Kanebo Sensai on the Set of Inglourious Basterds

August 24, 2009


Cosmetics from Kanebo Sensai (one of my favorite makeup lines) were used on set of the recently released Quentin Tarantino movie, Inglourious Basterds. Scroll down to read snippets from an interview with Hollywood makeup artist extraordinaire and Department Head for Inglourious Basterds, Heba Thor (who’s also recently worked on The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, He’s Just Not That Into You, The Spirit, The Other Boylen Girl and The Nannie Diaries. Plus she’s Scarlett Johansson’s personal makeup artist on her films!).


SENSAI Advisor: Tell us about your experience on Inglorious Basterds—it looks like it is going to be another unique Quentin Tarantino film!


Heba Thorisdottir: I’ve worked with Quentin previously on Kill Bill (Volume 1 and 2), with Quentin I don’t prep a lot—I just know to be prepared for anything! We shot for four months mostly in Babelsberg Studios just outside of Berlin—then we were a week in the countryside which was beautiful! There were some locations in Berlin as well and we shot a couple days in Paris. Quentin creates a family like atmosphere and on the last shooting day of the week he picks a bar we all go to wind down. That way, we get to know each other on a social level as well as professional. I love working on his films and can not wait to be working with him again.

I got the script over the Fourth of July weekend last year. I went to Germany mid September, a month before shooting began to do makeup tests. I met all the actors and had to decide if the actors were wearing any facial hair and they got haircuts and got fitted for their costumes. Inglourious Basterds is a WWII film and we have to follow that period as closely as possible. Quentin uses KNB Creations on special effects makeup on all the true life figures such as Hitler, Goebbels and Churchill; anything gory that involved more than throwing blood and dirt on—they took care of that.

SENSAI Advisor: There are two strong female characters in the film, tell us about their looks.


Heba Thorisdottir: A French actress, Melanie Laurent plays the part of Shosanna Dreyfus. She’s Jewish but is undercover as a French citizen. She doesn’t want to draw attention to herself so she doesn’t wear makeup on daily basis and downplayed her beauty. She’s a beautiful girl so I just kept her skin clean and glowing with SENSAI Fluid Finish Foundations with SENSAI Silk Brightening cream underneath. Taupe eye shadow and a cream blush in Peach tone and Total Lip Treatment on her lips and she was ready to go. For the end scene however, we got to go all out! She actually puts on her makeup on camera! It was a very specific scene and Quentin knew exactly what he wanted in the scene so we didn’t exactly follow the period. Quentin wanted a cream blush but a lot softer consistency than are on the market so I actually had to sit down and make it! The color had to be very specific as well so, I dragged Quentin in the makeup trailer and sat him down and we had a lot of fun with making the color just perfect!


Diane Kruger’s character Bridget von Hammersmark is the opposite of Shosanna. She’s a very glamorous German movie star who loves attention. Her character wouldn’t go out without makeup and those red lips! We had a couple of different looks for her as well. Day to day look and a “premier” look. There isn’t much room to change the 40’s makeup so I had to create a look that was a little bit more settle to have a contrast for the premier look. Bridget still wore the eyeliner and the red lips but I used browns and taupe and Kanebo’s SENSAI 38 Degree’s Mascara, the volumizing edition. The staying power is amazing. It is one of my favorite tools, and one the actresses always request. I used a cream blush in light beige color on her cheeks from MAC. For the premier look, I used black liquid eyeliner from MAC as well and deeper browns shadows on her eyes from Jemma Kidd and an extra layer of mascara. For concealers I used SENSAI Concealer in #1 light for Diane to keep her look fine and porcelain like. I also used the concealer in medium and dark (#2 and #3) on the men for a natural look.

SENSAI Advisor: You worked for several months with these actresses, how did you combine skincare with cosmetics every day?


Heba Thorisdottir: Well, for instance I did work a lot with the SENSAI line. Daily, I would start and end the day with cleansing the skin with SENSAI. After cleansing I would use a moisturizer and eye cream from SENSAI as well. I would combine the SENSAI SILK Brightening Cream followed by the SENSAI Smoothing Water Make-up Base before foundation. The brightening “wakes up” the skin and makes it glow through the foundation and gives the face “life” and the Water Base is a great prep/primer for the SENSAI foundations. I even used the Brightening Cream on the guys—give it a little bit of brightness to stand out a little bit behind all the dirt and blood. For concealers I used SENSAI Concealer in #1 light for Diane to keep her look fine and porcelain like. I also used the concealer in medium and dark (#2 and #3) on the men for a natural look.


I still get excited when one of the movies I worked on comes out in theaters. Going to Cannes in May was amazing! I always wanted to see one of the films I worked on at The Palais and this was the right one to see there for sure. The French respect the directors and Quentin got an 11 minute standing ovation even though he didn’t walk away with The Palm this time.

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