They say that seeing is believing but once you see Cannes-winning Matteo Garrone’s new live action version of the classic tale Pinocchio, you’ll be second guessing yourself.
Using very little CGI and painstaking detail by hand, the team behind the makeup and hair on Pinocchio created 25 characters in full prosthetics including Pinocchio, 10 theater puppets, the Cat, the Fox, the Cricket, the Tuna, the Gorilla and the Snail, including her full-sized shell which contained a pulley and cart underneath for the actress to walk around with.
Mark Coulier is a two-time Academy Award-winning makeup designer (2011’s The Iron Lady, 2014’s The Grand Budapest Hotel) with one of the most prolific careers in the industry. Along with Pinocchio, his work in 2020 included Borat Subsequent Moviefilm and Wonder Woman 1984. You can also see his creations in Suspiria (2018), the Harry Potter, Star Wars and Hellraiser franchises as well as Bohemian Rhapsody (2018), The Fifth Element (1997) and Candyman (1992). Coulier is the 2020 David di Donatello winner for Best Makeup for Pinocchio, which he shares with Dalia Colli.
Makeup artist Dalia Colli has worked with Garrone on his films Dogman (2018) and Gomorrah (2008). She is the the 2020 David di Donatello winner for Best Makeup, shared with Mark Coulier.
Hair designer Francesco Pegoretti most recently worked with Garrone on Tale of Tales (2015) starring Salma Hayek, which won him the David di Donatello award for Best Hair Design/Styling and he is the 2020 David di Donatello winner for Best Hair Design/Styling for his work on Pinocchio.
For Pinocchio, there were four different stages for makeup: the wood ages as the film continues and Pinocchio loses his polish, gains chips, scratches and more. Young Federico Ielapi sat in the makeup chair for three hours every day before shooting began (and by all accounts was perfectly patient, unlike some of the adults). Each day on the set, Ielapi had to have brand new prosthetics applied to his face and hands as the prosthetics were so delicate and could not be reapplied (especially near his eyes). Pinocchio alone required 55 different prosthetics.
Pinocchio is a Makeup and Hair Stylists guild nominee, on the BAFTA longlist and made the Oscar shortlist for Makeup and Hairstyling.
I talked with Coulier, Colli and Pegoretti about the demanding and rewarding work to bring Pinocchio to life and the collaborative nature of their work.
Pinocchio was released by Roadside Attractions on Christmas Day and is currently available to rent on Amazon Prime Video, YouTube and more.
All images courtesy of Roadside Attractions