Creating a Whole New World: A Conversation with BAFTA nominated Hair & Makeup Designer and Artist Lizzie Georgiou | The Fan Carpet Ltd • The Fan Carpet: The RED Carpet for FANS • The Fan Carpet: Fansites Network • The Fan Carpet: Slate • The Fan Carpet: Theatre Spotlight • The Fan Carpet: Arena • The Fan Carpet: International

Creating a Whole New World: A Conversation with BAFTA nominated Hair & Makeup Designer and Artist Lizzie Georgiou

Guardians of the Galaxy
20 January 2015

Following Guardians of the Galaxy‘s Academy Award nomination for Best Make-up and Hairstyling, The Fan Carpet’s Marc Jason Ali had the pleasure of speaking to two time BAFTA Award nominated Hair & Makeup Designer and Artist Lizzie Georgiou.

Georgiou is trained in prosthetics design and application and as well as working on Guardians of the Galaxy her other film credits include Thor: The Dark World, The Social Network, An Education, Notting Hill and The Bourne Legacy.

Guardians of the Galaxy is available now to take home on Blu-ray & DVD and is the best film of 2014.

Here Lizzie tells us her experience of working on Guardians of the Galaxy as well as the unstoppable juggernaut that is the Marvel Cinematic Universe and what she has on the horizon for her career.



It’s an honour to speak to you. Looking through your body of work you have been responsible for some extraordinary pieces. Could you talk about your experience working on Guardians of the Galaxy?

Lizzie Georgiou: Right from the start of reading the script I knew it was going to be a very different film because to sort of deal with or we’ve had before, I had don Thor before this. Also obviously I had to work closely with the special effects make up designer, we kind of went through the different characters that were in the script and worked out which would belong to his time and which would come into mine; obviously some of them crossed over where I had provide hair for some of them particularly Gamora and Yondu had a head piece so we did all his makeup other than his head piece and some of his scarring. It was quiet interesting to sort of see where all these different characters would fall into place and who would do what exactly and how we would pull them all of, it was very interesting from the very beginning. We had Karen. They went through some hefty casting for the nebula look and she was always going to be with David White’s special effects makeup team but I had the task of shaving her head. She had this beautiful long read hair and I had to get her sorted out before they could actually do any of the makeup on her; that was quite a big deal which she taped on her little iPhone and then after the film was released she put out the film of her getting her head shaved, she was very brave.


She obviously unveiled it at Comic Con

Lizzie Georgiou: Yeah she did. She kind of made the most of it. You know also when we first saw pictures of Chris Pratt he didn’t look anything like we made him in the end and he worked very hard to get his body into shape and we worked hard alongside him to change his look and make him into this hero which he becomes. He was a pleasure to work with; in fact all the actors were a pleasure to work with.  It was very interesting working with Lee Pace to get the Ronan look cause he came into the studio to do his fight training so we got him early on and so it was really nice to really work along side him because he sort of tested what we did on other people for where we were gearing up to do his look. S0 he kind of came in and saw that and was really ready for it by the time we got to test it on him. He did a lot of paint work with us which was quite interesting seeing him develop his character with the help of the makeup, that was a really exciting time to sort of see it all come together. We had lots of different universes to pull of so as soon as you have one character fixed and put into place and tested and everyone Okayed it then you were straight on to the next challenge. It was four months of going through different types of makeup and different products that were available and in the end we decide to make our own, especially for the alien skin tones, because nothing was going to give us what we needed and we couldn’t but it in the quantity that we needed for all the extras who were painted all sorts of colours as well, which is what I think makes the film feel so real because in every scene it is not just those main characters that look alien, there are so many other aliens around them that don’t get so featured but still have a lot of work put into them to make them feel like they come from those universes.


I saw it twice in the cinema and then I was at the premiere so we actually spoke to Chris, Karen and Dave.

Lizzie Georgiou: Dave Bautista was amazing. I loved his look, didn’t you?


Yeah, he’s great in the film. He’s silent but deadly and his character takes things so literally. He was just great, that’s the nice thing about the whole Marvel universe, now that you’re in it you just do whatever they ask and you’re just part of the family.

Lizzie Georgiou: It does feel like that but it was very of a different to sort of doing Thor because we were doing Thor 2, even though there were changes and I did change Chris Hemsworth quite a bit for Thor 2 so she kind of looked more realistic and more earthy, it was such a different film because there were so many universes to bring to life so many different humanoid type aliens to bring to life so it was a huge project but it was really good fun and I’m really pleased that all the fans really love it.


Yeah it went down a treat. I think it smashed everybody’s expectations. I mean from a Marvel fan’s point of view what they are able to do with the connective tissues of all their films it’s a living comic book basically.

Lizzie Georgiou: Yeah it is. I was surprised by how much James Gunn was a complete comic book nerd so I was kind of really surprised at how well he knew everything, I expected him to know everything but not to the extent that he did. I fed off that, most of the creative fed off of that and it as really nice to have a Director who knew where he wanted to go. We would develop something and show it to him and he would kind of go ‘no no, it needs to be more a bit deeper, it needs to be more lighter’ and you end up on the same page eventually. It was really exciting and creative with lots of sleepless night not knowing if it was going to go right the next day but it did and we pulled it off which was really fantastic.



It shows with the final project. Are you working on more Marvel projects? They announced 20 odd films.

Lizzie Georgiou: I’ve got my fingers crossed. I get on with really well the producers and obviously James is coming back to do a Guardians 2 so I would like to be a part of that but at the moment I think I’m going on to a Tim Burton film.


That’ s still with Disney, isn’t it?

Lizzie Georgiou: Yeah, it is. I’m not exactly sure I thought I heard FOX being mentioned; I’m in the very early throws of it. It is Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Home for Children.  That is going to have some weird and wonderful things in it.  Do you love the aliens in the lead up to seeing Benicio Del Toro?


Yeah, I mean obviously we had a teaser of The Collector [Benicio’s character in Thor: The Dark World], so you kind of knew where it was going to go with that. There were also rumours before The Dark World came out about how they were going to connect it all together but rumours aside you kind of knew that was what Marvel were going to achieve with all these films because that’s the universe that they’ve been able to do and they’re just extraordinary at it. Nobody else is doing it as well as them at the moment and I don’t think anyone ever will.

Lizzie Georgiou: I’m very pleased for them. I’m even more pleased for the fans because they’re getting what they expect from it because I think when somebody knows something so well, cause the fans are so knowledgeable, to come out with something that doesn’t please would be a disaster.


At the same time I wouldn’t want to see what I’ve already read. If it was shot for shot what was in a comic book I don’t think fans would be as satisfied, I certainly wouldn’t. I like the fact that they can cherry pick from different comic books; like Captain America 2, they picked from the different realms from the Captain America comic books and other comic books do that as well. It was the same with Guardians, they were picking from different places and obviously James Gunn has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the world, which is great.

Lizzie Georgiou: Yeah, I think that as well, that is what they gave us with Guardians; more scope to bring in things that were slightly unusual rather than just the stuff that everyone knew. With quite a few of the background characters we were given quite a lot of scope to turn them into something else and abuse our creativity and sort of have a burst of something different which was really nice for us because you’re not just copying a page that has been given to you; but even with the main characters, even though a lot of them did come from the comic book and you had very strong images to look at to start with, we were still allowed a lot of lee way and changing it and bringing it into the now, rather than the past, and giving it a bit more of an edge that made the film kind of feel more realistic, more different, more edgy.


Yeah, the way I described it was it is the best parts of Star Wars and Indiana Jones combined because you’ve got the adventure of Indiana Jones and you’ve just got that epic scope of Star Wars.

Lizzie Georgiou: I’m sure that James would be really happy with that comparison.


But obviously with his own flavour in there, it is not copying anything, it is its own thing. If you want to compare it to anything those are the two that I would compare it to. It is the best of both of those.

Lizzie Georgiou: That’s a really great comparison to have.


Other than the Tim Burton film what is next for you?

Lizzie Georgiou: I have my hands sort of full with that till probably later on in the year which is when Marvel are starting to do some more work here which will be interesting to see what they bring because I think it was Dr Strange.  I think things have been put back for a bit so we are all kind of waiting to hear.



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