Saturday, December 29, 2007

Makeup Artist Recalls Ups, Downs of Caspian Shoot

From Mastery of makeup opens vistas for ex-bank teller
Then, like a scene straight out of a fantasy movie, [Vincenza Sharpe] got a call to work on the Disney sequel The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian. Suddenly, the one-time bank teller was en route to Prague.

Not that the call had come completely out of the blue. She had decided to apply for a job by sending an e-mail to Howard Berger, winner of an Oscar for best achievement in makeup for the first Narnia movie.

"I said if he ever wanted to give someone a chance to prove themselves, I would be that person." She got a positive response but no job offer. She persisted, even offering to fly to Los Angeles at her own expense to meet him. "He laughed at me and said he really liked how ballsy I was." Then the call came.

She spent five months working under Berger's tutelage with some of the makeup artists who had worked on the first Narnia movie.

"I learned so much. Howard is such a fantastic man. He gave me a chance."

The job was gruelling, with 20-hour work days and a scarcity of good food on the catering truck. The hardest part was leaving her children, who were then eight, 14 and 16. But the payoffs were great.

She recalls spending three and a half hours creating a centaur. She had to apply ears, a forehead piece, nose, wig and tons and tons of makeup. "My proudest moment was bringing him on set. Howard told me he was so impressed."

Sharpe, who is now working in Vancouver on the NBC comedy series Interns, said she has no real complaints about her job, but if there were one thing she could change, it would be the amount of time makeup artists are given to work on actors.

"It is really frustrating because they give camera time and the lighting people time, but when it comes to hair and makeup, it's like not a big deal, but it really is a big deal. We don't get the time we need with our actors sometimes."

She has big plans to go on the road again and to work on future Narnia shows in a job that has taken her far from Surrey to the land of stardom.

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