ICM interview with make-up artist Kitty Kratschke




Make-up is an important factor in movies. Specially if the movie plays right in the second World War in the ice desert of Norway and you’ll expect some intense and probably bloody scenes.
For Comrade, the producer chose the German make-up artist Kitty Kratschke. She has worked for several movies before, national and international like “Nordwand” (2008) or “NVA” (2005) and resently won at the “Deutscher Filmpreis” 2011 an award for her work in the movie “Goethe”.

Last week ICM had the opportunity to ask Kitty Kratschke some questions about her work at the set of Comrade. She told us about the most of the time incalculable weather, why she made the decision to curl Rupert’s hair and about working right in the middle of nowhere.

Thanks again Kitty for speaking with us!


ICM: How did you, as a German Makeup artist, end up with the Norwegian production?

Kitty Kratschke: I worked with set designer Udo Kramer and costume designer Steffi Bruhn several times and they recommended me. I guess my work for the movie “Nordwand” (German historical fiction film based on a famous 1936 attempt to climb the Eiger north face, starring Florian Lukas and Benno Fuermann 2008) was a good reputation.

ICM: What was your orientation for hair and makeup? Did you have photographs or did Horst Schopis (One of the three German soldiers who wrote the book “Als wir vom Himmel fiehlen”-When we fell from the sky”) give you some descriptions?

Kitty Kratschke: It is always an interaction between actor, director, camera, costume and environment to create a look. For me it is important to show the character clearly and to help the actor to get into his role, to identify himself with it.
I read a script and I get an imagination of the person, about his looks, and that’s my base to create the character. Pictures, people, exhibitions, music and the teamwork with the other departments inspire me, and the vision becomes real.
For me, makeup is a tool. In case of “Comrade” to show for example coldness, warmth, tiredness, weather conditions etc. in their faces. To make it look realistic and harmonious in a scene.
I trust my feelings, imagine the human being separately from the actor and, depending on the situation, I try to present him in the proper light.
I thought the freckles on Rupert suited with the red curls I imagined for Robert Smith.
We shot lots of scenes in the studio and costume and makeup were important to create the illusion that the actors just came out of the cold.

ICM: How did you put the freckles on Rupert’s face?

Kitty Kratschke: They were sprayed on and in order to make it weather resistant we repainted them with alcoholic paint.

ICM: Who had the idea to curl Rupert’s hair? Did you do the curls every morning again and did he like them?

Kitty Kratschke: I had the intention to create totally different characters. I uncurled Lachlan’s hair, because I thought it would be a better match with his character to play. We uncurled them every day, like we curled Rupert’s hair and painted the freckles. He looked so sweet with them. And I guess that’s the reason he didn’t like it very much and was relieved to wash it off every evening and to just be Rupert again. But he never complained!
It didn’t take long to do it in the morning. About 15min I guess. But we had to re-do it most of the time right before a new take, because wetness, wind and snow uncurled his hair fast. I had to laugh a lot of times about funny situations, like doing curls with a mobile generator curling iron right in the snow, with the beautiful landscape around us. And with the extreme weather conditions. But it was necessary, because the links between the takes have to be right and fit with the scene. I hope they do, although it had to be done very fast some times, because the weather conditions changed so fast.

ICM: And what did you decide for David and Florian?

Kitty Kratschke: I wanted them to look different, so we bleached David’s hair to make it more blond than Florian’s.

ICM: Thanks to the behind-the-scene-pics and the daily blog written by Calle Gisselnsson we know, that the conditions to shoot in the snow weren’t easy most of the time. Bright light, reflected by the sun, variable weather, etc. How did it affect your job?

Kitty Kratschke: I was on standby all the time for any situation. It was a lot of work, which you probably won’t see in the movie. As the only makeup artist and had to react fast, be everywhere at the same time, respond to the changing weather conditions and don’t waste any shooting time.
We made up David’s wound while walking, because there was no time, due to the changing weather.
Something happened all the time, nature was incalculable, which was nice sometimes – but it also often played a trick on us.
I think we all did a great job under these circumstances.

ICM: Snow and sun are likely to cause tans and sunburns. How did you prevent them?

Kitty Kratschke: Sunscreen with sun protection factor 50!!! We had no problems with sunburns.

ICM: How was it to work with an almost entirely manly cast? Especially when it comes to make-up?

Kitty Kratschke: It wasn’t about the make-up. We wanted to let the actors look real in a historical way and fitting to the weather conditions and circumstances of the roles they are playing. We worked hand in hand and makeup didn’t feel like women’s stuff.
The guys are totally different to work with. With their variations of age, nationality and experience it was interesting to watch them act on set. Despite their dissimilar character, they got along very well and I was really looking forward to seeing “my boys” every morning.

ICM: What was your impression of the shooting days? How was the atmosphere between cast and crew on set?

Kitty Kratschke: Really loving. The shooting in Norway was very special to me and the several difficult conditions made us all grow together as a team.

ICM: Can you tell us something about your favourite scene? Without telling too much?

Kitty Kratschke: My favourite scene is ….hm…well, there are many :)


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