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Make Up & Costumes

Five-time Academy Award® winner Rick Baker started working on his make-up designs for the Grinch in December 1998 with the input of Jim Carrey and Ron Howard. Baker and his company Cinovation Studios created 125 character make-ups for the movie.

During the scenes in the town square of Whoville, Baker and a staff of as many as 60 make-up artists applied as many as 110 make-ups daily. Made of rubber, the appliances (rubber pieces glued to the actor's face) can only be used for one day, so, at the end of production, 8,000 facial appliances and 3,500 ears were used. In addition, 300 wigs and 150 facial hairpieces were created by Cinovation and key hairstylist Gail Ryan.

Howard, Grazer and Baker were somewhat perplexed when they embarked upon the movie since Seuss' drawings were so simple yet exaggerated. Despite having 44 books in print (the first in 1937), no one had ever attempted a live action rendering of a Seuss book. Were the Whos monsters, animals or bugs? And of course, the issue of what the Grinch should look like and how to construct an appliance for Jim Carrey's very elastic face and a suit that withstands his unique physical comedy. "For me, the most important aspect to the Grinch's appearance was that it look authentic and be in the spirit of the book," says Carrey.

"I started out making some of the Who test make- ups a little too scary," says Baker. "Ron wanted me to hold back and make them more human so that people can relate to them and know that they have a heart. It took some time to get the balance between Seuss-like and human-like for the Whos."

For Grazer, the blend that Baker concocted hit the right note. "The Whos were different in that they looked like they were from a different world and that this world was governed by a different sensibility and their own philosophy. But at the same time they were human enough and cute enough to satisfy my aesthetic."

In December 1998, Baker first began experimenting with his designs for the Grinch. He started by doing a version of the make-up on himself, which he showed to Howard and Grazer. During the spring and summer of 1999, Baker had Jim Carrey sporadically as he was working back to back on Man on The Moon and Me, Myself and Irene. The design for the Grinch went through numerous incarnations and ironically ended up with basically what Baker first designed on himself in 1998.

"It was a lengthy process of elimination," says Carrey. "We went so far as to try just painting my face but I ended up looking like someone from the cast of Cats."

It works so well on Jim because he can really move his face around and he's not afraid to exaggerate the expressions to make them come through all that rubber," says Baker. "I knew where to make the rubber a little thinner, so that Jim could get the maximum expression."

Baker also created the Grinch's "hair" suit, which consists of individual yak hairs (dyed Grinch green) sewn on to a lycra spandex suit. Each hair was individually sewn on and tied twice, so to make a suit from scratch required four months time.

With the combination of the make-up (he couldn't breathe through his nose), contact lenses, false teeth and the suit, "it was like being buried alive on a daily basis," recalls Carrey. "I was really miserable but the minute Ron said "action" I lost all sense of discomfort."

The process took three hours every morning for Carrey. "I was always a little late each day because I really had to psyche myself up to get into the make up trailer."

Carrey kept telling Howard he should see what it was like for him, so one day Howard arrived<

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