When you watch the movie The Terminator, haven’t you ever thought how the terminator’s melt figure is made? How about The Curious Case of Benjamin Button? In this movie, Brad Pitt’s appearance is a very old man and as time goes by, his face is changed younger. As you watched this movie, didn’t you say, “Wow!” because his old face was so realistic? Whenever we watch a movie, drama or advertisement, we can see so many special characters which we can’t see in our everyday lives. If you have ever had curiosity about who makes this special character once, notice here. By his hands, so many characters were created.
SMT Compared to the past, although many people got to know more about Special Makeup, people still associate special makeup with a horror movie. In fact, is the thought right that the
area where the special makeup is most used is horror movies? With this answer, please explain clearly about special makeup as a special make-up artist.
YOO First, the thought that the special makeup is most used in horror movies can be right. It’s because stochastically this work is most used in horror movies and in this genre the workload is a little more than others. However, the thought that special make-up is only for the horror movies is a bias. In fact, it is used not only in horror but also in SF, fantasy, action, comedy and even in romances. It means special makeup covers all genres. Therefore, in short, the special makeup is
the means that can express characters directly, creating and expressing unusual characters. It can show the characters that are common, but the situation they are placed in is extraordinary. (For example, in spite of the character being male, his stomach is bloated because of ascites.) This is special makeup.
SMT I heard you decided to be a special make-up artist after watching the movie, Mrs. Doubtfire. In this movie, you were attracted to the fact that male actor got the new character through grandmother make up. However, I think that when you decided your job, make-up artist was stranger and had a poorer condition than now in Korea.
YOO The reason of my decision, though this job was not widely known in Korea at that time, is because of my major. I was hoping vaguely to get into making movies and became to think that I can do well in this part compared to directing, lighting or shooting. It’s because I majored in design and was doing sculpture for the entrance examination. However, in those days the road for special make-up artists was really short. Because in the beginning step, I couldn’t get the information with the Internet and it was hard to buy for foreign specialty publications. Especially the environment in Busan was more inadequate. There wasn’t a big difference after moving to Seoul, either. Systems related to special makeup were not built at all, and most academies were for general makeup. Meanwhile, I heard that my friend working at one newspaper met the person who participated in the movie, The Fox with Nine Tails (Korean name is goomiho) as a special make-up artist, and I became his apprentice. In this way, I took my first step as a special make-up artist.
SMT When you participate in work, is your opinion about character’s concept or props reflected much? Or do you prepare for exactly required items?
YOO Dick Smith, who is the first generation of special make-up artists in the United States, said that “Special make-up artist is a creator in the screen.” But in fact, we can’t be perfectly free from the character’s general image because of the scenario. However, we can decide detailed and specific things to some degree. When taking care of a character, I always imagine for analyzing the character. For example, with an old man character, special make up is expressed very variously. According to how he has lived, make up is different. If he has had a difficult life in his youth, wrinkles and scars are more pronounced and if in the opposite side, by expressing more elastic skin, his past will be presented.
SMT What is the most memorable work among the all works you have taken part in?
YOO It is the movie, Tie a Yellow Ribbon (Korean name is zzim). In the movie, actor An Jaewook dressed up as a woman. And it is my first movie after starting my job. Of course, in this movie, my teacher was the main special make-up artist and I was just a person who assisted him. After completing the movie, one day I heard my name got to be written on the ending credit. I remember the memory that I went to a theater alone and paid out my money and watched the movie after hearing this. At the moment when the ending credit rose and I saw my name, I thought that having this job is really a great choice and that I should continue this job. In addition, Fight in theWind is memorable work, too. It’s because this movie is the first movie that I participated in as a main special make-up artist with my name.
SMT One reporter has said that as computer graphics (CG) have improved, the present Academy Award in Makeup can’t show the past brilliant ideas. What do you think about it?
YOO I think it’s not perfectly wrong, but at the same time not perfectly right. It’s hard to express recent scenarios well with only past ingenious ideas. It can be explained by the limitation of analog works. As time goes by, audiences are setting their eyes higher. They need more realistic and want to see more. It’s very nearly impossible to fulfill their needs with just special makeup. For instance, in the movie The Terminator, it’s possible through special makeup to make the final result after Terminator got attacked, so his face is melted down. However we need CG to show the process of his melting face. In this way, cooperation appears. However, we can find the meaning of special makeup in the point that it doesn’t disappear, but is in coexistence with CG. Special makeup also provides CG with a fundamental source. If the level of special makeup moves back, this job would disappear, but it is still active. It means that special makeup is developing in its own
SMT Generally when people think of special makeup, they feel it is related to pop culture such as dramas or movies. However, I read an article about the foreign special make-up artist who gave new ears to a girl who didn’t have ears. In this way, is special makeup used for medical treatments in Korea?
YOO I heard that sometimes special make-up artists work for medical treatment in some foreign countries. In Korea, this case is done, too. I have seen several special make-up artists around me make eyes, ears, or arms for people who feel inconvenient in their lives. However, it’s never done frequently, but is a very rare case in only special situations. Also, this work is not above the water in Korea. Although there are people who cover artificial eyes or skin professionally, I think they have different meaning from special make-up artists.