Outlander Cast Chats w/ Head Of Prosthetics & Makeup: Kristyan Mallett - Episode 14

Transcribed by:  Denise Stewart
Outlander Cast Episode 14
January 28, 2015

Photo Credit Outlander Anatomy 
Hosts Mary and Blake discuss everything blood, guts, makeup and prosthetics with Kristyan Mallett-the head of Prosthetics and Makeup on Outlander.  In this episode you'll learn about why Mary has a nerdgasm, what Jamie's back and Batman have in common, how they achieved the look on Jamie's back, Geordie's guts and the surprise setting of that scene, the science of blood and little boys ears, what it was like to work on the set of , and why the best compliment to Kristyan is never noticing his work.

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Outlander Cast:  Joining us now is Kristyan Mallett.  He is a prosthetic makeup designer who has worked on our favorite show, Outlander, but he’s also worked on a bunch of films and television shows that you might know like Les Mis and a few of the Harry Potter movies. And, Kristyan, I don't know if you know this, but I am like THE biggest Harry Potter fan in all of Rhode Island.  (Blake: I’d say mainly the United States) Probably.

Kristyan Mallett:  That is quite a claim. That is quite a claim.  I mean, I actually live in Leavesden which is the place where all of the Harry Potter movies were made.  I actually met my wife on Harry Potter 4, I believe it was 4, and we now have three children.  And they're not called Harry, Ron, and Hermione.  We live in the housing estate which is where they shot basically the Harry Potter sequence of where his home is. (OC: The Dursleys, your neighbors were the Dursleys?) The Dursleys?  No I don’t live in their house. But I live on their estate essentially.  And we actually live opposite the Harry Potter studios.  So, yes it’s kind of strange.  I actually moved to where I live because of Harry Potter. It’s kind of strange.  That’s where I started my film career was with Harry Potter.

OC: Really?  Now tell us a little bit of what you did with the film crew on the Harry Potter set that then gave you the springboard to create your own crew.

KM:  Well, basically I was working for other people.  I mean, as a child I saw films, and I remember being a very young boy and seeing a film called Legend which was about-I seem to remember Tom Cruise was in it-and Tim Curry was playing this big, red devil. And the red devil had to cut off these unicorn horns to basically make it dark forever.  And I remember on a Saturday morning there was a behind the scenes documentary about how and what was going on about the film sets.  And there was the makeup application being done on Tim Curry turning this small man into this large, red devil; and I remember seeing it and being blown away and thinking, “Wow, people make monsters for a living.”  And that's exactly what I wanted to do.   Throughout school and through college I'd studied makeup and done art.  I was very much a creative person.  I had a break and ended up being on Harry Potter.  And throughout the years in Harry Potter,  I ended up just keeping my head down and kept working hard. I would work overtime-every opportunity I had to work a weekend, I would-and just learn. I mean, the people I had around me were really the best people in Europe.  The best sculptors, painters, art finishers, even people who inserted hair into eyebrows for fake prosthetics. They really were the creme de la creme.  So even if I wasn’t really necessarily doing something with them, I’d have one eye on them. I’d be learning all of the time. And I left Harry Potter with such knowledge.  But all of those people I’d worked with, they went on to other companies to other projects and they recommended me, and so forth. And so for a few years I was working for various different people.  I think that I got contacted by a producer who wanted me to do a show, and I’d done one TV show. And then they recommended me to another show, and that got a second series. And then there were two shows, and then that just kept going more, and more, and more, and more.  And then I think it was in 2007, or 2008 I believe, I was to start my own company.  And ever since then we have been very busy.  We do a lot of TV shows. We do a lot of films. We’ve just grown, and grown, and grown, and grown, and now we’re in our fourth workshop.  And then we started Outlander a year ago, over a year ago now.

OC:  Yes, before we even talk Outlander, are your daughters going to have amazing Halloween costumes because they have you as a dad?

KM: (Laughs out loud) Everyone says that. Everyone thinks that Halloween it must be the best house to be in. But it’s like a busman's holiday, the last thing I want to see on Halloween, or be asked on Halloween, is, “Can you do my makeup?”  It’s like no chance.

OC: They’ll just be ghosts with a sheet over their head.

KM: Yes, yes the easy way out. Whatever I can do.

OC:  So you said that many of the different shows you were on, you were recommended to be on. How did you find your way into Outlander?

KM:  Well, it was the makeup designer, Lisa Westcott, on Les Mis.  When I worked with her, before the film even started, I’d gotten recommended to her through Daniel Phillips and Jan Sewell who were other makeup designers that I had worked with.  But she wanted somebody to sit down with her and actually artwork all the various different looks for all the characters on Les Miserables before we even got the cast in, so that she could offer up hairstyles and makeup looks . . . this is without the prosthetics.  But she wanted me to photoshop different designs. And so I sat with Lisa Westcott for about a month and a half in Pinewood Studios art working every single character’s different hairstyles-all of the options, and how it would look in completely different costumes from their skin tones. And we had done this for a while, and then when the film started, there’s also aging makeups, makeups to make them look like they were wearing shackles; and we’d done tattoo transfers. That job just grew and grew and grew and grew.  Lisa Westcott actually won an Oscar for that film for Best Makeup, which is rightly deserved, because not only did she do a great job,  but the actual the politics involved in that film were quite dramatic for the British film industry.  Many people were taken advantage of just because it was a seventeen week film production that got squashed into thirteen weeks.  And the production were desperately trying to save money, and they were working people too long and not paying them.  And it ended up being a bit of a nightmare.  So there were kind of, well not strikes, but the unions were involved, and it became kind of messy.  And I think for her just to get through that, I mean, it was the last film.  She retired after that. I think she’d had enough.  She was asked by a makeup designer called Suzanne Jansen about wanting to approach Outlander in a similar vein.  We were trying to get someone to do artwork and designs. Lisa was a good friend of Suzanne, and Lisa recommended me.  And then I sat with Suzanne.  And she sent me briefs of what she required for Sam, and what he would look like.  So we’d done makeup designs and hair designs for Tobias.  And we’d done artwork for Sam and various different hair colors and all those sorts of things.  And basically what happened was, over a period of time, we had a collection of artwork that was then submitted to the producers; and they would say no to this, yes to that. And it just kept kind of going backwards and forwards until they basically ended up getting Sam in for the actual makeup tests and things like that. And then after that, we then started the prosthetics which is then where I became more heavily involved. We started art working the back scars, and that went on for quite a while because it was such an iconic part of that character. You know it had to tell quite a large story. 

OC:  So tell me about that process.  Did you feel any responsibility to making that back prosthetic?  Did you feel any pressure? 

KM:  I think, fortunately because I was completely unaware of how big the books were, I think if I had known, then I probably would have added a little bit of pressure to myself. But as far as I was aware, it was one story being told up in Scotland about a guy who had been flogged quite heavily; and I wasn’t aware of how large the show was or even seemed to be. So I didn’t have any pressure at all.  I didn’t feel any pressure.  But that was because I was completely ignorant, to be honest, and naive to how big this show was.  In hindsight, I’m very glad that I sculpted it the way I sculpted it, and it was designed the way it was designed, only because it has quite an impact.  It’s quite hard-hitting.  And I think after now knowing the story...because another thing is when I started I was given the first two scripts, first.  And then every time they released another two scripts, that’s how I found out the story. It was not like they gave me the entire series and said there you go, this is what you’re heading towards. They didn’t even recommend the book.  But to be honest, even if they did, I wouldn’t have had time to read it. 

OC:  So the back itself, it’s pretty gnarly when you look at it.  What was the concept that you had? And what was the frame of reference that you were looking towards? And what was the look you were going for in terms of that prosthetic?

KM: Well, originally, we wanted to keep it quite subtle so that you'd have to be quite close to him to see it for it to read.  And we were going to do it so that when I sculpted it-when I made it-it was going to be something very simple for the makeup team to stick on because I knew it was going to be on there a lot; and I knew there was a good chance they couldn’t afford for me to be flown all the way to Scotland to stick it on all the time. Because then they’d have to put me up overnight, I’d have to stick it on and fly back that same day or the next day.  And if you fly the day before and you fly back the day after, they have to pay the travel day and that’s a whole day’s work just for you to sit on a plane. It becomes incredibly expensive and not necessary really.  So I designed the first few pieces of artwork very subtle. And then it was more, more, more. So we’d done it a little bit more. Then it was more, more, more. And I was like OK, we said if you do any more, it’s going to be a hefty prosthetic and requiring me being there.  But the other thing is, is in the story he is meant to have a hundred lashes on his back because he is flogged a hundred times. And that’s the second time around. So in all fairness, he’d be dead.  He wouldn’t even be alive.  Also it’s a cat o’nine tail, so not only was he flogged a hundred times, that’s nine hundred lashes on his back.  He wouldn’t have a back left. So, in all honesty, he wouldn’t just have a few stripes of scars.  But he would have barely any back left whatsoever.  It’d look like a really bad skin graft. That’s probably what it would look like. But obviously that doesn’t make for a good story, and the hero’s still got to look sexy, cool and scars are sexy and cool right?  So we looked at other reference-and there’s a piece of artwork from I remember Batman comic by Alex Ross-and it was Batman sort of looking at himself after he’s taking his bat suit off.  And Bruce Wayne is checking his own back out; and there’s a black and white image; and there’s scars from being beaten and cut and stabbed and various bullet wounds on his back.  It was really deep-those wounds were really deep and puckered, and there was something I really liked about that. And I remember thinking it would be kind of cool to have that sort of element to it whether it’s different strokes, but there’s  scars that go in, scars that are growing over other scars. When he’s had his first load of lashes they’ve healed up, and he’s been flogged again, and they’ve been healed up over top of other healed scars.  And that’s kind of the way we approached it.

Photo Credit Outlander Anatomy 

OC:  I just wanted to know what that process was like to even make it. What did you even use? And did you have to practice putting it on Sam’s back?  How do you make those scars?

KM:  Well, we did, what we do is we take a live cast of Sam’s back. So Sam comes into the workshop, and we basically put silicone all over his back.  It goes off in like five minutes.  And then we put plaster bandage on the back of that so it will hold it’s shape.  And then we ask Sam to step away, and we sort of pull it off his back. And then we have a negative shape of Sam’s back.  Then we fill that with plaster of Paris, and then we have a positive of Sam’s back.  So that’s our shape that we sculpt on.  We sculpt with a wax called plasteline, here in the UK.  And in the US there’s one called monster makers clay, which we have actually moved onto. And so we actually order from the US because it’s much better clay.  But you basically block out shapes.  So you look at your reference and you start sculpting.  And you start putting the scars where you want the scars to go.  And there’s different directions, and you build those up so you can carve into it so you can make it look like the scars going deep within the skin tissue. And that’s basically what we did.  And once you’ve got the rough shape, you take an image and you send it to the producers, and they say yes, no, more, less, until you actually find something that you’re really happy with. So we’d done a few designs first and as soon as they looked down the design I went ahead and just sculpted what I thought would look cool.  And they pretty much said yes straight away.  So once they were happy with the shape, we  then basically put in all the skin detail.  And it is literally a case of putting in skin pore by skin pore one at a time with a tiny needle through a tiny piece of plastic.  And you’re doing it and going all the direction of the skin texture where it’s been puckered and pulled, so if they wanted to, if they wanted to go over it with a macro lens on to that back, you’d actually see all the skin pores that are being pulled into the various scar detail.  The only reason we did that was we knew that there’s a good chance, there was a sequence where she rubs her hand down his back and it’s all meant to be soft lit and against the firelight, so we knew it was really going to catch some detail, so we went all out, to be honest.  

OC: I’m glad you did because that was a very nice scene. (KM: Sexy scene, right?) That was their wedding night scene.  (KM: No not that scene.)  In regard to the back, you said that you wanted to start off really subtly and you kept on adding.  Who was telling you to keep adding?  Was that your choice, or was that Ron Moore’s choice? 

KM:  It was Ron’s really because I...I think it was a case of I was trying to be subtle because I knew what it would entail as a makeup artist trying to stick it on everyday.  The maintenance of it.  It’s not an easy thing sticking on a back piece, so it’s not very easy for the artist to sit there for any length of time to have this prosthetic put on.  So I was trying to keep it really simple at first to make life easy.  But of course it was very much...normally that’s what producers want.  They want artists quickly on set. They don’t want us hanging around too long. Don’t want us to spend money.  Don’t want to pay for you to fly up.  So I was doing everything that they normally would want.  So this was the first times, so they were like no, no, no. We want more, more, more. Yes the prosthetic. We’ll fly you up; we’ll do this; we’ll do that. Of course they did, and then they realized that actually half way through the series maybe we should try and get the makeup department to learn how to stick this on because it is costing us a fortune.  And I said well, put a shirt on him.  Put a shirt on him.  He’s always getting his top off.  Just put him in a shirt.  Put him in a jumper.  Save yourself from watching.  

OC: Aside from you, who has the most say in what your work will look like?  Is that something you only answer to Ron Moore or do you answer to other people too?  

KM:  No, no, no, the makeup designer, well Suzanne Jansen, she’d done the first four episodes. And then at Christmas there was a hiatus, and then after that Annie McEwan took over as  makeup designer.  And I don’t think there were reasons apart than availability. And I think, oh and I’ll tell you what the other reason was, Annie was from Scotland. And I know that Suzanne was from London.  And I think the travels and the accommodation of having the entire makeup team from London in Scotland was draining the resources a little bit too much.  So they tried to have as many local people as possible.  And I think Annie’s availability was...they always wanted Annie to do it, but she couldn’t do the first four episodes, because I think she was on Game of Thrones.  And when I believe she was then available after Christmas, they went ahead and got Annie in because she was always meant to be doing it because she was local.  And then Suzanne and them went back down to London. But the makeup designer very much has a say in things. But in this case with the back, Suzanne didn’t want anything to do with the prosthetics.  And at that point Annie wasn’t even on board, so with that it was very much just me and the producers. Again, not realizing how much of a focal point this was going to be at the time, so it was like, “Meh, back scar, OK, what do you want?”  If only I knew.  But I’m glad I didn’t at the time because it kind of worked out for the best.  But one thing I wish I did know was that we actually see later on a flashback of the flogging taking place because I would have sculpted it differently. I would have done the actual lashing part first and then copied it in the scar form. 

Photo Credit Outlander Anatomy 

OC: So you worked on that back for that scene? That back lashing scene with all of the skin hanging off? 

KM: That’s me.  Yea I’d gotten a lot of phone calls and a lot of Facebook notifications about that.  A lot of people were kind of grossed out by it. Which is good, it is meant to be really brutal.  I was very happy with that whole makeup there.  It was really hard to do.  It was very complicated, especially when it had to progress, it had to get worse and worse.  So it also had to bleed.  It was an incredibly thin prosthetic that had to have blood rigs underneath.  But also had to show how his back got into the state it did.

OC:  How did you even get the blood inside that?  I was picturing a little zip lock bag stuck inside of the back and as it would be hit, it would be punctured.

KM: Imagine that.  You’d just have these bulbous bags. That would never work.  That’s crazy.

OC:  That is why I’m not a prosthetic makeup designer.  

KM:  Exactly, exactly.  Well now you’re not that far off to be honest.  You do have these bladders.  We make these tiny little bladders, and they’re kind of like latex balloons, and they’re very flat, but they have loads of holes in them.  So along his back where he’s got all these lines and criss crosses, behind each one of those was various different small bladders that would have a little tube coming out.  And all these tubes were connected to larger tubes.  And they would be connected to a thing called a pegala.  Now a lot of people would know a pegala if they saw one because it has this pump and you use it to spray fertilizer or weed killer on your plants.  So it’s kind of a thing you pump up.  It’s one of those only this one is a little more industrial, it’s silver and it’s got a pressure gauge on it so you can know what pressure you can get up to.  And so you have all these tiny little tubes that come out of the bottom of his back that go underneath his kilt so you don't see that and the prosthetic goes all the way down to his bum.  And then from the bum and that comes out all these tubes that connects to the pegalas.  And we’ve got a couple of pegalas on the go all primed and ready to go so that every time he lashes his back, we sort of release a little bit of blood and part of the back will bleed.  And then we’ll release a bit more and part of the back will bleed.  And the more he does it, the more it bleeds, and the more vicious it gets.  And then we go in and we start to rip apart the back,  and open up other parts of the back with other wounds.  And it gets to the point where pieces are literally hanging off. And blood is going all over the place.  And on the day I seem to remember over-priming it a bit and going a little over blood happy.  But what was interesting was the set it was shot in was incredible.  It was, everyone was around and it was fantastic because the reactions on people’s faces they didn’t know what to expect.  So we took Sam out with the prosthetic on and we had him hanging there. And then we went straight into the gruesome parts of the shoot.  And I think it took a lot of people by surprise.  All the supporting artists and even the producers were like on the other side giving me the thumb’s up because I think they were happy with how brutal it looked.  But I’ve since seen the actual sequence and it’s quite brutal, it’s very hard to watch if you didn’t know it was coming.

OC:  I remember watching that sequence and I had an expectation on what the lashing would look like and how it would effect Sam’s back.  But what I didn’t anticipate was that initial lash and all of a sudden all of the blood just came pouring out. And I was like, “Oh my God!”  I totally didn’t expect it. I don’t know why.  And it just poured out and it just felt so real.  I remember commenting on it and being totally, totally floored by the work that you had done.  (KM: Well thank you very much)  It was awesome.  But, so we all know about Jamie’s back and  it’s a major, major part of the story.  Is there something that you worked on that we wouldn’t have noticed necessarily?  Or something that was underplayed? 

KM:  Well to be honest, Sam kind of gets, he gets a lot of things.  You get to the point where you think, “Christ, if I was Sam, I’d probably jump off a cliff.”  Because everything happens to Sam.  I mean he dislocated his shoulder in the first episode.  You know the first episode we meet him, he’s dislocated his shoulder.  And I remember, it was me and visual effects we had done this kind of shoulder part where we made this prosthetic where he would have his arm hanging off down the side of his body and the collar bone was like popping quite high.  And then Claire comes along and twists it and gives it just a pop and fixes.  What a genius. She’s so clever. No, VFX fixes it. Good ole VFX guy. So what they’d done was they did the entire sequence with him with the prosthetic on and then we took the prosthetic off and they did the entire sequence with the prosthetic off.  And what they had done was they basically merged the two together.  So when he twisted his arm they made the prosthetic animate into his own shoulder.  And that was really quite nice.  Quite a nice marriage.

Photo Credit Outlander Anatomy 

OC:  I like that you call it quite nice, because I went, “Ehhhhhhh.”  

KM:  Well that was the problem what goes on in here is full of monsters and gruesome things and I think they’re ugly.

Photo Credit Outlander Anatomy 

OC:  Speaking about gruesome.  That boar hunt scene (KM: Yes the guts hanging out) Yea tell me a little more about that.

KM:  Well that was kind of interesting because we had to do it like two or three times  because they never really got the right shot.  The first time we did it, was actually on location, you know the guts are spilled out and then obviously has the leg wound as well and it’s pumping out.  So they check the leg wound, “Oh, dear, bad leg would. I’m sure he’ll survive...bit of pressure.  Oh hold on a minute, his guts are hanging out. He probably won’t survive. Take the tourniquet off.”  But to get exactly that, what we wanted to see was tourniquet going off/on.  Tourniquet coming off.  What actually happened was we filmed it, but they filmed it from such a distance they didn’t actually capture any of the detail.  And then they decided to re-shoot it.  And they re-shot it.  And they had us on the second unit and-to destroy the magic of it all-we literally were on a tiny, little bit of car park with some green grass and some vegetation with the guy laying there with some people in trees and vegetation around him with a camera on him. And cars and lorries going on past in the background.  And we basically shot that sequence again.  And then the footage then went to the first unit and they approved it.  And they said yes, we’ve gotten everything great. A month later we get another call, we didn’t get all the footage. We forgot to get her undoing the tourniquet.  And I was like Oh, my God.  So we had to go set up in the car park again do the whole sequence again. And in the actual episode when it’s all together, you don’t actually notice.  It’s actually three times that that prosthetic was shot for essentially such a very small sequence. It was actually shot three times.  And you would never know when it’s been edited together very, very well.

OC:  You were too busy crying.  That was such an emotional scene. It really was so special. You're right. No one would have noticed.  

KM: Just looking through the blurry eyes, absolutely.  I mean in the first episode, the first time we see Claire, she’s fixing somebody’s leg. She’s fixing it in the hospital, not the hospital, but the medical center.  That was kind of fun.  That was our first day, that was the first day on the set.  And it was the first sequence they shot.  So it was great because we came on set,and we have this amputee wearing this fake prosthetic limb.  Like it’s completely been obliterated. And he was very cool. Because then you start to worry about the psychology about sticking on a fake leg that has been brutally ripped apart by a bomb, or worse some shrapnel, onto somebody who has lost their leg.  But it turned out that the actor who’s wearing it actually he’d chosen to take his own leg due to a growth deficiency in his leg when he was younger. So he decided at the age of 16 that he couldn’t live with the growth deficiency any more so he opted to have the surgery to have his leg removed.  A very, very nice gentleman.  Incredibly nice guy.   So he’s having this leg on.  But it was brilliant.  But my guy who I had on set, my supervisor, he was on, and we’re pumping the blood out and it’s squirting and it’s fantastic; but then what happened was it wasn’t working properly.  The blood’s not coming out for the next take.  So we pumped it up a bit more and thought oh there’s something going on.  So we tried it again, and we said oh we can see the problem.  And at this point we had probably pumped up this tank quite a lot. So if you could imagine, there’s all this compressed air along with a lot of blood in one of these pegalas,  when you press the button, you’re releasing that pressure so that all the fluid just flies out.  But what turned out is there was actually somebody standing on the tube on the set but we couldn’t see because there were all of these extras around.  So somebody stepping on the tube put all this pressure behind it.  And of course the next take we realize that’s what it was, and we forgot to release some of the pressure on the tank.  So there’s all this pressure built up, and it goes up to about 10 gauge, and normally to get blood to come out decent,  it’s kind of on the level of 1 ½ to 2.  Next take we basically just pressed the button, and uh, she got absolutely drenched in blood.  It went all over her face, all over her costume, absolutely everywhere.  But the producers absolutely loved it.  They thought it was the best thing since sliced bread, but we pretty much emptied the entire pegala in that one hit of his leg.  He hasn’t even got that much blood in his body.  So, that was kind of fun. So that was kind of good because everyone was in good spirits on the first day.  I’m sure if it was the end of the day and everyone was tired,  it would have been very different.  Everyone would have soon been moaning at the spurt; but because it was the first day, it was good.

OC:  While you’re pumping this pergola, is that how you say it? (KM: pegala) When you’re pumping it,  are you hiding under the table?  Where are you?

KM: Yea well, we were actually hidden around the corner.  So if you were to watch this sequence again, there is a door on the right, basically, where me and this other guy had hidden around the corner.  And it’s difficult hiding me anyway, because I’m so big.  But, yea, we’re tucked around the corner. Other things like with the back I was hidden underneath the actual decking where he’s being lashed, and he’s standing up.  But I’m behind him literally tucked down with my head peaking around the corner, so I couldn’t actually see how much blood’s coming out so I actually gauge on how far I need to go. That’s the other thing, you have to be able to actually watch what you’re doing.  But with the leg, we were blind. There was no way we could see.  If we wanted to look, we would have actually been on camera. 

OC: So aside from the amputation and the back, is there something on the set that you loved working on?  

KM:  Well, it’s all gory to be honest.  All the stuff that we do personally on this particular project.  I mean the little boy’s ear? I mean the one where he’s pinned to the post? I mean we did all that.  We actually made a large ear which was probably about 20 times the size of his ear.  Cause I haven’t seen this episode, so I don’t know.  Originally when they hammered the nail into the wood-I don’t know if you see it-but they wanted to actually see the penetration of the nail going through the ear.  But they wanted to do it on such a tight macro lens, that we needed to upscale this little boy’s ear to be this big.  So we did that, and then we hair punched his entire hair line.  So we actually had a big piece of silicone with a big ear on it and hair on it all the way around it.  And we made a large nail; and then they basically pierced the large nail through the large ear into this large piece of wood so that on camera it would actually look like his being pierced into the wood, but it wasn’t.  It was just this huge ear being pierced into this rather large piece of wood.  

Photo Credit Outlander Anatomy
OC:  It looked like him for sure.  You guys did a great job.  I had no idea that’s how you did it.  It came out great.

KM:  And then he’s actually pinned to this board for the majority of time.  And all that is is just a nail with a magnet on the end.  And there's a piece of metal behind with a magnet on it.
So he just stays there with the magnet holding this pin.

OC: Pretending to be in so much pain of course.

KM: He’s a good little actor. He knows exactly what he’s doing.

OC:  What projects are you working on next? And will you be continuing with Outlander? Or are you moving on?

KM:  I mean, to be honest, I think Outlander if…the thing is, I don’t know what’s in the next Outlander.  To be honest, I don't know if there’s a continuation of the same time periods or if she moves to a different time period.  I don’t know, because I haven’t read the books.

OC:  And we can’t say because we’re “spoiler free.” So I know, but I can’t tell you guys.  

KM:  And the other thing is, because I’m down in London and they’re up in Scotland,  I think they’ll do whatever they can to find somebody local. But I’d love to do the next series because we enjoyed the first one. And we didn’t realize it was going to be what it is.  But basically, who knows what’s going to happen?  Yea, I don’t know.  What I’m working on at the moment? I’m working on Mission Impossible 5 at the moment.  We are doing a new film called King Arthur.  What else are we doing?  There’s a show coming out in America called Tut, and it’s about King Tutankhamen. And it’s a TV series that’s being shot in Morocco. I’ve actually been involved with that since September, and that shoots until December the twelfth.  So we’ve got that going on as well at the moment. We’ve done Fortitude, which I think will be airing soon and is meant to be quite a nice number.  It’s like a five series deal.  And that worked very well.  We’re doing this show called Humans at the moment which is a remake of a Scandinavian show.  But, yea, we’re doing quite a lot. We’re keeping very busy.  The thing is with Outlander, even though it’s on, shoots all year round, the makeup team and costumes.  I mean the costumes on that show.  The woman who does that is absolutely mind blowing.  The attention to detail is phenomenal and awards need to be given to her.  I mean the fact that she’s using the original methods and original cloth.  It’s just out of this world.  It’s just one thing that I have...the magic is never lost.  When you go on some sets and you see some things, you think, “Oh,  I was convinced it was real.”  There’s something about the costumes on that that really do take you back.  And even the costumes from the 1940’s, it’s just beautiful, beautiful.  But anyway, moving on away from the costumes. The costumes are incredible.

OC:  They are; they are.  We talk about them almost every episode how gorgeous they are.

KM:  They are beautiful. Yeah.

OC:  What was it like working on the set of Outlander, for you?

KM:  It really just depends.  If you’re inside, then it’s quite slow to be honest.  I mean what’s great is when you do Jamie’s back, it’s, the way we apply it, Sam will come in and will lay down on a massage table and we’ll stick down the back in the center.  Then he will stand up and we will do the sides.  And it’s kind of, you know, you get to know him on a very personal level.  And we talk about his fitness regime.  I mean the guy’s getting bigger and bigger.  And we’ve noticed that.  The back prosthetic is in fact is getting smaller and smaller because he’s getting bigger and bigger.  And he’s training so hard.  So he’s probably going to need a new back prosthetic for the next series because he’s just getting so wide now.  So they might want to think about remodeling it to fit him better.  The actual atmosphere on set is fantastic.  Everyone loves being there.  Everyone loves being part of it.  And everyone’s willing to help each other.  And when the rushes are released and the people see the various different clips, it’s nice because everyone has an opinion, and everyone always strives for the best that they can get out of it.  Sometimes you get direction like next time we have to do this scene again because we didn’t get this or we didn’t get that.  But, to be honest, for me we go there, we’re there for two days and then we come back.  Most of our work is spent in the workshop with all projects and films.  It’s pretty much eighty percent workshop and twenty percent on set.  But we do love being on location for Outlander.  Because when you’re on location, you’re in the Highlands, you’re in the Woodlands, you’re in the outside in Scotland and for me that’s so far from the norm being in London. It’s great.

OC:  It sounds like it was such a wonderful group to be with.  And that you had such a pleasant experience.  And, heck, you got to keep getting flown out time and time again. So that’s nice.  

KM: I mean the actual studio itself is in Castlecary in Scotland.  And it’s a facility that was an old factory, it was either a factory or a warehouse, but it’s huge.  It’s a huge facility that has been completely overtaken by Outlander.  But it’s been completely reinvented.  It’s absolutely gorgeous inside.  And what they’ve actually brought to Scotland now is a whole new film studio.  So even when Outlander is done in years to come, there’s going to be an industry up there where there’s more and more projects whether they are TV or film.  So Outlander is going to leave a legacy in Scotland for all the people that can work in the industry.  It’s reinvented the industry in Scotland.  And it means that if we don’t do the next series, it’s not a bad thing, it’s nice to be a part of it and it means maybe the locals can do something.  So it’s good.

OC: That’s great.  Well my last question for you is what do you want to leave our listeners with so when they watch a TV show like Outlander or a movie like Harry Potter, what do you want them to notice, or not notice, about the prosthetics and makeup work?

KM:  I don't want them to notice it.  That’s the thing.  If you don’t notice it, and you just accept the fact that it’s real, that’s the biggest compliment of all.  If you’re watching it and you say, “Aw that nose looks a bit funny,” then we clearly haven’t done our job.  But there’s things in Outlander that you don’t know, like there’s little prosthetics that sit on the skin, like there are scars, or pitted skin, or slight buckles to noses.  There’s all those tiny little things that give character features that you don’t even know they are going on, and they tell stories for each character. And I’m telling you that because you probably haven’t even noticed.

OC:  One thing I have noticed is Angus’ missing teeth.  Did you guys work on that? How did he have no teeth in the front?  

KM:  I had nothing to do with that.

OC: Because he does this really weird thing where he flicks his tongue in that hole.  And I’m like does he really not have teeth? What’s going on? It’s creepy.

KM:  I think you’ll have to find that he actually has a removable tooth. (OC:  Ah, that would do it. That would work.)   He’s so committed to the job, that he just pries one out.

OC:  Maybe that was in his audition.  This is why you’ll have to pick me.

KM: What you’ll have to do to get the job. They are a fantastic group.  And in the future when you watch the future Outlander episodes, I mean there are a few things coming up to keep your eye on.  The various different love interests and the backstabbing.  Yeah, it’s a great ride. You’re going to enjoy the show, and it only gets better.  

OC:  I can’t wait. I can’t wait.  Well, if our fans want to check you out, do you have a website or a Facebook or a Twitter account?

KM:  Yeah, Facebook.  I mean Kristyan Mallett is spelled rather obscurely.  There are pictures on Facebook of the actual process of the makeup application.  Showing you the blood rigs and Sam’s back and the dislocated shoulder and the little boy’s ear.  There’s all that.  So if you actually want to see some of that and how we actually got there then go to Facebook and have a look.

What do you think about the prosthetics and the whole prosthetic process that Kristyan describes? What were some of the special effects scenes that stand out to you?


  1. Thank You Denise for such an informative piece!All these things that make OL such a great show!

    1. Thanks for reading! It's pretty fascinating seeing behind-the-scenes material!

    2. Thanks for reading! It's pretty fascinating seeing behind-the-scenes material!

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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