Lorella De Rossi is an Italian make-up artist who has worked on films such as Apocalypto (2006), The Man In The Iron Mask (1998) and Beyond the Edge (2018).
On her latest film, Welcome Home, Lorella worked with Emily Ratajkowski and Aaron Paul to help put together looks for this thrilling tale of a young couple on vacation in a foreign country.
Q: With a small crew and a beautiful Italian countryside location, I imagine ‘Welcome Home’ – out now on VOD – was a dream project for you to work on. Was that the case?
A: Working on this project was really nice and exciting. We were a very small crew and had five weeks in a beautiful villa surrounded by olive trees. It was really more of a holiday than work.
Q: ‘Welcome Home’ is a tale that hinges in part on sexual tension and attraction. Can you tell us about working with director George Ratliff and the looks you wanted to put together for this film?
A: My relationship with George was fantastic. We realised from the first minute of meeting each other that we had a similar vision. The entire cast had to be real, like a normal young couple going on holiday to try to solve their problems.
Q: This project gave you a chance to work very closely with Emily Ratajkowski, Aaron Paul and Riccardo Scamarcio. How was that experience?
A: At the beginning, I was afraid to meet Emily and convince her about my idea to use natural beauty make-up. She is a famous model and sometimes they have a different view of natural make-up. But when we first met I discovered a very intelligent, nice and “normal” woman.
We had really a great time together. She was always very confident with me and trusting of my work. I think we did a very good job, even when I had to splash blood on her face!
Aaron is a very strong talent. He is a fantastic actor and so funny and kind. Riccardo was really nice too. We had never worked together before, but he is very intelligent and professional.
Q: Do you have a favourite look from the film?
A: I love special effects. There is a moment when the film turns into a dark thriller with blood and wounds. All of the actors had fun doing that with me and I think we really created something wonderful.
Q: What are your biggest takeaway from ‘Welcome Home’?
A: This is an exciting film with good acting. George is a very talented director and he really did a good job pushing the actors to their maximum. I should also mention the beautiful work of Shelly Johnson (DOP).
Q: Can you tell us how you broke into the industry and how you look back on your journey in the film industry?
A: I started this job when I was 17 years old. I’m the fourth generation of make-up artists in my family – my great grandfather, my grandfather, my father and me.
I have had the honour of working with great directors and actors. I have been given the opportunity to travel all around the world. But I have also worked long, hard hours (15-22 hours) in every weather condition imaginable. I wouldn’t trade this job for anything!
Apocalypto was a big and hard challenge. I had to apply a nine-month pregnant prosthetic belly starting prep at 1.30am everyday for weeks. It was hugely satisfying to see there were no mistakes in the scenes I had worked on.
Q: What would be your advice to someone who wants to be a make-up artist in the film industry?
A: If a person would like to start this job, the only thing I can suggest is to always be humble. Every single day is a challenge, we work with hands so a mistake is always just around the corner. The important thing is to try your best all the time. To enjoy this world, respect people, constantly improve yourself and never forget to laugh.
My department is the place where everything starts. I always try to give a relaxing and joyful moment to the actors. In Welcome Home, I met really nice and professional people who were always smiling. We were a little family from different countries sharing five weeks of hard work.
Q: Do you have any upcoming projects to tell us about?
A: Right now I am shooting a new Sky TV series called Devils. It stars Alessandro Borghi, Patrick Dempsey, Kasya Smutniak and other great actors from England. The directors are Nick Hurran and Jan Michelini.
That will take me through until March, but I think it will be something really special.