the chameleons: Helena Bonham Carter

Helena Bonham Carter

I freely admit that Helena Bonham Carter is a long way from being my favourite actress but, neverless, I accept that there was a time when she was unfairly pigeon-holed as an actress who appeared in pretty period pieces. Her career, before she broke out of the typecasting, always confused me; she kept getting these ‘English rose’ roles despite, rather than because of, her looks – discoloured teeth, eyebrows that threatened to become a unibrow, and hair that was either a tangled mess or lank and unwashed-looking (the picture at the 1987 Oscars shows all three features).

She herself commented that she could play ‘5,000 drug addicts and still be known as Mrs Corset Queen’. For a while it looked as if she was right despite playing Frankenstein’s bride, Morgan Le Fey, a motor neuron disease sufferer wanting to have sex before she dies, a stripper, an outspoken single mother, a prostitute, and a totally insane heiress. Planet of the Apes was her ‘ultimate attempt to try to put the corset to bed’ – bedding the director certainly worked.

Perhaps, as a legacy of her attempt to break out of the typecasting she seems to have developed a fascination with characters requiring prosthetic makeup and dental prosthetics to achieve a radically different – if not outlandish – appearance:

I love the idea of prosthetics. I had done a bit of prosthetics – in Frankenstein I was a bit of a monster at the end – but I had never done a whole part under a mask. I loved the idea that I could be free of my face and inhabit somebody else’s.

In other sections of the site there are more images of Helena as: the ageing Jenny from Big Fish; the swamp witch from Big Fish including the makeup process; Susan Ivey from Novocaine; Ari from Planet Of The Apes; Karen Knightly from The Revengers’ Comedies in her various disguises; the disfigured Morgan Le Fay from Merlin; Elizabeth the bride from Frankenstein.

The characters

Great Expectations (2012): Miss Havisham – coming soon …

Dark Shadows (2012): Dr Julia Hoffman – coming soon …

The King’s Speech (2010): Queen Elizabeth – coming soon …

Alice in Wonderland (2010): She played the Queen of Hearts. Valli O’Reilly was the makeup designer; Legacy Effects were responsible for the prosthetic makeup on the movie.

Terminator Salvation (2009): Dr Serena Kogan – coming soon …

Sweeney Todd (2007): She played Mrs Lovett. Ivana Primorac was the key makeup artist.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007): She played Bellatrix Lestrange in this and three subsequent Harry Potter movies. Amanda Knight the makeup designer; Nick Dudman was the creature and makeup effects designer.

1966 (2006): She played Esther Rubens. Gemma Richards was the hair and make up artist.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005): She played Mrs Bucket. Peter Owen was the hair & makeup designer; Ivana Primorac was the key hair & makeup artist.

Magnificent 7 (2005): She played Maggi Jackson. Emma White was the makeup designer .

Henry VIII (2005): She played Anne Boleyn. Liz Tagg was the hair and make up artist.

Big Fish (2003): She played the young and middle-aged Jenny as well as the Swamp Witch. Jean Ann Black was the makeup department head; the Stan Winston Studio was responsible for special makeup effects.

Novocaine (2001): She played Susan. Linda Melazzo was the key makeup artist.

Till Human Voices Wake Us (2002): She played Ruby.

Planet of the Apes (2001): She played Ari. Rick Baker was the makeup designer; Kazuhiro Tsuji was key makeup artist and makeup designer for Thade; Alex Proctor was key prosthetic makeup supervisor; Toni G and John Blake were makeup supervisors; Bill Sturgeon was makeup production supervisor. I believe Toni G and Deborah Patino (prosthetic makeup artist) were primarily responsible for Helena Bonham Carter; Mitchell Stone was responsible for her hair.

Fight Club (1999): She played Marla Singer. Julie Pearce was the key makeup artist.

Women Talking Dirty (1999): She played Cora. Frances Hannon was the hair & makeup designer.

Merlin (1998): She played Arthur’s half-sister Morgan le Fey who was not blessed with beauty until Mab transformed her appearance to ensnare Arthur. Mark Coulier was the special makeup designer and Aileen Seaton the makeup artist and designer on this mini-series. Helena’s teeth were by Fangs FX who have also provided her with dentures for a number of her other roles.

The Theory of Flight (1998) She played Jane Hatchard, terminally ill with Motor Neuron Disease. Marina Monios was the makeup supervisor.

The Revengers’ Comedies (1998): She played the deranged and dangerous Karen Knightly who appeared in a number of disguises. Sallie Jaye was the key makeup artist; Chris Lyons was responsible for the special effects teeth.

Keep the Aspidistra Flying (1997): She played Rosemary. Marilyn MacDonald was the key makeup artist .

The Wings of the Dove (1997): She played Kate Croy. Sallie Jaye was the chief makeup artist.

Portraits chinois (1996): She played Ada. Sylvie Aid was the makeup artist.

Frankenstein (1994): She played Elizabeth who became the creature’s reluctant bride. Daniel Parker was credited for the creature make-up; Christine Allsopp and Paul Engelen were the key makeup artists; David White and Mark Coulier were the prosthetic makeup artists; Amber Sibley and Michelle Taylor were the assistant prosthetic makeup artists.

Dancing Queen (1993): She played a stripper called Pandora. Glenda Wood was the makeup supervisor.

Where Angels Fear to Tread (1991): She played Caroline Abbott . Heather Jones & Aileen Seaton were the hair stylist & makeup artists.

Getting It Right (1989): She played Lady Minerva Munday. Sue Black was the key makeup artist .

Lady Jane (1986) : She played Lady Jane Grey. Peter Frampton was the makeup supervisor.

A Room with a View (1985): She played Lucy Honeychurch. Christine Beveridge was ther makeup artist.