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There was once a time when filmmakers underestimated what makeup could do, these days filmmakers take these effects for granted.  When Ron Howard called Rick Baker, it was because he knew every actor needed elaborate makeup effects.

"I got a call from Ron," says Baker, "and he said something like, `I don't know if you read that I was doing THE GRINCH, but I figured you'd wonder how long it was going to take me before I called you.' I said, I did hear that was happening and I was hoping that you might call. He said, `yeah, we're doing it, and we'd like you to be involved.  Are you interested?'  And I said, of course."

Baker was very excited to be working with Jim Carrey Baker says, "He's got such a rubber face and can do so much with it.  He would be able to move the makeup really well."  Baker, concerned that some of the cast members where children stated, "It might end up being a problem if one of the principles is a kid.  You can't put a child actor through a three and a half-hour makeup.  Ron was finishing ED TV, so his head was not really in the Grinch yet.  But I was already feeling pressure to get started.  During out design period we did a whole bunch of maquettes, drawings and photoshop designs on what the Grinch and Who's are.  Just trying to get feedback is always difficult at that stage, because the director is working on this other movie."
Rick Bakers group of talented artists at his company CINNOVATION; Kazuhiro Tsuji, Matt Rose, Eddie Yang and Mich DeVane did concept sculptures of the characters.  Baker says "I would separate them into different rooms in the shop and wouldn't let them look at each other's work.  I find a lot of times if you've got the guys sitting next to each other sculpting, they look over at what the other guy's doing and pretty soon you've got these homogenized designs.  The whole reason for having different people working on is to get different ideas and approaches.  I wasn't looking at their stuff either.  I did one Grinch design that I thought was a good practical approach.  Something I knew he could move well and would be a fairly comfortable makeup and still try to capture the character.  What I didn't really like about it was the nose.  I placed it where his nose was so he could breathe.  It Really didn't look as much like the Grinch because of that."

Baker continues, " The initial designs were sent in a book to the production.  "We didn't tell them who did what.  We just put numbers on them and they chose mine.  Ron said, `Brian and I both right away went to this one.  And that's what we think it should be.'  I appreciate that, bit looking at what the other guys did, they actually had some neat things.  But they said, "We think this is it.  It's real close."  I was flattered that they picked mine, bit I didn't think it was right.  I ended up doing some other computer designs, where I took the things I liked about my sculpture and some things I liked about some of the other ones.  Eddie Yang had a real good Seuss feel to his stuff.  I took some ideas form his. Mainly, he had a small nose up high, which I had avoided just because of the breathing problem.  But it sure looked more like the Grinch."

Doing a test makeup on himself Baker said, "I thought it would be easier to convince them that it's a good way to go when they see it as a makeup and not just a clay thing. I got a call from Ron on Christmas Eve. He said, `This is good but I think it's too much.  It doesn't look enough like Jim.'  Well, that's because it's on me, for one." Baker said. " We're very different.  The differences in the design where my nose is so much bigger.  But listen, I think it's a pretty good way to go.  And he [Ron] said, ` We'll see.  We kind of liked that other one that you did'"

Baker went on " I said it would be best if we can get Jim in and do the tests on him.  We sculpted using a lifecast we had of Jim from BATMAN FOREVER.  Right away Jim said, `This is too much.  I can't move my face at all.'  But he was moving it all over the place, because he can.  But it was thicker then I wanted it to be.  Jim went through and looked at all the maquettes and said, `I like this one, I like that one, why don't we do one like this?'  We'll do one like this tomorrow. I said.  He was supposed to be ours for the entire pre-production period but he went on location to do ME, MYSELF AND IRENE.  So we had him only a couple of times for tests.

"Jim really wanted to go with a minimal approach to begin with, so we tried a very small appliance on him, a little brow cover thing." says Baker " I didn't think it was enough.  To make a long story short, we went through at least half a dozen tests.  It kept coming back to `just paint him green, because he can make this cool Grinch expression.'  I was heartbroken.  I just had to get away because I was really disappointed.  So I'm in my Room and Kazu is finishing the makeup and I was working on trying to come up with a new approach when Jim got up to take a break.  He says, `What's this?'  And it was when I did a Grinch makeup on myself back at Christmas time. Jim says, `This is what the Grinch should look like.  This is the Grinch.'  My jaw just kind of dropped.  I was glad to hear him say that.  I said, I agree, this is what I feel that the Grinch should be.  But everybody's had different ideas.  You said a few seconds before that you wanted to be painted green.  He said, `I'll go for it, if I can look like this.'  So I showed him the video of me in the Grinch makeup and he got more excited about it.  So we went all the way back to where we were four months before.  But I was really glad to see him going in that direction.

Baker says, " It takes two and a half hours makeup time for Jim.  That's pretty good for as elaborate as it was.  But it would always take longer because of all the breaks.  Jim definitely found the whole process torturous.  It is a lot more difficult then coming in and getting a base rubbed on your face and getting out the chair in ten minutes.  He's a very hyperactive Guy and he has a hard time sitting still in the chair.  I definitely understand that.  Any time I'm in an airplane for four and a half-hours, I have a really hard time with it myself.  I feel that every makeup artist working with appliances should go through the process himself or herself.  The perspective form the makeup artist's point of view is that the time whizzes by, the performer's perspective is that time is standing still."




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