Paramount+’s The Stand is an epic undertaking in all senses of the phrase. Creative teams needed to erase all evidence of a functional modern world – even during a real-life pandemic – to simulate Stephen King’s original vision of a planet devastated by the highly contagious and lethal Captain Trips virus. The remaining survivors then divide themselves into two camps: good versus evil.
The events of the novel and limited series clearly take their tole on the main characters. It’s a grueling experience that make-up designer Lisa Love worked diligently to visually recreate on the cast, relying on as little CGI as possible. Here, in a Five Questions With… segment, AwardsDaily TV explores Love’s work on the series and finds out what it takes to create a plague-damaged world.
AwardsDaily: So, Lisa Love, you’ve won already an Emmy in 2018 for the Tin Man series. So how did that experience change your career trajectory?
Lisa Love: It did change it, and it changed the course of my career because I was able to apply for a green card. So that’s fantastic. Instead of a special person, I became an extraordinary person. [Laughs] I was able to get into the United States, so it opened up a lot of work for me, which was fantastic. It just opened up more doors, more avenues, more people.
AD: Everybody that I’ve talked to that has worked on The Stand has referred to that book as sort of their Bible, where they go to for inspiration. How did the novel impact you? Did you have to go back to it to receive inspiration from Stephen King’s original words, in terms of the make-up?
LL: It’s very interesting. I’ll take Flagg, for example. In the book, they say that he’s in blue jeans, and he’s dusty. So it became all about getting like a layer of dust without making it look like he’s all spotty. So it was literally just spraying a light dust on him. For Nadine, it was hard to make such a beautiful woman like kind of old and creepy looking. So that was a little bit where I had to think outside the box. What am I going to do here? A lot of the cast actually had their own ideas what they wanted look like. What was really helpful to me is that the cast really knew what they wanted to do as well because they were so familiar with the book. I was very lucky with that cast and their familiarity with the novel.
AD: I’ve only spoken with Owen Teague from the cast, and he seemed like he had such a predefined notion of who he was going to be and what this character would look like.
LL: Yeah, absolutely. He did. Owen would sit in my chair, and it would be fantastic, we would talk, and then I would start his makeup. He did go through a transformation where I actually had a little bit of bad skin on him when we first met him. Then, we did a pale mock, and we kind of got rid of the pimples. Then we started darkening around his eyes and giving us that intense look when he was turning evil. He would literally transform in my chair. His whole face would just transform. It was great.
AD: So aside from working with Owen on developing what his character would look like, what other actors did you work with to identify how they would look and how they would evolve over the course of the series?
LL: Well, Nadine is a perfect one, played by Amber Heard. She’s perfect. So we just kept her very natural beauty. Just using really clean-looking products, clean lines, no heavy duty eyeshadows. Then, there were these times when I did add a red lipstick to add intensity for her. Like when she and Owen were leaving to go on their trip, I gave her this lipstick because, maybe in the back of her mind, she could have thought, ‘Well maybe Flagg’s gonna come and get me tonight.’ Of course that didn’t happen, but that’s where we were. Then, I just talked to her about where she wanted to go to look evil. We called her the witch, the evil queen. Just before that when she did make love to Flagg, she actually became very beautiful. Her whole hair went white, and we had that really 60s look with glasses and just very classic in the car driving down the New Vegas highway. She really just wanted to do this right.
AD: What were some of the more challenging looks to imagine?
LL: Nadine’s witch look, for sure. That was hard because nobody really had it in a drawing or anything, so I had to really come up with something. Owen was pretty great when he fell off his bicycle with his scars and stuff. The tribe in the very last episode that was really cool to to do that, putting on bald caps on these people. The hair department put on wigs that would leave a part, so it looked like they had scalped their hair. There were a lot of different make-ups that were a lot of fun.
The Stand is now streaming on Paramount+.