MOVIE MAKEUP GETS THE INSIDE TAKE ON THE FRESHEST LOOKS IN THE MONTH’S HOTTEST MOVIES
Mortal or monster – what would you choose? In Universal Pictures’ revamp of the beloved adventure-horror classic The Mummy, the choice is surprisingly unclear. Monsterism becomes terrifyingly seductive in the form of Ahmanet, an Egyptian princess denied her throne and determined to call forth the god of death to seize back power – over three millennia after her own burial.
In life, in her own time, Princess Ahmanet, played by actress Sofia Boutella, is stunning, cunning, ruthless. But it’s in her state of undeath that she truly comes alive; when bandages and bondage come undone, she is magnificent in her raw drive for domination. Her beauty and danger carry an undeniable allure, even for the movie’s hero, who battles his own attraction to Ahmanet and her promise of power. Award-winning makeup designer Lizzie Yianni Georgiou was tasked with bringing the princess fully to life, even in death, for her journey from the desert of ancient Egypt to the discomfortingly close underground of modern-day London. Here, Lizzie explains how she shaped the look for cinema’s newest revival of a timeless horror icon.
What influenced your decision to work on the newest rendition of The Mummy?
I was really excited about the chance to design a female mummy. I’m a huge Dark Universe monster fan and loved that director Alex Kurtzman was keen to honour the original 1932 version of The Mummy. I also loved the fact that our film flips between today’s world and ancient Egypt, exploring a modern take on undead characters – it gave me a lot of scope visually.
“My studies of sacred geometry, as well as Egyptian hieroglyphs and symbols, also inspired Ahmanet’s hairstyles and her body art. Her blue-and-gold-dipped fingers and toes were inspired by the gold toe caps that were found on King Tutankhamun in his tomb. The raised runes on the Mummy’s body come directly from the Egyptian Book of the Dead.”
What research shaped the historical makeup looks and hairstyles of Ahmanet’s character?
I spent many days on the research for Ahmanet’s ancient princess look. I studied and drew inspiration from the various dynasties of Egypt, then applied a modern twist. I looked to the fashions of ancient Egypt and the sarcophaguses on display in The British Museum, developing hairstyles that emulated the shape of the headdresses I saw there. My studies of sacred geometry, as well as Egyptian hieroglyphs and symbols, also inspired Ahmanet’s hairstyles and her body art. Her blue-and-gold-dipped fingers and toes were inspired by the gold toe caps that were found on King Tutankhamun in his tomb. The raised runes on the Mummy’s body come directly from the Egyptian Book of the Dead.
Ahmanet has two very distinct looks in the film. Was there a particular makeup element that helped you transition from one look to the other?
The living Princess Ahmanet’s makeup is definitely a mixture of looks from Egyptian history and contemporary high fashion. So many period looks have already been done, so I thought we needed to bring her more into our period! Her look as The Mummy is an ode to black-and-white Universal horror with a modern twist.
“I wanted to keep Ahmanet beautiful and alluring whilst maintaining a royal element and an edge, and to give her a look that hadn’t been seen before. I was very conscious of creating an iconic character that could stand on her own.”
The film is shot in several different locations, including the desert. How did the different climates affect what makeup you used each day?
The desert did bring with it issues for the looks. We were shooting in Namibia in the winter, which meant the wind was high and brought huge gusts of sand up, and the days were shorter, which meant we had fewer chances to get our shots exactly right. I applied Prep + Prime Fix+ spray to help keep Sofia Boutella’s makeup fresh. We also shot a scene underwater, which provided even more challenges. That’s what Studio Face and Body Foundation came in handy for!
You used M·A·C makeup on all of The Mummy’s characters. When did your relationship with M·A·C begin? Why has it endured?
I have worked with M·A·C for many years and across many of the films I have designed. They’re renowned for producing products that suit many skin tones and types. That’s what makes their products invaluable. I also see M·A·C as an innovative company that has an enormous range of colour palettes, which have good staying power for long days on set.
What were your challenges in creating Ahmanet’s look?
I wanted to keep Ahmanet beautiful and alluring whilst maintaining a royal element and an edge, and to give her a look that hadn’t been seen before. I was very conscious of creating an iconic character that could stand on her own.