Star Trek Beyond – The Makeup Artistry of Joel Harlow made its debut recently and Harlow spoke about working on over fifty aliens for Star Trek Beyond.
Harlow has his favorites, including the popular Jaylah. “Certainly, Jaylah was a show-stopping makeup,” he said. “The lion’s share of credit on that goes to Richie Alonzo. One of the characters I got to personally sculpt was an alien we named Reptilicus. Initially we started by populating the film with alien races by sculpting characters on generic lifecasts that I had in a storage unit. This alien started on a lifecast of a well-known actor I had worked with on a previous film. When Reptilicus was cast as actor Danny Pudi, I quickly realized that the difference in facial structures was fairly extreme. Danny did a fantastic job with the character and I instantly liked the look on his face far, far more than the original sculpture…not to mention that it is always rewarding to apply a makeup that you’ve sculpted.”
One of the difficult things about creating characters is when they are not used in the project. Harlow admitted that is difficult to accept. “Yeah, it’s never fun to see a character drop off before the final cut,” he said. “So much time is put into each one that it is a shame that some never reach the big screen…and, going into a film like this, with so many characters, you know some aren’t going to make it. You still have to treat each one as if it is the star of the show, however.”
But Harlow made sure to document each one, which paid off when they were included in the Star Trek Beyond – The Makeup Artistry of Joel Harlow book. “I think that is part of the reason I excessively photographed each one, so they would still have a life even if they didn’t make the cut, and this book is the ideal showcase for them. I think that almost every film of this genre deserves a book of this kind. I know I’d certainly appreciate seeing the creative process on other film characters.”
If asked Harlow would love to work on other Trek projects. “I can speak for the entire team. We are all in for any future Star Trek projects. Even though we created over fifty alien characters for Beyond, there were hundreds that never made it out of the concept stage. We already have a wealth of ideas ready for the next one.”
Star Trek Beyond – The Makeup Artistry of Joel Harlow can be ordered here.