By this point, most of you have watched Season 2 of The Umbrella Academy, so it’s the perfect time to go behind the scenes with makeup department head, Sarah Craig!
Sarah broke down the key looks she created for this season, the changes she made from Season 1, some fun Easter eggs to look out for, and more.
Read our conversation below for everything you wanted to know about the makeup in Season 2. And here’s your spoiler alert if you haven’t watched the new episodes yet because we’re going to be discussing some specific details!
You became the makeup department head on The Umbrella Academy in Season 2. What are some benefits or challenges of joining an established series?
What really appealed to me about stepping in as a makeup head for Season 2 was knowing that there would be a left turn for the entire cast, except for a couple of flashback scenes. And doing a period piece was super appealing. Every character was going to have a total overhaul, and I got to redesign everybody’s looks. With some elements established in Season 1, the showrunner, Steve Blackman, let me make some changes. Basically, I designed everything from the ground up in the second season except for some flashbacks.
What were the key changes that you made to the existing looks from the first season of the show?
In Season 1 when Vanya glows while using her powers, they put this really dark eye makeup all around her eyes, and I got rid of that in the second season. My personal taste is not spelling things out for the audience, and that’s how I felt about Vanya’s look when using her powers in Season 1. She’s already a badass chick and her powers are pretty cool, so she doesn’t need that dark eye makeup.
For Allison’s look, I wanted to pull her back. She wore a lot of makeup in the first season with 50 different products on her face. Emmy Raver-Lampman is such a beautiful woman, and I wanted her to have a no-makeup look. In the second season, it was more about what she was doing as a woman and she wasn’t as concerned with her looks as she was in Season 1.
With most of the Season 2 action taking place in the 1960s, where did you look for inspiration in creating period-specific looks?
I do a lot of research, and it’s one of my favorite parts of the job. When designing looks for The Umbrella Academy, I went to the internet to find great old photos. For Allison, I looked at women in the Civil Rights Movement. I had a binder with these beautiful pictures of men and women on the streets during that time period and looked at everything, including men’s facial hair and sideburns [for some other characters].
All the main characters are scaled back in Season 2 except for Klaus. How did you transform him into a charismatic cult leader?
We experimented with his beard and experimented with different looks. Steve Blackman wanted to see Klaus with a full beard, and Robert Sheehan felt it was too much and looked more like a homeless guy [than a cult leader]. The process was trial and error where we kept his original goatee and glued in hand-laid hair to create his long beard. I don’t know where the inspiration for the beads came from, but Robert was really into putting beads in his beard.
Often we collaborate with the actors. It’s nice when you’re both on the same wavelength. I always come in with some kind of vision for every character and where I’d like to take them, how they might feel, what they might wear, whether they wear makeup, and how much care they put into themselves. Robert was in the chair longer than any female stars. Two of us — my key makeup artist, Oriana Rossi, and I — would have him in the chair anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half just handling that beard every morning, and then putting on the tattoos.
Season 2 was mostly filmed in Toronto during the summer of 2019. Did that cause any continuity issues as the seasons changed?
We were shooting in the heat and when glue gets hot, it reactivates. And so there was a lot of re-gluing Klaus’s beard. Sometimes the whole thing would come off and we’d have to stop shooting to run in and glue it back on Robert’s face.
Tom Hopper obviously works out a lot and jogs outside so he would always have a bit of a tan, and Rob started off with a tan as well which we tried to mirror towards the end of filming when we were moving into the fall and winter months. We try to keep that same color because we don’t shoot in order, and sometimes we go back and do pickups from previous episodes. For makeup artists, the biggest need for continuity is keeping skin color consistent.
How do you and your team keep track of the looks throughout the season?
Once we’ve established a look, we’ll take photos of all three angles of the face. Then, my team and I will do in-depth notes on an index card that has every makeup product, every skin product, any tattoos, blood, or scars. That goes into a book that’s divided by episode, scene for scene in chronological order. I also have my team double up on photos, and then a photo of that look goes into each actor’s own makeup bag and stays in there all season just in case we go back to an earlier episode.
Are scars tricky to create?
The process for scars is different. I’ll sketch something and then have the FX guys make some molds and bring me a few samples. Then I’ll try them on to see if I like them, and if not, I send them back and try something new. We had Allison’s neck scar, which was a nice subtle one for this season. I tweaked Diego’s scars slightly to soften them. And then the one Swede, Axel (Kris Holden-Ried, has a scar that was inspired by a scar I have on my cheek from a car accident when I was a kid. It looks like a sea hook on his cheek. It’s subtle. So I put my own little Easter egg in there.
A nice little surprise early in the season is a much older Hazel (Cameron Britton). How did you age him for that episode?
We worked so hard on Hazel. Actually, Kyle from the FX team came in, and we each took half of Cameron’s face and it was a stretch and stipple process where you’re holding and stretching the skin, and applying an aging product that’s almost like a glue. Then, when you release the skin, it wrinkles, and it actually wrinkles the way your skin is probably going to as you age. That took us about three hours to do because it was all done by hand. And his beard was hand laid on, so we were pulling hair and trimming it, dipping it in glue and placing it. And then we painted some age spots. It was a lot of fun and I really love that kind of stuff.
You also got to create one character’s makeup completely from scratch — Lila (Ritu Arya). How did you create her look?
For Lila, I wanted her eyes to have that kohl look — like Iranian or Egyptian women — but be messily sexy. She’s a wild card, so we had some fun with the smudged eye makeup. Oriana Rossi did her face for the season and added her own little twist with this beautiful, charcoal-y, crystally cream shadow that would crease through the day. I wanted Lila to look worn in. She’s not sitting in front of the mirror perfecting her makeup. She’s one of those girls who will jam it on, and it looks good. Maybe she smudges it on with her finger. It’s effortlessly fun and punk rock.
What goes into creating a no-makeup or minimal makeup look like Vanya’s look this season?
I pride myself on that natural look. I want skin to look like skin with a bit of shine on the nose and cheeks. For Ellen Page, we used foundation, concealer, bronzer, blush, eyeliner, and mascara. She was in the chair for a while because she has some tattoos on her hands, and I would airbrush them out every morning.
With tattoos being way more common, has covering them become a bigger part of a makeup artist’s job?
A lot of the actors have their own tattoos. Emmy has tattoos on her arms and hands that we’d airbrush out. David Castañeda has a bunch of tattoos all over. Any time that guy’s shirtless — and this season, they had him take his shirt off quite a few times and I’m sure the audience loves it — his chest and stomach are covered in tattoos. They may look like they’re not wearing much makeup, but they spent an hour and a half in the makeup chair having their makeup applied and their tattoos airbrushed. I spent a lot of time this season covering up tattoos.
The Handler (Kate Walsh) made a surprising return in Season 2, and her look is the polar opposite of Vanya’s or Allison’s looks this season. What can you share about creating those looks, since they’re so different from the rest of the cast?
Kate is a dreamboat to work with. She just goes for it. That made my job a heck of a lot easier, and we had so much fun. When creating her looks, Christopher Hargadon, the costume designer, would come in with the sketches — and all of those dresses and hats are handmade, and every detail is crazy — so I would take inspiration from what he was doing. With the other characters, once we’ve established their looks, it’s usually the same thing every day no matter what they’re wearing. With The Handler, every look was a full look. We wanted to stick with her signature red lip but added other elements like gold glitter or the wildest lashes. I would always consult with Christopher first and then take my ideas and research to Kate before she flew to Toronto. My favorite part of this season was designing The Handler’s looks.
Now that we’ve taken you behind the scenes, rewatch Season 2 of The Umbrella Academy using Wiretap for Chrome, and see if you can spot Sarah and her team’s work. While you’re watching, be on the lookout for exclusive commentary from Sarah, and comments from fans around the world.
(This interview was edited and condensed)
Photos Courtesy of Netflix