11 Days To Go... Ashes Make-Up

Hey Guys,

   I was on a particularly epic, beautiful, crumbly location with Wasteland the other day, when this doll caught my eye. Or rather, made me jump. It terrified me so much that I had to look down whenever I walked past it. And yet I ended up taking nearly ten photos of it by the end of the day.

   I seem to be drawn to things that scare me. When I dressed the Stop/Eject location, I was alone in a Victorian B&B - everything creaked and there were three stories of creepy old paintings. I flinched at every noise but I faced my fears and hung the scariest painting on the set, forcing myself to stare it out.

   Jar of Angels scared me twice. When I wrote my second interpretation of Crash Taylor's original script, the content unnerved me so much that I took an extra hour or two to get to sleep that night. Then, when we filmed in the main garage location, the walls were dark and crumbling, and the toilet ceiling was hung with spiders, but it is one of my favourite places to have filmed in.

    And, when I made Deep Red Sun, there was a scene where actor Danielle Clark moved exactly like the antagonist in The Grudge, because that film had terrified me for over a year at the time, and I wanted to share that sense of fear with the audience:

    Ashes is going to be a scary film. The lead character, Sarah, faces something which no person wants to face, and it's particularly horrific because it is real.  The drama will be there and I think that the rawness of it will seriously hit home to the audience. But I'm a creative worker, and I've always tried to go beyond reality and use mise-en-scene to enhance emotions. In simple terms, when Sarah is afraid, the look of the film are going to reflect that.

Rena at work on the Ashes Trailer
   One way in which those scenes will particularly shock the viewers is through the make-up, and so I am very lucky to have Rena Kalandrani on my team. I met her on the Jar of Angels set when she filled in for another MUA last minute, and not only was I impressed by her abilities, but also by her warm personality. 

   We worked together again that Autumn, and I asked her then if she'd be interested in working on Ashes. Rena, as the loyal trouper that she is, has been working on the project ever since, and is one of only three of the original crew line-up. 

    Rena even went so far as to watch over the audition tapes with me and help me to make the difficult decision of who to cast. On the teaser trailer shoot, she was very bubbly and motherly to myself and Sarah Lamesch, and she was very much a rock to me that day.

   Rena studied Make-Up at college, during which she had one-on-one lessons with the special effects teacher in order to hone her skills. After college she taught herself wig-making, which got her a place at Shepperton Wig Studios. If that wasn't an impressive-enough resume, she then took a Special Effects course at London College of Fashion. All this and more makes her more than qualified to tackle the macabre but beautiful make-up I want for Ashes.

   So what's in it for Rena? "[Ashes] is so different from other projects that I have worked on before.  Shooting four different 'worlds' gives me so much creative freedom and allows me to literally paint the characters deepest, most raw emotion so it can been seen by the audience, which is very rare in film. 

Prototype Make-Up for Scene Three
    "The script is done so well - a real insight into the great things that Sophie Black will have in store for us now and in the future. It was refreshing to see someone deal with the real gritty emotion of a relationship and how is can develop in a negative ways, and the effect that it truly has. How could I not be part of that?"

    For a blog-exclusive look at Rena doing Sarah's make-up, check out the post I did about the Teaser Trailer Shoot.

   I'm looking forward to having the exuberance of Rena on set with me again, almost as much as I'm looking forward to showing you her finished Make-Up designs for the film.

  For now, I'll leave you with the most recent photo of her Make-Up tests for Scene Three. You'll see the final result next month on the lovely Sarah Lamesch. I hope that it will make people shiver in the same way that porcelain doll made me.

Ashes make-up test by Rena Kalandrani, July 2012

   Tune in tomorrow for a profile on the charity Wan 2 Talk, and why they are backing our project.

Sophie x



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