Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3 Hair & Makeup Team On How The Production Set A World Record For Prosthetics

It might sound cliché, but Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is literally out of this world.

The film, which premieres on May 5, set a world record for the most makeup appliances used in a single film with more than 23,000 prosthetics used across more than 1,000 actors. It beats the record previously held by The Grinch, and it far surpasses the 1,200 prosthetics used for the first Guardians film.

While the crew went into the movie expecting large-scale makeup and prosthetics, they didn’t exactly plan to set a world record.

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“We always knew that it was going to be a lot because when you’re reading the script, and you’re designing the characters you’re kind of like, ‘This could be a big movie…’ I don’t think any of us truly understood the the sheer volume of work that was done until we were there,” Legacy FX co-founder Lindsay MacGowan told Deadline during Thursday’s world premiere in Los Angeles. He was joined on the carpet by hair department head Cassie Russek and makeup department head Alexei Dmitriew.

So, how did they pull it off?

“Lots of charts,” Dmitriew laughed.

Added MacGowan: “It starts off with that design. So we had a huge team of designers at Legacy to come up with the ideas for the new characters that are in the movie… once we’ve designed them, then we sculpt them, and then we break them down. Alexei would be there and we’d go through the appliances [to discuss], ‘How are we going to apply this on the day?’ And kind of go from there. So once we’ve made charts for every single thing that we’re doing, we then make it and then we pass it off to Alexei and Cassie for their team to apply it on the day.”

Guardians Vol. 3 draws heavily from the previous two films for inspiration for new character designs and even revamped looks for beloved characters.

“We put this huge catalog together as well as the new stuff,” Dmitriew said. “James [Gunn] really is great about knowing what he wants and where he wants it. So he was able to pick, ‘I want this, I want that,’ and then we break it down to how big the scene is and how many numbers we need.”

On an operation this massive, it’s inevitable that unexpected situations will arise. That’s why it was critical for the team to not only have one game plan, but many. Whether a design wasn’t turning out as expected or an actor couldn’t make it to set, the show must go on.

“We shot this movie and like the absolute heart of Omicron [variant of the coronavirus]. So to say ‘pivot’ is like to say the least,” Russek said. “We had — I can’t even imagine — maybe 20 extra looks a day for just in case [someone] had COVID and who we would have to replace. We were pivoting daily. And you know what? We were so prepared. We felt really good about it every day. If somebody wasn’t going to be in, we were like, ‘We got it. We’re ready.’”

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 hits theaters on May 5.

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