Eddie Murphy: Movie makeup is a 'thankless' job

  • Bang Showbiz
  • 4 March 2021
Eddie Murphy

Eddie Murphy

Eddie Murphy says spending hours in the makeup chair on film sets is a “thankless” job, because the audience don’t “appreciate” the intricacy of special effects makeup

Eddie Murphy says spending hours in the makeup chair on film sets is a “thankless” job.

The ‘Coming 2 America’ star has praised the hair and makeup departments on film sets for their work, as he admitted he hates having to spend up to six hours a day in the makeup chair because most film audiences don’t “appreciate” the intricacy of special effects makeup.

Speaking about his experience with movie makeup during an appearance on 'Movies with Ali Plumb', he said: “Every time I do it I say, ‘that’s the last time, I’m never doing this s*** ever again’ and then I’ll get an idea and ‘Ah s***, where the makeup chair?’ and I’ll end up sitting in the chair again but I never forget and it never gets any easier.

“The process didn’t get any easier on ‘Coming 2 America’ than on ‘Nutty Professor’, it’s still six hours in the chair put it on and an hour and half to take it off after everybody left at the end of the day, you’ve had this s*** glued on your face for twelve hours and then you have to go and sit and have them peel it off for an hour. It is work, it is drudgery and it’s even kind of thankless because the audience doesn’t appreciate it. If it’s really really really done right the audience doesn’t think ‘oh it’s a makeup, how much work is it?’ they just watch it, they get the laugh but they’re not seeing all the work that goes into it so you kind of take it for granted you know.”

Eddie admitted people often “take for granted” the work that goes into special effects scenes, which makes it “personally rewarding” when people do give it a “reaction”.

He added: “A perfect example of that is when I did ‘Nutty Professor’, it’s a scene where everybody is all round the table and sat in these makeups for hours and hours, it takes three hours to shoot a sequence, but I get an Oscar nomination for ‘Dreamgirls’ for one little moment, it was a scene where I gave a person a look and all the critics were like ‘Ah that look that he gave! He should be nominated for that!’

“It’s like, they take for granted all that other stuff but so much work goes into it and it’s kind of thankless, but it is personally rewarding afterwards when you get a reaction."

The full interview with Eddie on Radio 1’s 'Movies With Ali Plumb' is available on BBC iPlayer from 8pm on March 4.

Coming 2 America

  • 2 stars
  • 2021
  • US
  • 1h 50min
  • 12
  • Directed by: Craig Brewer
  • Cast: Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, Jermaine Fowler, Leslie Jones, Shari Headley, John Amos, Tracy Morgan, Wesley Snipes, James Earl Jones
  • UK release: 5 March 2021

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