The aspect of the “Hunger Games” Movie that is most consistently praised is the Capitol, its citizens, and how disturbingly outrageous they looked. The woman partially responsible for that success is makeup artist Ve Neill. From the vibrant, profligate Capitol eyelashes and lip color to the drab, emaciated looks of the District residents, Neill had her work cut out for her and little time to accomplish it.
“I had two weeks prep on the movie, and we started in the woods,” she told Hollywood.com. “I can sit and draw all the pictures in the world, and until you see it on somebody, you’re never really going to know what it looks like. Basically, we did it within a week. We attached the week before we started working there.”
Ve Neill’s most difficult and ostentatious creation was arguably the Effie Trinket ensemble, which required much creative contemplation.
“She has to go out to the districts, so she can’t be totally outrageous. She has to be attractive in her grotesqueness. I really wanted to give her a soft, but off look. You have to take into consideration that her clothes are really flamboyant, and if you put garish makeup on her, she’ll look like a clown.”
While her design of Peeta’s camouflage in the Arena may win the “Most Impressive Makeup Job” award, Neill says it was a lengthy, complex process that she didn’t even get to carry out.
“It was actually applied by my third Conor McCullagh, because I was already in Charlotte starting work for Capitol City. Before I left I did a test on one of our P.A.’s legs. I mixed together clay and glycerin and a couple of other components to create this mud so that we could actually emulate the rocks that were there. We had done one previous to that where she was in the moss, and it just wasn’t really what we decided we wanted to have, because it should have been something that [Peeta] could have sculpted. It was just basically molding it into a rock. [It took] least an hour. To get it on and to mold it all around Josh Hutcherson, to be all in his features and to really get him laid in their properly, and then to dress all the shrubbery as well — the moss all over the rest of his body and everything — it was probably three people working on it to get in there, because we didn’t want him lying there longer. He was probably getting numb anyway. Then we had the spatter, the speckles to match the rocks. I’m sure it took an hour, maybe an hour and a half, to get him completely camouflaged into the rock.”
Shockingly enough, Gary Ross wasn’t originally on board with the magnificent, geometric facial hair known as Seneca Crane’s Beard, who now has over 20,000 likes on Facebook.
“I had to fight to get that beard on Seneca,” the makeup designer recalls. “The first we did it, [Gary] said, ‘Oh my God, Mephistopheles.’ I said, ‘No, no, he’s got to me the ultimate bad guy here!’ We had to make him distinctive. He thought it was too extreme.” Neill admits that she did have to tone down the wild facial hair a bit. “The little curly cues that were on his check were big “V” cuts. It almost looked like a tribal thing on his face.”
Just like the director, Ve Neill is also scheming and developing plans for the makeup designs in “Catching Fire.”
“There’s a lot of makeup in the second book. I just read it a couple weeks ago and then…all the dyes and the burns. There constantly getting hammered with physical things that are happening. And I have to start thinking about the fact that they’re always going to be around water — and that’s salt water to boot.”
Make sure to check out more of Ve Neill’s work in the “Amazing Spiderman,” coming this summer!
Which was your favorite “Hunger Games” makeup job?