“It was pretty much like working on eight films,” states makeup artist Sean Sansom about “Guillermo del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities” in our recent webchat. His collaborator Mike Hill adds, “It was, ‘how much time do we have to build before the next episode starts?’ We had to come up with a plan.” Watch our exclusive video interview above.
The Netflix anthology series comprises eight episodes, each telling a different horror story. The collection of stories were curated by del Toro, with two being works he had written. The Oscar-winning filmmaker of “The Shape of Water” (2017) also handpicked the eight directors for the series. All the stories are dark and touch on various moral themes.
Sansom and Hill are the co-heads of makeup and key prosthetics for the series. For the Emmys they are submitting the sixth installment, ‘Dreams in the Witch House.’ It tells the tale of a brother trying to connect with his twin sister who mysteriously died when they were children. In his efforts, he is confronted by executed witch Keziah Mason. Hill reveals, “It was a fun character. To see a creature in all its glory is extremely satisfying. You can work for weeks on something that gets seen in the blink of an eye” Sansom agrees, “She was essentially a main character in the episode, and the character was a very large collaboration with other departments. Everything has to work together.”
It’s not the pair’s first time working with del Toro. They both joined the director on numerous projects including “The Shape of Water” and “Nightmare Alley.” Hill admits, “He just makes you a better artist, because he himself is an artist. He knows these creatures better than we do. It’s not that we’ve got our hands tied, if we can make it better, he’s all for it. What’s really good is he has a great eye. If all else fails, you do exactly what he wants and it’s going to look great. You could build the scariest mansion in the world, and he’ll just focus that there’s not enough rust on one pinhead in the corner. It’s just having a great eye.”
In 2009 Sansom won an Emmy for his work on “Grey Gardens.” He reflects that great makeup “is where it allows the actor to perform. It’s their performance that brings the makeup to life. That’s what makes it. It’s allowing the actor to do their job.”
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