Westmore Talks 'Enterprise' Makeup ChallengeBy Caillan
August 29, 2001 - 11:23 AM
As 'Enterprise' returns to a time before The Original Series, makeup supervisor Michael Westmore is faced with the difficult task of modernizing familiar alien species in line with today's expectations, while still being faithful to their original design.
"We're not trying to go back and re-create 1965, because technically we've gone beyond what people were doing then," Westmore told the Los Angeles Times. "If I pulled out 1965 shows and said, 'This is the look,' I'd basically be thrown off the air. Today the makeup has to be sharp enough and challenging enough to the eye that the viewer will be interested in it."
Even a deceptively simple look such as that of the green-skinned Orion woman would be updated for Enterprise. "If we ever do the Orion women, we will do them differently," Westmore said. "Anything from The Original Series will literally be designed and updated with today's look. In 1965 you had water-based, pancake makeup, so the hard part was creasing and everything flaking off. Today we have colours that stay better, and airbrush. We also use a silicone adhesive to glue things down; back then they used spirit gum. All of these products and adhesives allow us to do things that they couldn't do in 1965."
Westmore has often dreamt about recreating some of the classic Original Series aliens using these new products. "I think about aliens like the Tellarites — the old ones look like pullover Halloween masks with some very crude hair work to them that was used to disguise edges," he says. "If we remade them today, it would be to the point where they would have eyes. Then I would do a variation on the face to soften out features, and the wigs would cost $3,000 instead of probably $50."
Working together with Westmore to create the look of the new series is costume designer Robert Blackman. For the NX-01's crew, Blackman has created everything from baseball caps and grey away mission coats to blue Starfleet-issue underwear.
The designer was very clear in his intent for the new Starfleet uniforms. "The uniforms [...] have that utilitarian look and they're much more identifiable to us," Blackman said. "What I'm doing is making sure that once you comprehend the original image, you go back to the face. It's not about what they're wearing—that's part of the frame, but really it's about what's coming out of their mouths and what's happening on their faces."