Normally when I’m asked to collaborate with a film company I’m sent a trailer, a few stills and I have to figure out the rest. Today was a little different in the best kind of way. This time I was invited to London to meet Lizzie Georgiou – the makeup designer for The Mummy – were I got to see the props, mood boards, behind-the-scenes photography and even watch Lizzie do a demonstration.
Lizzie was also the makeup designer for Guardians of the Galaxy, Thor The Dark World and Dark Shadows
The best part of the workshop was hearing about how all the little details for the character were created. Just the mood boards on their own were amazing, pictures of Queen Nefertiti and King Tutankhamun. The Elizabeth Taylor version of Queen Cleopatra (even though she was Greek, not Egyptian). One interesting detail that they added which I wouldn’t re-create in the tutorial they added a small gold grill between the front of her teeth. The idea was – and amazingly I’d never heard of this before – that the ancient Egyptians would add a tongue grid to their Mummies to prevent their tounges from flopping back into their throat and causing them to choke in the afterlife. So Lizzie Georgiou added a small gold clip grill between her front teeth where the tongue guard would have clipped onto.
Another one of the first things that grabbed me about this character were the tattoos all over her body. Turns out they were inspired by a statue of a priestess in the British Museum, and the runes are ancient Sumerian from the book of the dead. Originally Lizzie Georgiou wanted to have the runes in red, as though they had been cut into her body, but in order to stick to the film’s PG 15 rating, they had to be changed to black.
For me at least, when I went to the workshop I was very interested to see why they went for the look they did, and how the previous Mummy films had affected the character development. As it turns out they, took absolutely not inspiration from the Brendan Fraser films. In fact, the majority of their inspiration came from the 1934 Boris Karloff film. Even some of the techniques from that film were replicated in this adaptation.
You know the good old latex and tissue method? Well, the used that on a lot of the extra mummies in this film, they even used rice crispies stuck on over the tissue to get a textured effect on the skin. I don’t know about you, but I thought that was awesome.