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TrekToday - Michael Westmore answers fan questions

Michael Westmore answers fan questions

By Amy
September 24, 2000 - 10:15 AM

Star Trek.com has put up the first part of their question and answer session with makeup Trek guru, Michael Westmore. Westmore answers questions on various topics (some of which are below), ranging from his most challenge work to the Westmore family legacy.

Q: During the Voyager years, which set of alien make-up has been the most enjoyable for you to work on and why?

Miles L.

MW: On Voyager there are so many make-ups that are interesting because every single show creates another challenge. I think one of the more interesting[races] we had to deal with over the years would be the Vidiians. They were this patch-work quilt, and we had to figure out how they would look with different layers of skin overlaid and put together with hair on some and slick scales on others. Some would have rotting teeth and contact lenses. It was a lot of fun, along with the challenges it posed.

Q: The aliens on the show look fantastic and this is a credit to your work and craft. I would like to know which character takes the longest to make-up? Is there a limit to how many hours you can sit an actor in the make-up chair and create that alien?

Paul W.

MW: We don't have any time limits put on us, although you have problems with turnaround time the next day if the person is going to work two days in a row. We figure the longest period of time to do a make-up is about three hours. If it's going to take more than three hours to get it done, then we'll have two make-up artists working at the same time if it's an extensive job of gluing them in and having to add hands and everything. It could be a four or five hour make-up job, but you cut it down to three hours if you double team on the person. The make-ups range anywhere from 20 minutes for the simple ones, up to three hours.

The original Borgs used to take five hours for make-up and costumes and there was no way to make it shorter as two people couldn't even do it. It just took so long on "First Contact," but since that time we've been able to streamline it by pre-painting and having things all ready to go. One of the longest make-ups we've ever had on Star Trek was Brent Spiner when he played Dr. Soong [Brothers], which was a five-hour make-up. The longest we ever did was LeVar Burton (Geordi La Forge) when he had to transform into a lizard [Identity Crisis] because we had to glue veins over his whole body and paint them with luminous paint. His make-up took six hours.

The full article can be found here at the official site.

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