The Makeup Artist Behind the Creepy 'Joker' Look That Will Own Halloween 2019

Every iteration of The Joker since the Clown Prince of Crime was first introduced on screen in 1966, told another story. Cesar Romero & # 39; s Joker in the 1966 live series Batman was a laid-back goofball skipping around Gotham in sinister joy; Jack Nicholson introduced Joker as a volatile, wounded soul in 1989. With just one line –Why so serious?—An frightening presence, Heath Ledger's 2008 portrayal has to date become the darkest and cruelest Joker. Then came Jared Leto's & # 39; damaged & # 39; jester in Suicide Group and most recently the Joaquin Phoenix's emotionally bruised version this year joker film. But as frequently as The Joker's story changes, some things remain as constant as the Joker's signature: acid green hair, a white, white face and a grimy red smile. .

So how do A human iconic look, which has been embedded in the minds of comic book enthusiasts for decades, reinventing itself for a new audience and a completely different story? Nicki Ledermann, award-winning makeup artist whose credit has been resumed Sex and The City, The Greatest Showman, The Devil Wears Prada, and more, was commissioned the task for Phoenix's 2019 joker portrayal. However, Nicki Ledermann's 2019 version of The Joker deals with the dark, blood-soaked, hollow-eyed eyes and the prosthetic smile of past Jokers in favor of a look that feels more authentic to Phoenix's real-life clown that exists in the real world where "humanity, close to its worst, leads this storyline, not superpowers."

Ahead, the award-winning makeup artist breaks down exactly how she transformed Joaquin Phoenix into the grinning villain of Gotham and the exact products used, so you can recreate the look this Halloween.

How much research did you do to prepare for this film?

I researched clowns. I think even though I have all the books about clowns. It was fascinating to look at all the different types of clowns, which went back a long way in the history of the time. There is almost every headline written in a clown, so you have to come up with something new, perhaps borrowed but not identical, as in music or any other creative field, an inspiration, 39 a reminiscent atmosphere, a color theme, to something new.

When I first met Todd (Phillips, the director), he showed the inspiration that he, Joaquin and the production designer hold. I took the design and translated it to create the Joker, worked on the placement, texture and color palette and made sure it was unique. The look of the Joker must also fit in with the look of the overall movie. Collaboration was key: hair, costume design, production design and cinematography. We have all worked closely to "paint" the overall image of the film, always referring to mood, texture and color palette for synchronism. But most importantly, the incredible performance of Joaquin brought the makeup look to life. He made the look iconic because it has to come from within to make it so powerful.

We now know the look of the Joker, but what is different from Joaquin's version?

Joker's looks have been iconic over the years, everyone is different, and everyone is related. Joaquin's version is a clown makeup that is realistic and organic in terms of application. This joker is not a super villain living in a superhero world with super powers; he did not fall into chemicals that pale the skin. Our joker lives in the real world, neglected and abused as a child, in a society that does not care for one another, especially the vulnerable and innocent, the weak and the needy. So too close to home, isn't it? He works as a clown to support himself and his mother, he puts on makeup, he's not really that skilled. It was important to show it in the film to keep it authentic and authentic.

This joker is not a super villain living in a superhero world with super powers; he did not fall into chemicals that pale the skin. Our joker lives in the real world, neglected and abused as a child, in a society that does not care for one another, especially the vulnerable and innocent, the weak and the needy.

Joaquin 's version of joker is very different from the Suicide Group portrayal. How did the difference in storylines affect composition?

Every joker in the past had a very cool and interesting twist and style, but he shared a similar world. This Joker's storyline is better than the other. This is the story of his origin, he did not develop into Jared Leto's Joker or Heath Ledger's Joker or Jack Nicholson's Joker or any other Joker, nor will he ever do. This origin story can take us to a very different Joker, because we are not in a superhero world, but we are in our existing world, where humanity, near its worst, leads this storyline, and not superpowers.

How long would Joaquin sit in the chair with you on a given shooting day for makeup?

Joaquin couldn't stay quiet for very long, that's just who he is, and being hungry all the time (he lost over 50 pounds for this film) didn't help. But he was incredibly trusting and appreciative as he sat in the hair and makeup chair. Often, Kay, our brilliant hair designer, doubled down to put on makeup and the wig to get him out of the chair. We tried to get him ready in under 20 minutes. On set adjustments, this was the time we finished the look.


He does a lot of running in the film, especially on the scene where he runs from the police. How did you ensure that she would stay in makeup?

The hardest part besides designing the look was not the actual make-up application, but to match continuity and build the arc of the make-up. If you are filming a movie or a TV show, you never record the scenes. You film one series one day and then you get back there a week or even months later, and you have to make it exactly the same so it can interrupt. It was imperative that I manipulate the make-up so that I could pull it out and do it again after each recording that perfectly matched the previous recording, or had to lubricate it during the recording, then tie it in or have to fix it in between. it seems to be smearing, but it stays put without lubricating during recording. To achieve this, I had to use a lot of different products all the time and I had to make sure the texture and the colors matched exactly. I had to give the placement freehand and not interrupt the fast pace and incredible intensity of filming so it would look smooth and authentic. I used mainly MAC cosmetics Chromacakes for my makeup on water and Sian Richards 4k brio palette for lubrication and waterproof make-up.



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Joaquin's Joker painted blue diamonds around the eyes. Where did you find inspiration for this?

The diamonds are a very classic look inspired by the Italian opera clown, a clown who is not too scary, and still transmits a degree of vulnerability, even innocence.

Joaquin made his own makeup in the film. How did you lead him to that?

He had to do some simple but intense applications. The make-up is designed so that literally everyone can do it. It was important for him to be able to do it at the moment, and there really was no wrong way to do it, since the whole point of the design was that it was spontaneous and not super-skilled. I showed him the best way to do it, gave him the tools and make-up to use in the scene and he just perfected it.


With Halloween on the horizon, can you describe – in layman terms – how you can recreate the look?

Most important: DO NOT OVERVIEW IT. Use any water-activated makeup like the MAC cosmetics Chromacake. try Landscape green, Cyan, Black, Black and Basic red. Turn on your favorite song and blast it hard, feel the moment and enjoy it. It would be perfect.

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