An Interview with Richard Redlefsen
Richard Redlefsen is a makeup artist based in Los Angeles. He has worked across the board on films such as, Bombshell, which won an Academy Award for Best Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling. His other credits include, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Pirates of The Caribbean, Star Trek, Captain Marvel, The Tempest, Saw, The Incredible Hulk, Underworld and Jeepers Creepers, as well credits on Television productions including, Twin Peaks, Heroes, Star Trek: Picard, American Horror Story and many, many more.
Were you always interested in the make-up industry?
No, I kind of got into makeup in a round-about way. I was a professional ballet dancer before I started a career in makeup. I was introduced to makeup through theatrical makeup in full length ballets like Nutcracker and Swan Lake. I think I had always thought it was interesting as I loved Halloween and costumes, but never saw it initially as a profession.
How did you get into the industry as an artist?
After ballet I went to a makeup school here in Los Angeles called EI. It was about a year program and was very informative and gave me a good base to start my career. From there, moved to Budapest Hungary and worked in their film and TV industry, built my resume and then 2 years later came back to LA. Got hired at an fx shop called Makeup and Monsters Studio run by Brian Penikas and worked on my first feature film credit, Jeepers Creepers.
What was your most challenging, and also your favourite look to complete?
Most challenging was Djimon Hounsou as Caliban in Julie Taymor`s The Tempest. Djimon is a big guy and to make him look like Caliban we had 65/70 small dry lake bed prosthetics glued to his body and lots of layers of mud, paint, paint washes, Shakespearian curse words appliances and powders to complete the look. By far my favorite makeup in my career is John Lithgow, as Roger Ailes from Bombshell. It doesn’t get any better than that. Kazu, John and Hiro it was perfect experience.
I particularly like the look of Naido in Twin Peaks. How did you achieve this look?
So David Lynch did a rough sculpt in soft clay of the look of Naido prosthetics. I resculpted those shapes into sculpture that could be molded. VVD Fx made the pieces and I applied them and fleshed them out, Debbie Zoller my HOD and I completed the look with small meat like suture wounds on the face. We would always get the makeup about 95% done and then Mr Lynch would do his magic to it and called it done. Let’s shoot!!
What kind of preparation did you have to do while working on Twin Peaks?
Lots of pre pro for the looks, Debbie Zoller was the makeup designer on the show so I`d help her with prep of any makeup fx looks that needed to be sculpted or prepped. She was an amazing boss and it was great working with her.
Who as an artist has inspired your work?
Lots from Rick Baker to Kazu Hiro to Love Larson and there are so many more.
Is there anything you would do differently if you could go back and work on it again?
Most of the makeups I do, I`d like to get another shot at them try to make them better. You learn so much throughout a career. It would be fun to revisit makeups that I’d done years ago and do it with a fresh perspective and a better skill set.
Do you have any advice for artists looking to break into the industry?
Don't ever be late, work hard and passionately, offer to stay after work to help clean, be autonomous about your work, be diligent about improving your craft, be responsible and accountable.
If you could work on any film in history, as an artist what would it be?
The 7 Faces of Dr. Lao, it’s awesome. The makeups still look amazing.