Behind the Scenes of Westworld’s Make-up Magic

Warning: this post contains nudity and gore.

Photo: Instagram/tinsleymua
Photo: Instagram/tinsleymua

The creations of Westworld varied between the beautiful and the grotesque throughout season one, often landing somewhere between in the uncanny valley. We owe a large part of our thanks for those indelible sights to Westworld‘s make-up team. Christien Tinsley, the show’s make-up designer, has been sharing photos of his work on Instagram throughout season one, providing a sneak peek inside the process of creating Westworld.

One of the most memorable visuals of the first season, found on the main artwork for the show and seen throughout the season, was the stripped-down shape of a host-in-progress, based on Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man drawing. On Instagram, Tinsley explains he and his team created a “total of three Vitruvian men for the three stages of assembly.” You can see the sculpted clay figures here:

An early version of Hector Escaton’s (Rodrigo Santoro) makeup shows a variation on the outlaw’s trademark scar. Tinsley says, “We extended the goatee by adding hair to Rodrigo’s own hair. The mustaches was his own and left a little longer. The major difference was the scar. I first created an indented scar. I personally liked the way this one caught like but we ended up changing to a raised keloid style scarring.”

Old Bill is a first generation host played by Michael Wincott in two episodes, occasionally seen chatting with Dr. Ford (Anthony Hopkins). Here Tinsley shows off Old Bill’s makeup in a photo taken just after they finished filming the scene with Hopkins in Delos’ Cold Storage area. As the make-up artist points out, “In this image you can see the torn flesh in the neck revealing the early mechanical work. Very much ala Disney Abe Lincoln.”

 

Old Bill. A first generation #host from #westworld this is the finished makeup captured right after we finished filming the scene with #anthonyhopkins in #coldstorage Played by Michael Wincott and applied by @hiroshiyada and myself. In this image you can see the torn flesh in the neck revealing the early mechanical work. Very much ala Disney Abe Lincoln. Enjoy your Tuesday!! #siliconeprosthetics #mufx #makeupeffects #makeupartistmagazine #facialhair #spfxmua #tinsleystudio

A photo posted by Christien Tinsley (@tinsleymua) on

An earlier shot of Bill in progress:

This is a neat (bad choice of words, maybe?) behind the scenes look at the gruesome head-shot from episode 101, “The Original,” when Maeve (Thandie Newton) shoots Tenderloin (Jeff Daniel Phillips), removing most of his face.

But it’s not all blood and guts in the make-up business! The lovely Clementine (Angela Sarafyan) gets a lip touch-up at the Mariposa here:

The next photo shows Maeve’s carved stomach, from episode 102 “Chestnut,” after the madam goes looking for a bullet.  We catch just a glimpse of it in the show. Tinsley remarks, “Although we shot the scene in its ‘glory’ you have to respect the fact that Jonah [Nolan] tells a hell of a story as its focus and doesn’t rely on the parlor tricks.”

A Ghost Nation warrior’s makeup, also from episode 102:

This eye-popping look is from episode 105, “Contrapasso,” and its infamous orgy scene in Pariah. “We did many tests to find this simple but striking look.,” says Tinsley on Instagram. The orgy guard is “A mixture of royal colors glossed red and gold. Tinsley Studio made the gold mask out of BJB 812 Urethane.”

These masks were used in the “Day of the Dead” parade where Dolores spotted herself:

 

A photo posted by Christien Tinsley (@tinsleymua) on

You’re not seeing things. Yes, that’s a pubic wig piece, also known as a merkin. Tinsley says their team made “around 500 more or less” for the season. The make-up designer says, “It was important for me that the ‘hosts’ had a pleasant ‘adult’ quality.”

 

Merkins on the Mind…sounds like a title to a poem. For those who don’t know, a Merkin is a pubic wig. We made hundreds of these for #westworld In fact a small army of artists would begin making these by the dozens daily after we got through the early morning makeup call. I don’t know the exact number but I would say around 500 more or less. That’s a lot of nude people needing a lot of hair!! It was important for me that the “hosts” had a pleasant “adult” quality. This merkin was hand laid by yours truly. Glued to glass, hair sprayed and floated for application. I was proud enough to take a photo, rather 70’s of me!! @camillemonet_makeupartist another great use for the amazing glass skull! #merkins #pubichair #makeup #makeupartistmagazine #toomany #wigs #notbaldanymore

A photo posted by Christien Tinsley (@tinsleymua) on

Tinsley is working on James Marsden (Teddy Flood) behind the scenes of season one. Because who wouldn’t want to be that close to Marsden’s face? 

Here’s a nasty one- a background character’s lost an eye! (But it’s nothing compared to the next and final photo- seriously, turn back here if you have a weak stomach!)

This is an incredibly gory close-up of one “decorative piece” produced, showing the damage of a shotgun blast to the face. For the sake of my stomach, I’m glad we didn’t see this too closely on Westworld, but I’m in awe of the prosthetic make-up talent required to create it!

I’m looking forward to seeing what the inventive artisans of season two have in store for us. Season one was just a tease. Now that the show is a hit, I’m guessing their imaginations will really be unleashed. I can’t wait!

One response to “Behind the Scenes of Westworld’s Make-up Magic”

  1. Oooooof. That shotgun blast photo is going to give me nightmares!

    These were very cool to look through. Thanks for sharing! I’m a little sad missing Westworld on Sunday nights… I’ve been mostly lurking here (as I do over on WOTW) but just wanted to say I really appreciate this site and have been checking in every other day. Thank you!

      Quote  Reply

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