The other week we got the incredible opportunity to speak with the makeup designer Doug Morrow, for his work on Orphan: First Kill, including deaging techniques used on Isabelle Fuhrman as well as working with Julia Stiles. Read the interview below, Orphan: First Kill is currently streaming on Paramount Plus.
AJ: How did you get involved with Orphan: First Kill
Doug: Well I got an email from the director and we we’re gonna make the in wineapag and using Isabell Fuhrman and come up with an interesting idea for me to be involved.
How did the concept of de-aging come about for the film?
Doug: I got a proof of concept test with a local actress with prosethistics trying to make her look 25 years younger. It was, you know, at the time, just over 10 years younger. So it’s not like she was 50 and, you know, had a lot of big facial structural changes and wrinkles and, and whatnot. It was really just trying to make her face look a little more rounded. And luckily, you know, Isabelle is very beautiful and has, you know, at the time she was 23, she had aged very well. So we had that going course. And in the end we just boiled it down to, I used just standard beauty techniques, a lot of highlight and shadow painting to make her look as rounded and as youthful as I could, which was very easy, again, because Isabelle looks great and then we did other things.
We gave her dentures to make her teeth look a little younger. Brent had a great idea of giving her contact lenses because when you’re little, your eyeballs are the size they’re gonna be for your whole life. That’s why little kids look like they have such big eyes. So we grow into our eyes. So what we did was we gave her contact lenses that made the irises look bigger to give the effect that her eyes were larger than the they were, which was a great touch. And then with using lighting, highlight and shadow, um, camera angles, it really just everything we did just really sold it, that she was still 10 years old.
AJ: Right. And, you know, the orphan, the first one has such a huge following. So whenever a sequel is announced, there’s always kind that, I don’t know, like optimism of skepticism to it, I should say, because you’re like, okay, we can have an idea, but if it’s too campy or not sure what it wants to be, then it can go horribly wrong. But I guess when you got to work on this, with Brent, were there ideas he gave to you when he was talking about makeup ideas or however he got you involved? How did those conversations go on set? If there were any?
Doug: Brent, he’s such a great collaborator to work with. And he, uh, you know, he had total trust in what I was doing and some, and it was a big collaboration between Brent, Isabelle, Karee great DOP and myself, uh, in terms of trying to get this look right. And yeah, you’re right. It was very scary because orphan the original movie was such a huge hit and has a great following that you don’t wanna, you don’t wanna mess that up. So I felt quite a bit of pressure, mainly because in the end we boil it down to, yes, we can use Isabelle. And I guess I had a lot of input in that. So there was a lot of pressure to make sure that I did everything I could to make it work.
Brent, uh, yeah we just decided that we would like to jettison whatever prosthetics we had built. There was we, I had built some smaller things and we tried those and shop with them for a couple of days and kind of realized that they weren’t adding, um, anything to it. So we just in those, and I just did like highlight and shadow and with everything else. Use that to sell the effect that she’s still a little girl. Brent had a lot of pressure on him because so he was great. He’s just such a great person to work with very kind and generous and has terrific ideas. And like I say, is a collaborator cuz you don’t get that all the time with directors. It was just a joy to work with him and, uh, a great project to be involved with.
AJ: So as the makeup artist, did you just mainly work with Isabelle, or did you work with the whole cast as well on this?
Doug: So I I’m what we call them, I was the makeup department head, slash makeup effects person on the shows. So, I was like the director of makeup. Because we had, oh my God. My mind is escaping me. our lovely actress who played the mother.
AJ: Uh, Julia Stiles
Doug: Yes. Yes. Thank you, Julia Stiles, I wanted to make sure that she was looked after. So I had my key makeup artist, Christie, Greg deal pretty much with her, which I know, Julia appreciated and they get along great. Then I looked after Isabelle primarily, but I also looked after Rossif Sutherland and then, you know, all the rest of the kind of day players, wasn’t a huge cast. Um, we just kind of split them up and whatnot, but then, the main chore was, of course, Isabel and her looks. And, you know, we also see her when she kind of takes away. Her facade takes her teeth out to reveal her real teeth and whatnot. So there were a lot of little challenges aside from, making her look younger which consumed a lot of time and thought.
AJ: right. And you know, the landscape of movies now is so different with how you can consume them because paramount released this in theaters and also on paramount plus. So how does that feel to you, from people to be able to see it in theaters and at home, if they feel safer viewing it at home, there’s just a whole, another niche of people that can watch this? So how do you feel about that when you’re like a lot more people can watch it that way and can get to see how much you’ve worked on this film as well?
Doug: Oh, it’s yeah, it’s great. And I understand, you know, still in the climate that we’re living in with, COVID, people wanting to stay home and still be able to see movies first run. So I think it’s a great thing, you know, now I’m from the generation where, you know, uh, going to the theater when you’re a kid was a huge deal.
AJ: Right. It was an amusement park ride. Like when you went to go see a summer blockbuster, any kind of movie, right?
Doug: Exactly. Yeah. And it still is. So of course, you wanna try and see a movie in, on the big screen, but understand. And I think you know, there’s just that this new kind of world that we live in, in this new kind of market of being able to see a movie first run sitting at home where you feel safe, I think is a great thing. And I think that it really expands the boundaries
AJ: And so what was the thing that you took away the most working with Isabelle and Julia and the whole cast on orphan first kill? Cause they were all amazing. Just how, what did you take away the most from your experience on this film?
Doug: Uh, I think the thing that I took away most from working on this project was that there was a lot of pressure. Um, I was quitting on myself because of the things that we discussed, in terms of, you know, the whole look of Isabelle and all that. When it boiled down to it, it was just a great experience. The whole cast was just lovely, lovely people. There were never any issues, with anything. We had a really good time and yeah, there was some pressure cuz we’re doing something that’s one we’re taking a beloved movie and doing a prequel to it and you don’t wanna screw that up. That was some pressure. In the end, it was just, it was a lovely experience and Brent was such a terrific director collaborator and, and just a great guy that’s that, you know, you are always kind of relieved when a project is over and you got through it and this I would do it again in a heartbeat just because of the great connections, uh, that was made.
It was like even there were days where we were just covering Isabelle and Julia with blood, and they had these big contact lenses in their eyes to make look like blood vessels had burst in their eyes. They loved it. There was never any complaining. They look at it as a lot of fun and that made it a lot of fun for us. So, uh, it was just a great experience all around.
Written By: AJ Friar