More fascinating tidbits from the latest Weta Workshop book, this time from Peter King, makeup and hair designer:
First impressions are often lasting . . . when you are designing a character for the screen it is vital you get their look absolutely right for the first shots in which they appear . . . so that we impart a message about the character we want them to understand instantly when he walks on screen. Consequently, we put a lot of thought into Thorin, and his arrival in the movie is built up by the other Dwarves as they await his arrival at Bag End.
There is an awe and a reverence that surrounds him. He is very strong and slightly scary, but also hypnotic and charismatic. Thorin is the leader, a king among his people and the Dwarf upon whose shoulders the future and hopes of his people rests.
I have to say that I was “wowed” by the first impression of Thorin when Gandalf opened that door to him. Charismatic? Absolutely. Hypnotic? Hmmmmm–was I saying . . . oh, yes. Definitely.
I was truly awed. (Not that I expected anything less than awesome with Mr. A involved.)
King discusses how Thorin’s look evolved:
We went through a number of iterations before we settled upon his final makeup, which consisted of a thin forehead and nose, wig and ear. Thorin’s nose was Romanesque, which imparted a sense of nobility. His wig was also composed entirely of human hair, without any yak, which was used to add body to some of the other dwarves. That allowed it to flow and move more romantically.
*sigh* Works for me, Mr. King. Works for me.
As for Thorin’s beard, King has this to say:
For the same reason, Thorin’s beard ended up clipped quite close to preserve his more refined appearance and to not hide the actor under a full face of hair. It was important for people to understand and relate to Thorin so we didn’t want to build a wall of hair in front of him that would impede that in any way.
Very wise decision, sir. That face is much too expressive to hide it all under heavy prosthetics and excess facial hair.
And here are some thoughts from Mr. Armitage himself:
Early on in the shaping of Thorin’s look, we had some quite extreme prosthetics and elaborate beard designs. I was very pleased with the effort, which was such a transformation. I looked like another being–older, and very much like a Dwarf. As the design began to change, with resculpting, reshaping and stripping back, I realized that is was a process we were going through, to find a point at which Thorin and the actor inside him were both visible. Of course, that feels like a great compliment, although Richard Taylor did tell me fairly near to the end of filming that they straightened my nose, which is apparently off-center . . . I didn’t know that!
Gosh, I thought his real nose was darned near perfect. Perfect in its imperfection. And truly noble.
And I do love that romantic hair . . . I think it’s time for my “Thorin: King Under the Hair” fanvid!