Joel Harlow knows how to create monsters from makeup — and not just the fantasy-fiction kind.
Now that trailers for the Whitey Bulger movie “Black Mass” have rolled out, Harlow’s latest work is on full display. Footage shows Johnny Depp transformed into the notorious Irish mobster — capacious forehead, receding hairline and all.
“The hairpiece looks beautiful,” said Joe Fordham, associate editor of Cinefex, a quarterly journal that reports on special and visual effects.
Fordham, who is based in Riverside, Calif., and has covered Harlow’s career for years, said the artist built a stellar reputation with his deep knowledge of materials (chemicals, foams, and silicones) as well as his skill at navigating artistic temperaments.
“He works right in the face of people all of the time,” Fordham said. “It requires good people management.”
Harlow has a longstanding partnership with Depp, counting two “Pirates of the Caribbean” films, “Dark Shadows,” and “The Lone Ranger” among his projects. (Also on his CV: “Inception” and quite a few episodes of “Mad Men.”)
Some of Harlow’s most impressive work came on J.J. Abrams’s 2009 “Star Trek” reboot for which he won an Oscar. He was also nominated for his makeup work in “The Lone Ranger.”
But working on fictional characters is different than creating a likeness of someone as well-known as Bulger.
“To subtly age an actor in a realistic way is something that many would greatly aspire to, but it’s really hard to do,” said Fordham, comparing Harlow’s talent to the pioneering Dick Smith, whose credits include “Taxi Driver” and “The Godfather.”
“The tricky thing is that you don’t want to overdo it,” Fordham said, of re-creating a 50-year-old Bulger. “You don’t want to look like a guy with a lot of rubber stuck on his face. You have to get a semblance and if he’s well-known, it’s very difficult. It’s a real tightrope.”
John Adams and Thomas Jefferson first met in 1775 in the Continental Congress and evolved from Revolutionary War collaborators to political rivals to loving friends in their twilight years.Continue reading »
Not now, we have a headache.Continue reading »
The best-selling children’s novel looks at a fifth-grader facing a special challenge.Continue reading »
The painting, called ‘‘Salvator Mundi,’’ was sold by Christie’s auction house, which didn’t immediately identify the buyer.Continue reading »
Josh O’Connor and Alec Secareanu give such aching performances that their romance feels real.Continue reading »
The actress hits a career peak as a small-town avenging angel, the mother of a murdered teenager who won’t let the local cops off the hook.Continue reading »
Moz’s sloganeering sinks some of the tracks on his new album, but overall he sounds more inspired than he has in a long while.Continue reading »
At Saturday’s 23rd Comics Come Home show and in his new book, Leary plans to accentuate the positive.Continue reading »
Animator Dean Kelly’s latest passion project draws on influences from Chelmsford to Oaxaca.Continue reading »