Interview with Emmy Winning Make-Up Artist Paul Engelen (Game of Thrones)

Paul Engelen is is 2 time Emmy winner, and 2 time Oscar nominated Makeup artist. He has worked on some of the greatest/most successful films and TV shows in the last 40 years, including: Game of Thrones (2 Emmy wins), Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (Oscar nomination), The Legend of Tarzan (Oscar nomination), Star Wars: The Phantom Menace (dir. George Lucas), Gladiator (dir. Ridley Scott), Munich (dir. Steven Spielberg), Batman (dir. Tim Burton) and Reds (dir. Warren Beatty).

Many have stated that his makeup design for Nicole Kidman on “The Hours” is the key reason for her Oscar Win for Best Actress (see pic below). The same can be said for his work on Renée Zellweger for her Oscar Win on “Cold Mountain”. How those films received zero Oscar nominations for Makeup is still a mystery.

It was an honor to chat with Paul Engelen and talk about his art:

Matthew Toffolo: You’ve worked on over 80 Productions as a Makeup Artist in the last 45 years. Do you have a favorite experience?

Paul Engelen: Every new project presents challenges, experiences and memories. I would say I have been extremely lucky to have had a very wide variety and range of projects to work on. I suppose if pressed, I would mention working on ‘Empire of the Sun” and ‘Star Wars, The Phantom Menace’ to be particular highlights, but I would also name “Pink Floyd, The Wall’ to be a fascinating experience. My present project for NBC, directed by Tarsem Singh; ‘The Emerald City’ is proving just as interesting though!

PHOTO: Paul with Director George Lucas on ‘Star Wars: The Phantom Menace’:

PE & Lucas.jpg

MT: Is there a type of story/film that you would love to work on that you haven’t worked on yet? Or have you covered all of your bases?

PE: I think I have covered most bases! Contemporary stories to science fiction, several medieval themes which I must admit, is probably my favourite genre. I’d love to do a ‘western’, directed by someone like Tarantino!

MT: You’ve won 2 Emmys (for Game of Thrones) and have been nominated for 2 Oscars. Does winning or losing mean a lot to you? Or it is really just about the film?

PE: It’s great being nominated, but winning is a blast!! It means your peers think your work is worthy.

MT: What is the main job being the Makeup Department Head on a production?

PE: Well, I would say, it’s about all the aspects of the running a department. Putting a crew together that would be the best for the production. The conversations and collaboration with director, production and costume designers are all paramount in going into production.

PHOTO: Paul with Director/Actor Clint Eastwood on ‘White Hunter, Black Heart’: 

PE & Clint.jpg

MT: What has been your most difficult job and/or production to date?

PE: Movies generally have a specific format regarding the production structure, which is the area I come from, so it was quite a shock when ‘Game of Thrones” came my way, and I had to put my mind to working on 10 scripts, with two, sometimes three separate units shooting in different countries at the same time! Very testing. Since then, I am being offered more of this type of production, which, although very challenging, I do find stimulating.

MT: You’ve worked on many fantasy and action movies/TV shows. Is there a reason why you seem to love working in these genres?

PE: Again, I have been very lucky in the type of productions that has been offered to me. I am comfortable with the larger type of production with big name directors, irrespective of genres. Often the actors can be a contributing influence on the reason for working on a particular project.

MT: How has the makeup department changed from 35 years ago to today?

PE: I don’t think things have changed much over the years. It has always been ‘challenging’ to put creative people together for months on end, and hope that the peace can be maintained!! I like to think people who work with me look forward to getting together on shows!

PHOTO: Paul with actor Val Kilmer on ‘The Saint’:

PE & Kilmer.jpg

MT: Besides the films you’ve worked on, what movie have you seen the most in your life?

PE: I still absolutely adore watching Gregory Peck in ‘Moby Dick’, which, incidentaly had Charlie Parker as the Makeup Designer, who was one of the finest artists in our profession. Such a wonderful film.

MT: Do you have any advice for high school and university students who want to work makeup in the film industry?

PE: It’s a tough business to be in, but incredibly rewarding when you see your work up there on display. – and to be honest, there is a certain amount of luck involved with getting work in the first place, but perseverance and striving to be the best is essential.

PHOTO: Paul with actor Mel Gibson on “Mutiny on the Bounty’.:

PE & Gibson.jpg


Interviewer Matthew Toffolo is currently the CEO of the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film & Writing Festival. The festival that showcases 10-20 screenplay and story readings performed by professional actors every month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Festival held in downtown Toronto on the last Thursday of every single month. Go to for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

PHOTO: Nicole Kidman transforms via makeup in “The Hours”:


97th Best Baseball Movie of All-Time: TROUBLE WITH THE CURVE

Clint Eastwood’s longtime 1st Assistant Director, Robert Lorenz, has a movie he wants to make about baseball. The anti-Moneyball as you can say. (Or, the other side of the baseball world and why the Moneyball people stink movie).

Eastwood is a loyal guy. If you look at his crews from the time he started directing movies until now you’ll see that he constantly works with the same crew members. And most of them upgrade their positions film by film. For example: An Electrician becomes the Gaffer. The Camera Operator gets to DP a film. A Production Assistant eventually becomes the Location Manager. And so on. Eastwood has created quite a legacy with the behind the scenes maneuverings of his films.

So when Lorenz send him a script that he wants to direct, Eastwood helps him out and attaches his name to the project.

I can’t say a bad thing about Eastwood. He did the loyal thing. I personally wished this movie wasn’t made, but perhaps that’s my own issue. But here are my top 5 my reasons why:

1) Gran Torino was the perfect film for Eastwood to call it an acting career. It was his John Elway riding off into the sunset movie. That role defines everything about his acting career. Gruff. Nice. Angry. Sad. LOYAL. A man who will take the law into his own hands if he feels it’s the right thing to do. And while he does it, he’s always a step ahead of everyone else. The perfect film! But his loyalty got him to do Trouble with the Curve. I wonder if he even likes baseball.

2) The movie’s blue chip prospect baseball player doesn’t look like a baseball player, much less the #1 pick in the draft. It’s insulting.

3) Justin Timberlake plays a recently retired ballplayer turned scout. His job is to scout the potential #1 pick in the draft all by himself for his team. So in a mult-billion dollar business like baseball, you send a rookie to take care of the most important job in the company….all by himself? Does that make any sense?

4) Eastwood is blind, but he can understand everything about a ballplayer with the crack of the bat! Okay….so all the other fundamentals to what makes a baseball player doesn’t make a difference? Say what?

5) The old scout is right and the saber-metric “Moneyball” Ivy-League graduate kids are wrong. That is the theme of the movie. Very black and white summary that is riddled with errors.

I have a list of about 20 more reasons why this movie really bothers me, but I have said my peace.

A happy note: Eastwood is entertaining in his role as the old scout losing his eyesight. And Amy Adams is truly great playing his daughter. She’s just fun to watch, especially with her scenes with Timberlake. I bought their relationship.

But it’s still the 97th best baseball movie ever made.

See the TOP 100 Baseball Movie List: