Friday, December 2, 2011

Star Trek Make-up Artist Jeff Lewis Talks Aliens and George Clooney's Wonderful Skin

Posted By on Fri, Dec 2, 2011 at 12:27 PM

click to enlarge Jeffrey Combs as an Andorian, one of the aliens Lewis had a large part in creating.
  • Jeffrey Combs as an Andorian, one of the aliens Lewis had a large part in creating.

Star Trek make-up artist Jeff Lewis is at the St. Louis Science Center tonight for First Fridays, a monthly series for Trekkies to geek out with their half-betazoid loving kin. The six-time Emmy nominee will make-up one lucky girl -- the the costume contest winner from last month's inaugural event -- as a Borg, the pseudo-humanoid race of aliens meanies. Afterwards they'll be showing First Contact, the 1996 Star Trek film. We caught up with Lewis to talk all things Trek, and what it was really like to work with George Clooney.

Daily RFT: So I hear you just recently got a new job?

Jeff Lewis: Yeah, it's called Teen Wolf. It's like Twilight but with werewolves. It's on MTV so it's edgier.

Is it fun so far?

JL: I don't know, we're just kind of prepping this week, and we start shooting tomorrow actually. So first and second days, I'll be there half a day Friday and then flying home to St. Louis to do this for the Science Center. I live in Illinois.

Did you get on Up In the Air because you're local, or was it a project you wanted to do?

It was a project I wanted to do. We moved back from LA, but my union is 706 which is still out in Los Angeles, so that's where I do all my work from. We figured I wasn't going to do TV anymore, so we decided to move back to Illinois and fly to wherever the films were shooting. Now I'm getting back into TV here a little bit.

What prompted you getting back into TV?

It sounded like an interesting show, and it wasn't just a beauty show, it involved the special effects make-up again, so that's what kind of got me into it. It wasn't going to be as long as doing Star Trek, which was basically ten and a half months, this one is only about five and a half months. It makes it easier to do.

Do you have an early memory of Star Trek? What got you interested in it to begin with?

I do remember when I was little having the Star Trek toys, getting the phasers and stuff when I was younger. But growing up, I always did make-up to Star Wars, that was kind of the first influential movie that had make-up I would try to recreate. Once I got out to California and got in the union, Mike Westmore (make-up supervisor) told me he wanted me as soon as I got in the union. Once I did, he kept his word and hired me the next day.

You must have some fond memories of Star Trek.

Oh yeah. Looking at my pictures the other night, thinking back to all the stuff we used to do, how much fun we used to have. It was a lot of long hours and a lot of hard work, but it was the best show in terms of being able to do straight beauty make-up, character make-ups, all the prosethetic make-up, do all the sculpting and creating of the aliens, and then at night being able to goof around on the Paramount lot, basically having the whole lot to ourselves. Those are always the things I kind of think about.

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