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Scene Stealer: 'Synecdoche, New York's' rapid aging

October 29, 2008 |  4:54 pm


Writer-director Charlie Kaufman had an entire lifetime to play with in telling the story of "Synecdoche, New York," but his crew wasn't so lucky. Prosthetic makeup designer Michael Marino and key makeup artist Naomi Donne had just one month to create the makeup to age stars Philip Seymour Hoffman, Samantha Morton and Jennifer Jason Leigh roughly 50 years on screen. "Originally, they wanted to do Michelle Williams and a lot of other actors," Marino said. "But it was a last-minute decision, and we didn't have a lot of time." Rather than design many variations of the same makeup, Marino and Donne created three ages (55, 75 and 85) for Hoffman. And since the rushed shooting schedule required Hoffman to be three or four different ages in one day, the illusion was created almost exclusively through wigs. "We gave him a prosthetic neck, chin, cheeks, eye bags and forehead," said Marino. "But to degrade him as he aged, we just changed the wigs around. It was the same makeup with different wigs."

<i>-- Patrick Kevin Day</i>