly cooler direction.

I stuck it on with Chloe Mutton Philips. It was all second unit green screen work, so it was a really relaxed, unstressful part of the shoot. 

Another standout makeup that I have to ask about is Tilda Swinton as Madame D in Grand Budapest.
Tilda is such a stunning chameleon. Was it difficult transforming her into such a character? Did she have much input into how she looked?

It was a super fun job to work on.

Frances Hannon was the makeup/hair designer and Mark Coulier was the prosthetic designer.

We were doing the reshoots on World War Z at the time. I was sent back to the workshop with some photographic reference material to start the sculpt.

Mark wanted to use old age stipple around the eyes and then add the prosthetics afterward as he had done on The Iron Lady.

It works great as you get beautiful movement around the eyes. This can look a little stilted when you have a sculpted eye bag onto an old-age makeup.

Wes Anderson movies aren’t big budget, so the sculpt was quite quick. Josh Weston did some beautiful hands for her. He also sculpted Harvey Keitel’s bald cap and I did his broken nose.

Mark, Stephen, and I flew to Berlin and did a makeup test on Tilda. It was eventful for the fact the Mark’s wife had gone into labour and he was desperate to get the makeup on and get back to the U.K. as fast as possible.

tilda swinton in old age makeup
Tilda in all her glory in Grand Budapest Hotel

The lipstick was Tilda’s idea. She applied it herself in that slightly wonky fashion as she remembered a relative of hers used to do.

The only change was that she wanted the neck waddle closer together. I took all the neck appliances and did a cut and shut on them as there was no time and budget for a re-sculpt. She loves to transform herself into different characters and was incredibly patient in the chair.

It was also great to see Ralph (Fiennes) after working on him for so long on the Potter films. A highlight was chatting with Jeff Goldblum about his time on the Fly. 

The makeup you did on Mandella: Long Walk to Freedom is so effective!
I know you filmed in Africa – that must have been an experience. And yet you still created such flawless work. Can you tell me about the project? 

Mandela was an awesome experience.

Mark Coulier was the prosthetics designer, and we were helped majorly by Clinton Aiden Smith’s company Cosmesis from Cape Town.

I did Walter Sisulu played by Tony Kgoroge, he was Mandela’s right-hand man.

There was a mid-stage aging look and then a full face aging makeup.

walter sisulu in old age makeup
Jarman’s application on Walter Sisulu

We could keep a handle on the temperature most of the time, but there was one day when we were filming on Robbin Island, and the guys were working outside in a vegetable patch. It was a mid-stage look, and the pieces were thin, so I spent the day chasing sweat bubbles, never a relaxing day.

I do notice this running theme of injured/damaged/burned protagonists throughout your career.
From Band of Brothers, The Beach, The Little Stranger, Saving Private Ryan, The Last Samurai, Rush, Chernobyl, The Revenant, the beautiful, out-there burn makeups in the also underrated Sunshine. Even the Mountain from GOT.
And yet I still grasp a sense of beauty in your work that I have mentioned.
Is that a conscious choice that you strive for, or are even aware of? 

I think it’s the flow or sculptural direction.

It’s difficult to describe, but I like to have movement to a sculpture. It’s the thing that makes me happy when I see a finished sculpture.

At least brief happiness. 99 percent of the time I look at my work and dislike it, sometimes an hour or two later.

There are exceptions to the rules but mostly I’m not a fan of my sculpts or makeups. I always see the flaws. But I suppose that’s being an artist, you’re never happy.

In the past, there have been a few shows that I have worked on that began in the UK, or the appliances were made in the UK. I notice that there has been a strong leaning towards not containing flashing in the molds when producing silicon appliances. Have you ever applied silicon makeup with flashing?
Does anyone in the UK include flashing in their appliance making? And is this a geographical thing?

The whole flashing/no flashing thing all stems from different mold making techniques.

In the U.K. we have never had particularly strong dental stone, so we’ve made most of our molds from fiberglass. This meant we would use bolts to close the mold then inject foam latex.

When we started making silicone appliances we carried on with the bolted mold, only now the silicone didn’t flow through to the flashing. That’s really the reason. We don’t do plunge molds because our materials weren’t strong enough. It wasn’t till Joel Harlow came over on Pirates that Kristyan Mallett and I ran some of his epoxy dough molds, that things changed.

We started playing around with the system which is what we use today. That system is an epoxy core and a silicone and fiberglass jacketed matrix mold. Which for a while didn’t have flashing on it, just a gasket. Now we do the same mold with flashing that we inject separately.

Also in the U.K. until recently, we didn’t have a decent version of 1630 for doing small plunge molds, but that has now changed also. Our flat molds have always had flashing.

So I think nowadays it’s rare to find pieces without flashing incorporated. 

Personally, I prefer to apply with the flashing on, it’s a hell of a lot quicker!

You mentioned Ralph Fiennes earlier – I have to ask you about Harry Potter as well. Tell me about the goblins, and Valdermort – some of the most memorable makeups of these films for sure. 

Mark Coulier got me in on Order of the Phoenix to do Voldermort with him and Stephen Murphy.

The same team did his makeup again on the last two movies.

Sadly we didn’t get to do much of the application of the goblin shoot as it ran at the same time as Voldermort.

But Stephen and I would muscle in whenever we could. 

Mark designed how the Voldemort makeup went together. It was very clever.

All the veins on his head were transfers. To get them in the right position every day, we had vac-form set with holes in them that we drew dots through onto Ralph’s skin.

Using the dots you could place the transfers in the right place. And finally, we placed green and blue tracking markers on top of the dots for VFX to track on his snake nose.

I sculpted a few of the goblin makeups and did their test makeups.

golbin sculpture
A Goblin sculpture of Duncan’s

I also sculpted Domhnall Gleeson’s facial scars for his character Bill Weasley. His silicone transfer appliances were applied mainly by Barrie Gower. 

My son was born during the filming of the last two movies.

My main recollection was falling asleep on the couch every lunchtime and consuming vast amounts of strong coffee.

Harvey Keitel AND Anton Lesser both wore your work in Fairytale all those years ago. And they both appeared in shows you worked on again (20 years-ish?) later.
I’m curious to hear if either remembered you from Fairytale or Grand Budapest and GOT, respectively?

Funnily enough, neither of them remembered me.

It was a while ago and I think I’m quite a generic person, easily forgettable, haha! I do remember Harvey being a bit grumpy with me at the test fitting for his nose on Fairytale.

But he couldn’t have been sweeter on Grand Budapest. Such a lovely man. We share many similar interests and also share the same birthday. 

Would you call things in your industry somewhat “back to normal” these days?
What sort of safety protocols do you have to contend with when you’re at work? (I’m curious if it is similar to here in the US)

I think the safety protocols were developed in the US and U.K. at the same time.

Having worked in the US last year I can say it’s exactly the same on any of the big productions in the U.K. as it is in the US. 

With regards to the workshop, each department has its bubble, whilst working in it you don’t have to wear a mask.

But enter a different department then a mask has to be worn.

We are tested twice a week. Temperature tests every day. The workshop is professionally cleaned, sanitation stations in every department.

It’s about as safe as it can be. 

Just in case you haven’t yet worked on anything even remotely close to your dream job, what would that be?
Is there a style of movie, or makeup that you haven’t done that you’re desperate to create in the future? 

I have a strong interest in military history.

My grandfather was a wireless operator on landing craft during WW2.

As a kid I would bug him for war stories all the time.

So although I worked on Saving Private Ryan and Band of Brothers, I would love to work on a WW2 movie based more around British involvement in the European campaign.

man made up in old age makeup
A demo makeup of Duncan’s for IMATS – applied with Victoria Bancroft

At one point there was going to be a movie about the Guinea Pig Club – the RAF pilots that were severely burnt, and the early days of plastic surgery.

That would be my ultimate dream job.

That sounds incredible.
I notice that you have just released your very own Skin Illustrator Palette from PPI.
Would you mind elaborating? I love the concept behind it, as well.

I love the PPI Glazing Gels. I had talked to Kenny and asked if it was possible to produce a pallet. He mentioned that the gels wouldn’t work in a dry format. But maybe he could develop something similar with the Skin Illustrator pigments.

We played around with the amounts of pigment for a long time till we got something that was very washy.

I was never expecting it to come out with my name on it, that’s Kenny and Karen being sweet.

But I do love it, it has my favourite colours that I always use on old age makeups.

Oh, that’s great – I can’t wait to get mine.
Well, Duncan, thank you so much for sharing so many brilliant stories from your amazing career and experiences as a movie makeup artist. Your work ethic and dedication is more than inspiring.
And I’ll be in touch in a year from now 🙂

Similar Posts


  1. Brilliant!!! Absolutely love his work and it’s such a treat getting to hear his thoughts on everything. Such a fan of his

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.