‘Pam & Tommy’ and the Art of Showing Tattoos in TV and Movies – The Hollywood Reporter


Preparing to star as Tommy Lee, Hulu’s Motley Crue rocker Pam & Tommy, Sebastian Stan needed tattoos — many of them. To be exact, 35. To pull it off, he went to the special effects house Autonomous FX and scanned and measured his body before shooting. Later, when the tattoo designer sketched on his arms, back and torso, he was covered in wrap. The artist then cut the image, designed it completely in Photoshop, printed it on decal paper, and after two hours on the make-up trailer, the actually tattooless Stan turned into a locker with sleeves.

Actor Lee’s makeover is Hollywood Production’s latest approach to displaying tattoos, and has surged in recent years as body art has become more mainstream. This means that there is a growing need for on-screen tattoos to reflect modern culture, and actors are more likely to bring their own tattoos. All of them require the makeup team to ink or hide it.

As for the application, consider the high-end version of “I got my childhood tattoo with lollipops”. Makeup artist Heba Thorisdottir, who applied a tattoo design to Margot Robbie, says. Suicide squad And David Dastmalchian Antman.. Called tattoo transfer, it is applied to the skin, removed from the decal paper with just water, and sealed for protection. Most tattoos are applied and removed daily on the shoot, but some last overnight and are only fixed the next day. Jason Collins, an autonomous Forex owner who dealt with Stan Lee’s tattoos, sometimes applied his art the night before to prevent the actor’s 12-hour shooting date from becoming a 15-hour day (to remove tattoos). It took about 45 minutes). Stan’s nearly three-hour process is on the shorter side. Applying full-body art to some actors can take up to 6 hours. Since each tattoo on Stan’s arm was a separate decal rather than one large piece, the Collins team used stencils and a numbering system to create a map that would be applied the same every day. “We call it the Bible,” he says.

Fake ink as seen in Margot Robbie Suicide squad And Jason Momoa Aquaman.
Cloudet Barius / Warner Bros./Courtesy Everett Collection; Jasin Boland / Warner Bros./Courtesy Everett Collection

But when it comes to on-screen tattoos, the biggest hurdle has been since 2011 when S. Victor Whitmill, a tattoo artist who put a famous facial tattoo on Mike Tyson, sued Warner Bros. for similar reasons. It has proven to be a legal issue.Looking for ed helms ink Hangover: Part II.. In the decade since the studio settled with Whitmill, the industry has become very strict about approving all tattoos that appear on the screen, whether genuine or fake. To give clearance to the production, make-up artists and effect studios need to come up with either original designs or images from the public domain. If the actual tattoos of the actors are displayed, their personal tattoo artist must give approval.

“Actors and their agents and managers are now pretty smart because they want to show off their ink,” says Collins. “It’s a kind of changing landscape for us because they go to world-famous, high-end, or famous artists and get permission from those people when they finish their work.” Of course. This is much easier if the tattoo in question has recently been applied.

“Some people have something to do with tattoo artists, but” Oh, I don’t even remember where I got it, I was 19 years old, “said Ariel Torque, a make-up artist who designed fake ink for actor Dylan. Says.O’Brien for the next movie Not good.. “So, in my experience, even if the characters have tattoos, I’ve always covered the existing tattoos they had and put in my own.”

Christien Tinsley, who runs the special effects house Tinsley Studio and is behind the impressive movie tattoos seen at Mad Max: Fury Road And Jason Momoa’s whole body Aquaman According to Ink, he and his team (production director Robin Hatcher and key artist Dick Cherry) designed images from scratch as a way to address these legal issues, character, duration, talent and director. We are conducting extensive research on our needs.

“In many cases, we’re provided with an image to recreate the concept, so we’ve taken it in and repainted it, changed a lot, and it’s our design, not that design anymore. You can give the studio clearance, “says Tinsley. “Occasionally, the studio may design their own tattoos and own the rights to those images. Otherwise, there are stock tattoos, thousands of tattoo combinations, and what’s just licensed. I’ve explained it over the years. [For example,] Someone is doing a big scene with a lot of prisoners. Here are 300 tattoos that you can put on anyone you want. “

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Tommy Lee and his real tattoo in 2006.
Theo Wargo / WireImage

on Pam & Tommy, Clearance issues mean that Collins cannot accurately duplicate Lee’s ink, and a general rule of thumb requires a 20% to 30% change to the original part. For example, for Lee’s “Mayhem” belly tattoo, Collins tweaked the font and design curls. Collins says. “There are a lot of changes to his arms for clearance, but they’re the same color and in the right place. If you’re looking for and you’re an avid Motley Crue or Tommy Lee fan, You will see what you like, “Oh, wait a minute.”

And since there is a lot of work involved in tattooing, hiding the actor’s true tattoos can also be a challenge. This process is usually done by applying an orange concealer layer to neutralize the ink color and then applying body paint and make-up to restore the actor’s natural skin tone. The tattoo can also be strategically covered with the appropriate outfit (“She can wear long sleeves. You don’t have to cover the tattoo today!”, Joking. Prodigal son Makeup artist Masha Page), some people are hard to ignore.

Harry Styles’ next movie make-up head, Thorisdottir Don’t worry about darlingSays his big breasts and belly tattoos could be seen through his shirt under the set light. [Styles] Being fully dressed, we always had to cover the tattoo. Or the ink may not be suitable for your character. That’s why Torstenwitte says he covered Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone’s little arm tattoos. La La Land.. The focus of the camera can also be the area where the actor believes that body art is safe to obtain. As Thorisdottir points out, she hears from some stars with tattoos on her feet, “I’m in a Quentin Tarantino movie because I don’t think they’ll ever be seen.” (Directors tend to display the actor’s feet on the screen.)

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Pete Davidson (left) and Harry Styles obscured their widespread real-life tattoos for their on-screen role.
Jeff Daly / NBC / NBCU Photo Bank / Getty Images; Isabel Toddler / PA Images / Getty Images

For sets where every second is important, the coverup can take just a few minutes for small spots and an hour for large pieces, and you have the talent to consider removing tattoos. Pete Davidson says he’s in the process of getting rid of much of his tattoo, rather than sitting persistently with his makeup. Ruby Rose makes similar comments. Makeup artists are divided because some think they can save time, while others warn against scars and discolorations that can make concealment even more difficult.

“It doesn’t look like pre-tattooed skin,” says Toelke, who covered Davidson’s ink as the 2018 make-up head. prepare.. “Perhaps Pete Davidson can find the best laser and he can go as many times as possible, but that doesn’t happen right away.”

As production continues to evolve, so does tattoo technology. New York-based company Ephemeral has pioneered a biodegradable, fading-designed black ink. Customers get the design through a genuine tattoo needle, but it disappears within a year. Co-founder Josh Sakhai sees this as the next wave of tattoos on the set. This is because it requires only one session and can be sustained during shooting, especially for method actors to provide a realistic experience. “If you really want to embody that role, this is an amazing way to accept it,” says Sacai.Hollywood make-up artist THRHowever, they said they were concerned about the temporary fading of tattoos that affected continuity and the lack of color choices. CGI can also play a role in the end, but it’s now too costly to add or remove tattoos in the post.

So far, there is one thing that is clear. That is, when it comes to camera talent, tattoos are more than just casual self-expression. “Whenever an actor sits in my chair, they seem to say,” I really want another tattoo. ” And I’m like “What are you?”, Says Toelke. “You are [already] I don’t like having to get up and work at 7am. I really don’t like getting up and working at 5 or 6 in the morning as I have to cover all the tattoos. “

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Hollywood in-demand tattoo artist
These top ink designers have loyal star fans.

Bang Bang
Katy Perry, LeBron James and Rihanna’s favorite Keith “Bang Bang” McCurdy operates in two New York studios (62 Grand Street and 328 Broome Street).

Known for his minimal microtattoos at Halsey, Heyri Beaver and Kendall Jenner, he has a shop at the Moxy Times Square Hotel (485 Seventh Avenue) in New York.

Romeo Lacoste
Lacoste, owner of North Hollywood’s California Dreams Shop (13131 Sherman Way), fascinated Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, and Kendrick Lamar. His YouTube channel has over 800,000 subscribers.

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Rihanna’s tattoos, including her armpit gun and hand art inspired by her henna, were inked by Bang Bang.
Taylor Hill / Getty Images; Mike Coppola / Getty Images

Mark mahoney
Having run the famous Shamrock Social Club in West Hollywood (9026 Sunset Boulevard) for 45 years, Mahoney has solidified her position as a tattoo legend. He posted for Johnny Depp, Angelina Jolie, Adele, Lady Gaga and Jared Leto (who posted about “Legendary Mark Mahoney” who inked him in his kitchen in 2013). Worked in the signature black and gray single needle style of.

Dr. Wu
LA artist Brian Woo launched the skin care line Project Woo in 2020, gaining 1.8 million Instagram followers and becoming a star in itself. He has inked Miley Cyrus, Drake and Emilia Clarke. game of Thrones-Inspired dragon. “Dr. Wu made sure this mom never forgets her baby,” she posted in 2018. His hideway at Suite X Studios is located in the Hollywood Roosevelt (7000 Hollywood Blvd.). — KC

This story first appeared in the February 23 issue of The Hollywood Reporter. Click here to subscribe.


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