Look, it’s Hollywood, so makeup artists and hairstylists are always important. It’s all about the visuals, which is why graduates of beauty schools or cosmetology schools flock to the industry for employment. But their skills are never more important than when it comes to making futuristic flicks like The Hunger Games, which opened this weekend.
It’s a whole new level of challenge, creating authentic looks for a world that doesn’t exist – or, at least, not yet. Hairstylists like Cherry Petenbrink, who colored and styled the hair of many of the movie’s big-name stars and its legion of extras, have to walk a fine line: push the envelope to convey “hey, this world is totally different” without going over the top. And with a movie like Hunger Games, which is based off of bestselling novels with a passionate fanbase, she had the extra challenge of ensuring she accurately brought to life many beloved characters.
She spent well over six weeks on a set packed with beauty specialists, and now all of their hard work is being released under the public microscope. Luckily for them, the movie is already racking up rave reviews, and the unique hairstyles are garnering much attention, including spawning a website surrounding its style and fashion: Capitol Couture.
It definitely took a wide range of Petenbrink’s skills – this is no one-size-fits-all scenario. Hunger Games is set in a future version of North America where there are 12 Districts, and each one required a unique touch. The natural good looks of District 12 residents Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson as Katniss and Peeta had to be offset by the bright hues and pastel excess of the over-indulged citizens of the Capitol. Woody Harrelson donned shoulder-length bright blonde locks that half-hide the face of his scruffy Haymitch, who won the Hunger Games once and has never been the same since. On the other hand, you have the pampered, naïve Effie, played by Elizabeth Banks is stunning in bright pinks and reds and blues – a frilly masterpiece – and the gregarious Stanley Tucci as Ceasar Flickerman in a bright blue pompadour.
Incredibly sharp beard detailing helped to create a menancing look on star Wes Bentley, the manipulative head of the Games who runs every aspect of it with the skill of an evil puppetmaster. The wavy and curvy facial hair looks like a blend between a futuristic style and something legendary abstract impressionist Salvador Dali might have worn to a cocktail party in the mid-20th century.
In order to capture a natural look and maintain consistency over her month-and-a-half stay on set, Petenbrink used demi-color of various tones, as well as Silk Result Range and Joico K-PAK Revitaluxe Bio-Advanced Restorative Treatment (5.1 oz.). Along with the need for a sharp and well-groomed look and a futuristic style, designers also battled the effects of the sweltering North Carolina summer sun as the film was largely shot in the South during the summer of last year.
Even with all of the challenges and the pressure, an assignment like this can be a dream come true for hairstylists and makeup artist who truly embrace that daring edge and the chance to push their creativity. And with two more sequels already slated to go, Petenbrink and the other stylists have plenty of opportunities yet to come.