I recently had the privileges’ of chatting with Doug Morrow, the incredibly talented makeup designer behind the new amazing horror film, Orphan: First Kill (read my review – HERE). If you’re fan of the original, you can guess how much work went into making Isabelle look much younger in the second film than she actually is and I loved learning how he made that happen!
PopHorror – What inspired your career as a makeup designer?
Doug Morrow – I’ve loved movies ever since I can remember. I saw the original Planet of the Apes in 1973, and that was it…my career path was chosen.
PopHorror – Great movie! How did you get involved with Orphan: First Kill?
Doug Morrow – If I recall correctly, I was contacted by Brent Bell by email, and we had a quick discussion regarding the project.
PopHorror – The original film has such a huge fan base. Did you feel any pressure because of that?
Doug Morrow – There was a certain amount of pressure (mostly put upon by myself), and of course, the original being an amazing movie. Yes, you don’t want to mess it up!
PopHorror – You did a fantastic job! In the original film, Isabelle is much younger, which made it easier to pull off a younger character and deliver that huge twist. Can you tell us more about experimenting and designing different prosthetics and makeup to de-age 23-year-old Isabelle so that she could play Esther, who is only 10 years old?
Doug Morrow – The original idea was to use appliances to round out Isabelle’s face and make it cherubic, that butterball nose, little kid look. We experimented with a few ideas, but in the end, Isabelle had gained a bit of weight which rounded her face out and gave us that look. Then it was a matter of highlight and shadow makeup, dentures, costume, lighting, and camera angles to complete the effect of making a 23-year-old woman into a 9-year-old girl.
PopHorror – She looked fantastic. I also heard you had to utilize contact lenses to widen Isabelle’s eyes and give the illusion of innocence. Can you tell us more about that?
Doug Morrow – Yes, we used contacts to help give her eyes a youthful look. That was Brent’s genius idea. To give the iris a slightly bigger look. When you’re born, your eyes are already the size they’ll be for the rest of your life. Hence why children’s eyes look so big. So we gave her that to help with that youthful countenance.
PopHorror – I didn’t know that, interesting! Can you talk about the dentures that you made for Isabelle/Esther?
Doug Morrow – I originally made dentures to give her teeth more gum, and fewer teeth, like children’s teeth. I then had to create her adult teeth for the big reveal and engineer the youthful teeth to fit on top of the adult teeth for that scene where her denture comes out.
PopHorror – Wow, so much creativity and work! Overall, were you happy with the results and feedback from viewers?
Doug Morrow – I was extremely happy with how my work turned out and the finished film as a whole. I’ve gotten nothing but compliments about my work.
PopHorror – As you should! What was your favorite part about working/designing on this film?
Doug Morrow – My favorite part about my work on this project was that I think we achieved our goal of making Isabelle into a nine-year-old. Of course, none of that would’ve come to fruition if it wasn’t for the incredible performance of Isabelle. Her portrayal gilded the lily of everyone’s efforts!
PopHorror – For sure! What other films have you worked on?
Doug Morrow – I’ve been doing this for a long time now, and some of my credits include the original Jumanji, Happy Gilmore, Capote, eXistenZ, Channel Zero, and the upcoming Violent Night with David Harbour.
PopHorror – That’s so exciting! What’s next for you?
Doug Morrow – I am about to start a project which….shall remain nameless…sorry…that’s the movie business!
PopHorror – Thanks so much for chatting with PopHorror and for all the magic you make happen on the silver screen!