He is busy and in demand! He is Alessandro Bertolazzi, and most recently, he worked as the Hair and Makeup Designer on the upcoming, highly anticipated superhero film, Suicide Squad, working with mega stars such as Jared Leto, Margot Robbie and Cara Delevingne. If you’ve seen the trailer, you’ll note that only a genius could master such intricate hair, makeup and special effects seen on each sinister character. So, we had to find out what it was all about. We caught up with Alessandro in Nairobi before he took off to Seoul for another location shoot with Netflix show, Sens8.
What was it like working on the film, Suicide Squad?
I was surprised when the director called me, because I’m the guy more who works on drama movies, so when they called me to work on a [comic film], I was like – ‘Are you sure you have the right person to do that?’ I was really scared, believe me. I had no idea. I don't want to say I’m not a fan of superhero movies, but I was surprised and afraid at the same time that they had a great expectation of the Hair and Makeup Designer. I was almost sure they were going to fire me within two weeks. I didn’t use anything from the big studio budget. I used organic stuff, really cheap that I’d find from Home Depot.
Have you ever watched a movie that is too clean, too comfortable, too tidy? I wanted to make something real. I wanted to use organic stuff and shoot the stuff in a different way. For example, the witch character, Enchantress, who has long hair. I saw a reference picture where she’s completely covered with ash with these long dreadlocks. But they’re not dreadlocks, they are something that look like them. This was my inspiration. They sent me people who can do dreadlocks but I didn’t want them to do dreadlocks. Finally I was in a shop where they would send a carpenter, and I found a beautiful mop. So I brought this mop with the guy who’s always with me, Giorgio Gregorini, who’s one of the best hair dressers ever. We dyed the mop, we changed the mop, we dirtied it, we burned it, we worked with this organic stuff.
How did you come up with the look for Harley Quinn?
We tried to destroy this view of her as much as possible because she’s so beautiful. I tried to do the worst makeup ever. I started to be really bad. I took the brush with the color and slammed it against her face and did the worst possible [makeup application]. Nothing. There was a problem. It was like there were two different energies that were in contact and became even more strong. Every time I tried to do a worse job, it became more beautiful. Most of the movie she’s dirty and scratched up looking, at that moment, it was better again. She had tears from fighting, I put green and oil on the face, I put dust and charcoal, I put blood and I put everything possible [on it].
The wig was the most important but again, we ordered a wig. It costs $1k but it looked like sh*t. I bought a $400 wig and it worked. It had to look like a cartoon or a comic. We designed the color, we started with something really rough and cheap and we started working, building, transforming until we were done.
Did you ever have special effects training in the past?
No, not really. I’m Italian. (laughs) We just do it. That’s exactly what David Ayer (Director) says to me when we’re working, “We do it.” We don’t think a lot, we don’t spend time, we just do it.
And, what’s it like working on your latest show, Sense8?
It’s great because it shoots in many locations around the world. We’ve been everywhere in Mexico, India, Iceland, Italy, London, Chicago, Sao Paolo, and now we’re going to Seoul and back to Berlin.
Alessandro Bertolazzi is repped by The Milton Agency.