Designers aged her with
prosthetics and makeup.
Although actress Meryl Streep is known for immersing herself in the characters she plays, there’s one place she doesn’t want to hide, and that’s behind makeup or prosthetics that cover her too extensively. She knows that covering up too much of herself shuts her off from the other actors, and then she isn’t able to deceive the audience into believing in her character:
To play Thatcher over the course of four decades, Streep also had to wear prosthetics to age her face and neck. She worked with prosthetics designer Mark Coulier and master hair and makeup artist Roy Helland, who bleached her hair in Sophie’s Choice, gave her a brown mullet for Silkwood and shaped her asymmetrical bob in The Devil Wears Prada.
Too much of a mask would
degrade her performance.
Coulier is "interested, in the way I am, in changing the outside to get at something inside," Streep says. "I flew to London [for] three different tests, and it was all about taking away, taking away, taking away. Mark would carve a sculpture of me and then he’d add on, with clay, age. And then they’d cast it in a silicon thing, and I would wear it and I would say, inevitably, ‘Less, less.’ So it’s kind of remarkable how little I’m wearing."
She says she wanted minimal makeup in part so that her face could remain expressive and in part so the other actors on set would see her as Thatcher.
"It’s not about the audience," she says. "It’s all about fooling the other actors into believing who you say you are. That’s hard, when you walk on set, when it’s a big makeup job. And I take my entire performance from them, so if they don’t look at me and hate me appropriately or love me the way they’re supposed to … then I’m lost, I don’t have anything to go on."
– Meryl Streep: The Fresh Air Interview, NPR>>
– Behind the scenes photos of the make-up in ‘The Iron lady’. Makeup Artist Magazine>>