Los Angeles: Interview with Mark Coulier and J. Roy Helland for the film ‘The Iron Lady’
Q. Hey, uhm, what was the most difficult part of turning Meryl Streep into 'The Iron Lady' makeup wise?
A. (J. ROY HELLAND) The budget.
Q. Okay. Now
A. (J. ROY HELLAND) Seriously.
Q. Okay. Expand, please.
A. (J. ROY HELLAND) The other one is time, which is always against you, but...both, you know. It's the budget. No time, no money.
Q. All right. How do you do it without time and money?
A. (J. ROY HELLAND) Work fast. And have an actor who will sit absolutely still for two and a half hours.
Q. What would have happened if she moved?
A. (J. ROY HELLAND) It would have taken longer.
Q. All right. Thanks.
A. (J. ROY HELLAND) You are welcome.
Q. Hi, Mark, I was just wondering, you won a BAFTA and now an Oscar, how is this going to affect your career in the future? It's going to go up, isn't it?
A. (MARK COULIER) Well, I hope so, yeah. It's taken a long time. I've been doing it for 25 years. So, it's...it's an honor to win this award. I've heard that sometimes people win an Oscar and never work again, because people think they are going to be too expensive, so we will see what happens, but hopefully things will go up from this point in time.
Q. This is for J. You have a long 37 year career working with Meryl Streep. I was wondering what it was like to work with her to work for so many years 'Devil Wears Prada', 'Julie & Julia' and what it's like to watch a face that's so familiar to your age, how you age that and see it change?
A. (J. ROY HELLAND) Well, it's a great honor and a great joy, and we have a really good time. That's why we like to do it still. Uhm, it's...it's all fascinating to make it different. I mean, a long, long time ago, I got probably the best lesson I ever did in makeup which someone said, "Don't paint what you see. Paint what you want." So, for us, Meryl and I, it's all about not having it be her, but having it be whoever the character is. And it's great fun.
A. (MARK COULIER) And for me, it was not covering up Meryl Streep completely, and trying too hard to make her look like Margaret Thatcher. It was just picking out elements of Margaret Thatcher and transposing them on to Meryl Streep and leaving her with freedom to move, and...and still express and emote, and act.
Q. Hi. You said that you had no budget for this film. What is "no budget"? Let us understand what the budget would be?
A. (J. ROY HELLAND) The budget for this film was a little under $14 million. Uhm, and when they budgeted for that, they didn't consider that we would be doing that much old age for that amount of time. We couldn't...
Q. Your share of the budget, what was your share?
A. (J. ROY HELLAND) We have no idea. They just said, "No, you can't have anymore." I was...I was allowed to have five wigs made. And they were rented. And that was it. Covering over 40 years.
Q. So, you didn't know what your share would be?
A. (J. ROY HELLAND) No. No.
Q. How would you spend...how could you spend that money?
A. (J. ROY HELLAND) I spend, and then they say, "You can't have anymore." And then you say, "Well, we need that." And they say either yes or no.
Q. Yes. How much work did Meryl's hair take each day, and difference between her nose and Thatcher's nose, and what were used?
A. (J. ROY HELLAND) Hair? Uhm, I used the back of her hair, about 2 inches, so I didn't have any problem. So, in the morning, I would...before we, actually, drove to the studio, I would set her hair in the back with pin curls. Set her hair in pin curls so that we...by the time we got to the studio, she could go straight to Mark. And then it was all wigs. Wigs go on quite quickly. I would have to, it was me staying up late at night cleaning and fixing and getting up early in the morning and combing them. And we would usually do three different time periods a day.
Q. And the nose?
A. (MARK COULIER) And the nose, yeah. For the younger..Meryl plays the younger version in her forties and fifties, we just had a little nose prosthetic which took about a half an hour, took myself and assistant Barrie Gower. And when we did the old age, it was a full prosthetic makeup, neck and cheek, and all sorts of stuff going on which took 2 hours [inaudible] and then over to Roy. So, it was 3 hour..the old age makeup was a 3 hour makeup.
Q. Thank you very much and congratulations.
A. Thank you.