OSCARS: ‘Dallas Buyers Club’ Makeup Budget Was $250 — But That’s A Lot of Grits

23 days. A $250 “budget” for makeup. That’s all Best Makeup Oscar nominee Robin Mathews had to transform her Dallas Buyers Club actors from healthy to sick. To make sure she didn’t bust the budget, at one point during the 4 1/2-week shoot Mathews had a PA drive over and gather up grits and cornmeal from her mom’s house to create the look of the dermatitis rash for the characters. Mathews is from New Orleans, where the film was shot. “As I was applying this mixture of grits and cornmeal to Matthew [McConaughey], I was thinking this could be the end of my career or it’s going to be OK, but I had no idea which way it was going to go.” When she saw it on camera, she could breathe again. “We tried it … and it worked. Had I had my choice, I would have used prosthetics, but we didn’t have the time, help or the money for that.”

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Mathews had worked on such films Oz The Great and Powerful and Django Unchained. But Dallas Buyers Club (Focus Features) was only a $4.5M budget, shot with a handheld camera by director Jean-Marc Vallee and (every makeup person’s challenge) only ambient lighting so Mathews — depending on the scene — had to bring them from health to sickness and back again many times within hours. “Some days, I’d have to take them from their most skeletal, sickest look to the 25-pound-heavier, healthier look five times a day as quickly as possible with little time in between.” For research, she looked at photos provided by an infectious disease doctor, David Hardy, who explained three conditions that people with full-blown AIDS suffer from: muscle wasting, which causes the faces of those afflicted to become very skeletal (sunken eyes, protruding cheekbones and recessed temples); seborrheric dermatitis, which causes a rosacea rash on different parts of the face (red, flaky and dry with boils); and, finally, lesions that can develop anywhere on the body. “Our actors came to us at least 40 pounds lighter each, and they maintained that weight during the entire four-week shoot … so I don’t think people realize that a lot of what they look like is just makeup.”

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This article was printed from https://deadline.com/2014/02/dallas-buyers-club-makeup-oscars-676529/