“I’m a lifelong Trekkie and working on the show is this dream come true experience,” makeup supervisor and prosthetic department head Glenn Hetrick says about his job as the leader of a passionate team of artists on “Star Trek: Discovery.”
“With this show, you’re making a major motion picture every episode, or every two episodes,” he declares proudly of the sheer volume and scope of designs that a show like this demands each season. “These Silicon makeups that we’re doing on this show for characters that worked for two episodes used to be reserved for feature film-level main villain only. And we’re pulling them off in weeks,” he explains. Watch our exclusive video interview above.
“Star Trek: Discovery” premiered in September 2017 on CBS All Access (now Paramount+) to praise from critics and fans as a welcome reboot of the revered “Star Trek” franchise, with its first season set roughly ten years before the events of “Star Trek: The Original Series.” The show’s acclaimed third season (it has an impressive 91% “fresh” rating at Rotten Tomatoes) follows the crew of the USS Discovery as they travel over 900 years into the distant future. Its impressive ensemble includes Sonequa Martin-Green, Doug Jones, Anthony Rapp, Mary Wiseman, Wilson Cruz, David Ajala, Michelle Yeoh, Blu del Barrio and Rachael Ancheril, with Alex Kurtzman and Michelle Paradise serving as showrunners.
Hetrick and his team have bragging rights for winning the first Emmy for “Discovery,” having won for the season 2 episode “If Memory Serves.” This season, the show was given newfound freedom to explore a distant future beyond existing “Star Trek” timelines. This provided Hetrick and his team a number of opportunities to design and create all of the new aliens that inhabit this brave new world. However, in amongst all of these new creations brought to life on screen, the series still found ways to honor the canon established on previous series, with the main villain this season being the diabolical Osyraa (Janet Kidder), the boss of the nefarious Emerald Chain crime syndicate terrorizing the galaxy in the late 32nd century. Osyraa is an Orion, the infamous green-skinned aliens first introduced on the original “Star Trek” series, which were given a revamp this season, becoming a great example of how far makeup and prosthetic effects have come in recent years.
“Something that’s seemingly simple, elusively simple, is an Orion,” Hetrick proclaims. “We wanted them to feel alien. We wanted to make sure they weren’t people painted green,” the Emmy winner explains. “She was deceptively difficult,” he says about the Osyraa character. “We continued to rework that makeup to just make her a little bit better with every application,” he explains. “They’re very difficult makeups, those Orions, to get them so smooth.”
“It’s a strange thing, if you’re talking to me and your face wrinkles, I don’t look at your face and your face wrinkling. We just know that our faces wrinkle. But as soon as you put this beautiful translucent silicon in these emerald greens and you get that alien look when someone’s moving, with any of our creatures, you start to really notice when the makeup is wrinkling. And so trying to figure out all the exact depths and thicknesses and the frequency as the actor moves his or her muscles through the prosthetic, trying to control that frequency so it translates perfectly for screen, it’s a process,” he says. “On film, you used to have a year to figure it out, and we’re jamming through that in a couple of weeks on this shows. So she was an incredibly successful character and wow, what a performance!”
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