Leslie Sebert
NETFLIX © 2021

Interview with Leslie Sebert, Makeup Department Head of Netflix’s ‘Nightbooks’

One of my favorite films of the year thus far has been Netflix’s Nightbooks (read our review – HERE). It’s such a dark and magical story with vibrant colors, fun makeup, and special effects. But who is behind this magic? Well, that would be the makeup department head, Leslie Sebert. Learn about her career, how she got involved with makeup/special effects, her involvement with Nightbooks, and more!

PopHorror – Hi Leslie! How is 2021 treating you so far?

Leslie Sebert – Hi, 2021 is going well so far. I hope it’s been great for you as well!

PopHorror – It is, thank you! How did you get involved with doing makeup/effects for films?

Leslie Sebert – My dad was a director for film and commercials and I would visit him at work a lot growing up. One day when I was 13 I met a makeup artist, Irene Redford, and watched her work. From that moment I knew what I wanted to do. I started training at age 14 and began working on different commercials when I was 18. Soon after, it quickly progressed to doing features.

PopHorror – That’s awesome! What was the first film you ever worked on?

Leslie Sebert – The first film I ever worked on was called A New Life, directed and starred by Alan Alda and Ann Margret. I was actually able to serve as Key Makeup Artist to Irene Redford.

PopHorror – Wow that’s amazing. One of your most recent projects is Head of Makeup Department for the dark fantasy, Nightbooks, how did you get involved with that?

Leslie Sebert – Originally, I was sent the script and it was such a good read. I loved it. Sami Raimi was the producer who I worked with on the Poltergeist remake, as well as Sam Rockwell. It was a really great experience and I knew taking on Nightbooks would be a really creative process too.

PopHorror – Love them both! Did you read the book that the film is based on?

Leslie Sebert – I didn’t get the opportunity to read the book beforehand, but I felt inspired by the story and script, and I knew it was a project I wanted to be involved in.

PopHorror – The makeup and special effects are outstanding and really bring the film to life. Can you tell us more in-depth how you created all of this for each character?

NETFLIX © 2021

Leslie Sebert – I start by working from a mood board and pull inspiration from that. My boards can include vintage makeup looks, contemporary runway and street makeup looks, fabric color swatches from wardrobes, hair and wig colors, and certain graphics or symbols too. It’s really anything that inspires creative thoughts to flow. I worked with the board and collaborated with Krysten Ritter (read our interview with her – HERE) for her character Natacha. The kids (read our interview – HERE) were fairly straightforward but created all the substances that they got into – specifically with the candy vomit, shredder goo, and ultraviolet dirt. The story characters were based on black and white makeup, highlights, and shadows. Grizelda, the old witch, was designed by KNB prosthetics.

PopHorror – You did an amazing job! What was your favorite part of the film?

Leslie Sebert – My favorite part was the elevator scene and candy vomit. The vomit that ended up on the kids was a challenge to create. After many tests, we created the perfect candy vomit was the right texture, durability, and color match to the vomit on the wardrobe and also food safe to be on the kid’s skin.

Leslie Sebert
NETFLIX © 2021

PopHorror – That was one of the best parts! You’ve had 35 years of experience in the makeup industry, can you give us some of your best tips and tricks for creating the perfect Halloween look?

Leslie Sebert – You’ll want to go scary and create your own look using makeup, wigs, and costume. Don’t go out and buy a costume! It doesn’t have to be perfect, but you should want to capture that scary look. You should try using big fake eyelashes because they’re perfect for a Halloween costume like this. It can take your scary makeup to beautiful, also add lots of liner!

PopHorror – Love those tips! Any other projects you’d like to talk about?

Leslie Sebert – I just finished working on a thriller called “Ivy” starring Alice Braga from Queen of the South. I’m not entirely sure when it will be out, but it was a great project and I’m excited for it to come out!

PopHorror – Well, I look forward to it and all your future projects! Thanks again, Leslie, for chatting with PopHorror. Have a fun, safe, and spooky Halloween!

About Tori Danielle

Tori has had a passion for Horror and music ever since she was a little girl. She got bit by the writing bug in high school where she was involved in both the school newspaper and the yearbook. While getting her Bachelors degree, she took Journalism and Creative Writing classes where her passion grew even stronger. Now, in between work and family, she spends all of her spare time indulging in music, Horror movies, and nerdy fandoms, all while running/assisting one of the biggest Horror groups on Facebook and writing for various websites.

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