How a Rick Baker acolyte handled 'Coming 2 America' makeup and made his mentor proud

1/26/2022 7:47:00 AM

Makeup artist Mike Marino reconnects with the special effects makeup guru to talk Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall and movie magic.

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Makeup artist Mike Marino reconnects with the special effects makeup guru to talk Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall and movie magic.

Makeup artist Mike Marino reconnects with the special effects makeup guru to talk Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall and movie magic.

The two men are on a video call — Baker from his home in Los Angeles, Marino in a West Hollywood hotel — catching up and reminiscing about old times. Marino, about 25 years Baker’s junior, got into makeup because of heroes like Baker, working with the seven-time Oscar winner for the first time on “Men in Black 3.” Ever since, they’ve stayed in touch, their paths converging in recent years because of a ceremonial passing of the torch — or, rather, brush. When Eddie Murphy started prepping

(Amazon Studios)“I have so much respect for Rick,” says Marino. “It was his designs, and it was his work. And Rick said, ‘Yes, it’s cool. Just do it and kick ass.’” (“I was impressed and pissed off at the same time,” Baker says, laughing, about Marino’s makeup on the sequel. “‘This f—ing guy’s showing me up.’”)

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“It was at the very first makeup trade show,” he tells Baker, grinning at the memory. Marino thinks it was the late 1990s. Inspired by comics like Batman: Year One and The Long Halloween, Reeves' The Batman will also introduce a handful of iconic villains from its rogues gallery, including Zoe Kravitz’s Catwoman, Paul Dano’s Riddler, John Turturro’s Carmine Falcone, and Farrell's Oswald ‘Oz’ Cobblepot, aka Penguin. “I was 20 or something. Valentine’s Day is a great occasion to spend quality time with your partner while exchanging the perfect gifts . I showed you my [portfolio], and you looked through it and really liked it. Dano’s Riddler has remained largely hidden throughout The Batman’s promotional campaign and Farrell's unrecognizable, make-up-caked turn as the bloated Penguin has attracted a lot of attention. You pointed out a few drawings: ‘This is really cool, this is really cool. She posted “wanna know who my fav makeup artist is?” to her Instagram stories with a photo of West doing winged eyeshadow that extends all the way to her hairline.

’” The two men are on a video call — Baker from his home in Los Angeles, Marino in a West Hollywood hotel — catching up and reminiscing about old times. Related: The Batman: The Problem With Colin Farrell's Penguin Transformation During a recent interview with Variety, Farrell briefly discussed the process of achieving Penguin's look for The Batman. Because we are sure that you will find your favorite makeup look in our stunning makeover ideas list below. Marino, about 25 years Baker’s junior, got into makeup because of heroes like Baker, working with the seven-time Oscar winner for the first time on “Men in Black 3.” Ever since, they’ve stayed in touch, their paths converging in recent years because of a ceremonial passing of the torch — or, rather, brush.” Farrell went on to talk about his motivation for taking a supporting role in the film being Reeves himself, calling The Batman director “a wonderful filmmaker, so I was just grateful to be allowed anywhere near it. When Eddie Murphy started prepping the long-hoped-for sequel to the 1988 hit, Marino went up for the job. Turn the romance on and get your partner’s eyes locked on your face with these stunning Valentine’s Day makeup ideas. But after Marino was hired, he had one condition. Farrell was reportedly so unrecognizable that those on The Batman set didn’t even realize it was him. The Mother of Makeup herself took credit as the original designer behind the “luxe look”.

Process shot of Eddie Murphy turning into Saul on the set of “Coming 2 America.” (Amazon Studios) Advertisement “I said, ‘I’m not going to do this job unless Rick Baker says that it’s OK for me to do this job,’” Marino says. Farrell's more grounded version, existing in a grittier Gotham, takes emotional inspiration from The Godfather franchise’s Fredo Corleone. Nude shades are the masters for soft glam makeup looks. After all, it was Baker who created the makeup for the original’s vivid side characters whom Murphy and Arsenio Hall brought to life, including the wisecracking old-timers at the My-T-Sharp barbershop. The original “Coming to America” began a fruitful partnership between Baker and Murphy — they subsequently collaborated on the “Nutty Professor” films and “Norbit” — and now that Baker had retired, Marino sought his blessing. Farrell won’t have a big role in The Batman, but Warner Bros. “I have so much respect for Rick,” says Marino. Prev.

“It was his designs, and it was his work. Otherwise, it wouldn’t necessarily make sense to apply hours worth of makeup to such a big name for a role that could’ve simply been played by someone who is overweight and balding. And Rick said, ‘Yes, it’s cool. Just do it and kick ass. While Farrell isn't yet confirmed to be involved with the series, The Batman is poised to set it up when it releases in theaters this March, where audiences will finally see the results of Farrell's arduous days in the makeup chair.’” (“I was impressed and pissed off at the same time,” Baker says, laughing, about Marino’s makeup on the sequel. “‘This f—ing guy’s showing me up.item-num::after { content: '/ '; } Key Release Dates Share Share Tweet Email 0 Comment Sister Wives Christine Brown Praised After Saying 'I Can Do Anything' Related Topics About The Author Josh Plainse (754 Articles Published) Josh Plainse is a writer, movie, and television fanatic based out of Wisconsin.

’”) There was no such audition process when Baker came aboard “Coming to America.” “Eddie was like, ‘You’re the guy that knows faces and stuff — just make it look great,’” recalls Baker, who won the first competitive makeup Oscar for “An American Werewolf in London. Josh would accredit characters such as Goku, Han Solo, Simba, and Maximus Decimus Meridius for instilling within him an affinity for storytelling.” When Marino is asked if it took time on “Coming 2 America” for Murphy to warm up to the “new guy” — albeit a veteran who’s worked on “The Irishman” and the cover of the Weeknd’s recent album “Dawn FM” — he smiles. “I think he called me Rick a couple times. Contact Josh directly: plainse(at)gmail(dot)com.” Eddie Murphy is transformed into Saul on the set of “Coming 2 America” by makeup and prosthetic artist Mike Marino.

(Amazon Studios) The two artists commiserate over the “Coming” character who gave them both the most trouble: Saul, the opinionated Jewish man, played by Murphy, who hangs out at the barbershop. “Doing a realistic person makeup is the hardest kind of makeup to do,” Baker says. “And to change a race like that — I mean, Eddie is obviously a Black man and Saul was a Jewish man. I was a little lost when I first started, but my father-in-law, who’s not Jewish — he’s actually from South America — was the right age. I life-cast him and sculpted the new face on Eddie.

” The challenge was only compounded for Marino, who had to figure out how these colorful codgers would have aged since the last film. (“They should have been dead,” Baker says, chuckling.) But it wasn’t just the characters that had gotten older. “As far as Eddie’s face and Arsenio’s face, they’re different now,” Marino notes. “I could never get them to look like Rick’s makeups.

They still look remarkably young, but their faces and their shapes are different, their posture’s different. Plus, Eddie’s hair in the original was bigger.” Advertisement Eddie Murphy is transformed into Saul on the set of “Coming 2 America” with the help of makeup and prosthetic artist Mike Marino, right, and his team. (Amazon Studios) Marino thinks one of the reasons he landed “Coming 2 America,” recently named to the Oscar shortlist for hairstyling and makeup, was that he’s long preached Baker’s gospel about realistic makeup. “Rick always said, ‘If it looks real in person, it’ll look good on film,’” Marino says.

In turn, Baker credits his mentor Dick Smith, the godfather of movie makeup, responsible for the look of films such as “The Exorcist.” “I was so amazed when I saw Dick’s work,” recalls Baker. “It was far beyond anybody else’s as far as the reality. You could tell that he cared — he wasn’t just doing it as a job.” Some of the technology around shooting the barbershop scenes has gotten more sophisticated since the original movie.

For “Coming to America,” filmmaker John Landis actually used Baker’s father-in-law as a stand-in for Saul on camera when Murphy’s other character, shop owner Clarence, was speaking. (“There were no effects, no split screens,” says Baker. “If anybody ever sees the film again, they should watch for those shots.”) In the sequel, director Craig Brewer incorporated motion-control to seamlessly meld the different characters in the same scene. And although Marino uses silicone, whereas Baker relied on foam latex, the basics of makeup haven’t changed much.

Clint Smith as Sweets, left, and Eddie Murphy as Saul in “Coming 2 America.” (Quantrell D. Colbert / Paramount Pictures) Arsenio Hall as Morris, left, Eddie Murphy as Clarence and as Saul, far right, and Clint Smith as Sweets in “Coming 2 America.” ( Quantrell D. Colbert / Paramount Pictures) “It still takes a long time,” says Marino, who notes that each character’s makeup requires multiple hours.

“I mean, you’re actually physically doing something on someone, and you’re doing such elaborate stuff. There are different materials, but it doesn’t really make it faster.” Still, it must be bittersweet for Baker to watch another artist take his work and run with it. “It’s weird to see characters that you designed 30 years ago alive again, but you didn’t do them,” Baker admits. But he feels nothing but pride for Marino, who dreamed about joining this profession ever since meeting his idol decades earlier.

“I was happy to pass it to Mike,” Baker says. “I knew he was going to knock it out of the park.” He laughs. “Or I would’ve beat the s— out of him.” .