THE MAN IN THE IRON MASK
About The Mask
Together with Director Randall Wallace, three
other men were responsible for the final look of the iron mask:
Makeup Supervisor Giannetto de Rossi, Leonardo DiCaprio and Luigi
Sebastiani del Grande, the artist who actually made it.
de Rossi recalls the sometimes-turbulent process
which took him to the final product: "I saw only one mask
from a previous movie in 1934-35, and it was terrible because
it had the influence of Metropolis. We all wanted something unique.
Randall tried to explain what he saw in his mind, but sometimes
it is difficult to express these images in words. We did two or
three sculptures, two or three molds and it kept changing and
evolving. Then we tried to fit it on Leonardo and thank God, he
was so professional that he wanted to really feel the tightness
of the mask. So for me, it was magnificent, because I could make
it smaller and smaller and in the end, I think we achieved something
very interesting because this mask has a particular look."
de Rossi adds that "the final product
is a creature of different fathers. Of course, I was responsible
to sculpt it, so the mask is my daughter, but Randall is the godfather.
For the proportions, Leonardo is another godfather. Without him
suffering inside the mask, I could never make it this tight and
when, you see it on the screen, in the final scene, when he's
walking behind the Musketeers, you see this tiny head compressed
inside this mask. It's quite impressive and it's thanks to him.
Then of course, I added some rust to it and then the lock at the
The ultimate goal was to give the mask a personality
of its own, something, which de Rossi is confident was achieved:
"The mask in this movie is one character. I'm very happy
because this mask with Leonardo's eyes in it can compete at the
same level than any other member of the cast."
Leonardo DiCaprio gave the mask life and describes
what it feels like to inhabit and how it defined the character
of Philippe: "It definitely gets claustrophobic, and, within
ten minutes of being in there, I can almost bash my head against
the wall with frustration. It must become like part of your own
body after a while. I wore it around for a while and got used
to it; it becomes a part of you and you have to fight all the
urges you have to scratch your face off.
"I came to this project thinking that
this guy would be mentally disabled from being in this mask for
so long. The thing I found that was interesting when I talked
to Randy about it is that he saw Philippe as a Nelson Mandela
figure, who was trapped in a place for so long and did only good
while he was enclosed by himself. Mandela came out and ended up
ruling his country. The mind must take over the body and he's
able to control himself and not completely lose it, which I found
very interesting and which I didn't expect."
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