During her Gotham Awards tribute speech, Tilda Swinton name-checked one unexpected collaborator just before exiting stage: Chris Lyons, the man behind Fangs FX. A prosthetic effects company specializing in dental wonders, Swinton personally rang Lyons for four films that played in 2014: “Only Lovers Left Alive,” “Zero Theorem,” “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” and “Snowpiercer.” For Swinton, the makeover is part of the job. If she can use special effects makeup to inch just a little closer to her vision of the character, she”ll leap at the chance. A new behind-the-scenes video gives those who bow at the Swinton altar a chance to see her undergo this metamorphosis, going from “Snowpiercer” makeup chair to on-set rehearsal with director Bong Joon-ho.
In the video, the droll Swinton describes her “Minister Mason” work as “very naturalistic, very delicate, very subtle… it”s a nose job, let”s face it.” Even in this snippet of footage, you can see a few of the Swinton”s physical choices that help define and nuance Mason. Her lipstick is commentary (“It”s giving birth to glam”). Gesticulation becomes her greatest weapon. Even more exciting than her makeup work is watching Swinton mosey on to stage for Bong Joon-ho”s approval. He can barely believe his eyes. After soaking up Swinton”s Mason, they talk character, talk performance, and it”s a rare look at what goes into crafting even the wildest performance.
Late last month, our own Gregory Ellwood made a case for Swinton breaking into the Best Supporting Actress category. Going off quality alone, it”s deserved. Whether the quirk and sliminess will play for Academy voters is another matter. The actress received a little bump from the Gotham tribute and the Boston Online Critics, who named her Best Supporting Actress, but it”ll take higher profile recognition than that if Swinton will fight her way to the front of the train. Dumped and rediscovered by The Weinstein Company”s VOD arm Radius, “Snowpiercer” has climbed its way into conversation despite the odds – but is it too little too late? This video certainly delivers on the charm and dedication.
Check out the featurette below. And if you still haven”t seen “Snowpiercer,” head to Netflix immediately.