If you write for a living then you know this truth: cut our words and we bleed. Such is the case with Fashion Magazine's Lesa Hannah and her feature on the amazing, transformative hair and makeup in The Fighter. Well, maybe not bleed, exactly, but when I geeked out over the published story, Lesa immediately sent me her beauty-director's cut so I could geek out over details she'd had to omit to meet length requirements.
Of course I asked to share them with you. I'm being cheeky calling this a beautygeeks exclusive – *grin* – but with Lesa's blessing, here are additional details on how Alice Ward and her daughters got to look so bad yet so good in The Fighter:
Yes, that was everyone's real hair! "When David [O. Russell, the director] and I met he was really specific that the hair in this movie be spot on. We didn't have a budget for wigs, it was straight up hairdressing. You had to get in with the blow dryer and work it out."
No curling iron for Alice Ward: "No, I blew her hair dry every day. What helped me so much was that Melissa [Leo] had a lot of curl in her hair. After saturating her hair with product, I blew it out with a round brush everyday. I got it to where I wanted and then backcombed it a bit.
"What was so great was that after I would do Melissa in the morning, she would go right into character. So would the girls; once the hair was done, they were talking and it was hilarious. They didn't get their game on until their hair was done."
Must-have styling product: "I saturated the hair with a gel-mousse. And every day they had to come in with clean hair so we could start fresh. That was just the way it had to be done because there's no way you can do that kind of volume with dirty hair. It would just fall flat."
And the hairspray winner is: "We were going through so many different hairsprays. A lot of them didn't hold. I think it was TIGI. I remember one day the sisters and Alice were going outside and there were gale-force winds and the hair wasn't moving. It was hilarious."
Keep it real rather than over the top: "I think the real skill in great makeup artistry is really to define the character without making the mistake – kind of like putting glasses on when you want to age someone. It's obvious and a cheap trick.
"The mascara wasn't well applied shall I say? It looked like someone applied it in the car! The nail polish was Revlon, kind of matched with the lips. It was a rusty orange colour and of course it was chipped because of those endless cigarettes. And it was hysterical without being hysterical."
Makeup tips that might earn you a sick day: "Sometimes the lips would be powdered over so they appeared a little tired or stressed. It's one of the simplest makeup techniques to suddenly make someone look unwell. You just knock back a little of that natural pink in the lip to really demonstrate you have not looked after yourself.
"When you create a character, you utilize all your skills and sometimes reverse them. So putting a lipstick on, instead of making it flattering and lifting the face up, you're going against the grain. It's harder than what people imagine and when you really want perfection, you have to slap yourself. That was the case with Christian a lot. He would say 'Donald, I don't look bad enough!'"
Oh, unfortunate lip colours: "Well you know, like some of the things I see on the subway in New York or in Toronto at the Eaton Centre. You'll see someone and think they'd look great if they weren't wearing that.
"Faye Dunaway always said you should wear lipstick that reflects the colour of your lips when you were 15 or 16. So if you would normally wear a nice pink base, we would do the opposite."
* * * * * * *
In the way it seems to happen with movie roles that make actors less than attractive, playing Alice Ward and Dicky Eklund led to Best Supporting Actor Oscars for Melissa Leo and Christian Bale.
For Lesa's full feature, "Oscars 2011: The beauty of The Fighter," click through to fashionmagazine.com.