Makeup artist Rosalina da Silva dishes on creating 3D film-ready faces

Photo by Douglas Curran

Disney’s new 3D sci-fi thriller Tron: Legacy hits theatres tomorrow, and it’s starring none other than FLARE’s December cover girl, Olivia Wilde, as warrior woman Quorra. Set in a cyberworld dreamt up by a videogame mastermind, it’s sure to keep you captivated and thoroughly entertained. Special effects aside, we were floored by the sheer genius of the film’s makeup artistry, so we went right to the source, makeup department head Rosalina da Silva, to find out what goes into creating a face for 3D cinema.

In an effort to make the characters appear as videogame-like as possible, da Silva thought it best to block out—or, in some cases, exaggerate—the actors’ natural skin tones. She added a reflective finish to their faces by creating customized powders and foundations with extremely heavy coverage and light-reflecting pigments. A monochromatic makeup palette helped the characters become a part of the imaginary world the film portrays, without taking attention away from the intricate sets and costumes.

Heavily inspired by runway makeup, da Silva credits England-born makeup hotshot Kabuki’s recent runway work as a major influence for her direction on this film. In an effort to achieve the sexy goddess look that director Joseph Kosinski wanted for the Sirens in the movie, da Silva emphasized their eyes with not one but three sets of false lashes and some seriously otherworldly contact lenses. Quorra’s look, on the other hand, is much more wearable, with highlighted cheekbones, heavily kohl-rimmed eyes, bold brows and a neutral lip. The magic ingredient in the film’s makeup looks involved a product that can’t be bought at a store: “For the finishing touches, I made my own loose powder with a base of M.A.C Iridescent Loose Powder in Silver Dusk and Set Powder in Invisible, with a dash of other pigments and powders. I put them all into a blender and crushed them to create an extra-fine reflective powder,” says da Silva. Her homemade concoction was a staple throughout the movie on nearly the entire cast.

By far the biggest on-set challenge for da Silva was maintaining the makeup looks throughout filming: “With so many elements working against us, a major issue involved trying to keep the actors cool and dry so they wouldn’t sweat off the makeup.”

Will you be rushing out to see Tron: Legacy this weekend? Is Quorra’s videogame vixen look one you’ll replicate?—Lindsay MacAdam