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MASTER AND COMMANDER

Costumes, Hair And Makeup
Costume designer Wendy Stites and her department created over two thousand uniforms for the Surprise officers, enlisted men, sailors and Marines, as well as for the French officers and crew of the Acheron.

Stites incorporated detailed costume notes culled from Patrick O'Brian's novels into the designs. From O'Brian's work and research, she learned that the sailors' outfits of the period had been made of hemp, a fabric that has only made resurgence in the last fifteen years.

Britain's National Maritime Museum was an invaluable resource in research for the uniforms of the period. There, in a climate-controlled room, the filmmakers viewed original captains' clothing, and felt their weight and texture.

Notes and measurements were taken of the details of the epaulets, buttons, fabric and gold braid used in the uniforms, so they could create replicas for the film.

The costume department used fabrics from Pakistan, India, Scotland, Ireland, England and China, and had the officers and midshipmen's costumes made in England. They waited until the last minute to fit the young actors portraying midshipmen, as they were growing every day. By the end of the film many of them had almost grown out of their costumes.

The venerable British textile firm Abimelech Hainsworth, manufacturers of woolen cloth since 1783, provided fabric for the officers' jackets, and the renowned London firm M.B.A. Costumes tailored the officers' uniforms. Kirsti Buckland, a Welsh woman whose family has been knitting seamen's caps since the 1700s, created over 150 "Monmouth" knit hats for the film's sailors from original patterns.

Distressing and maintaining the costumes was a major challenge. "We put the costumes on some of the actors and aged them specifically, according to their line of work on the ship and their personality," says Stites. "We took into account their job aboard ship, how it would affect their clothes, and where it would be worn or torn." Teams of textile experts worked in shifts seven days a week, continually maintaining the aging and weathered look required by the story.

Jack Aubrey's body is a veritable roadmap of scar tissue, and in preparation for a specific scene, Russell Crowe and his makeup artist rigorously researched wounds the captain would have acquired on his adventures leading up to The Far Side of the World.

Key makeup artist Edouard Henriques and his crew researched and designed looks for 26 principal cast members and over 100 background artists. They looked at paintings, and read the O'Brian novels for character descriptions.

Henriques altered the makeup techniques to reflect the characters' exposure to the elements, according to story's various weather extremes. "We designed the makeups with translucent washes, waterproof makeup which we used to add roughness to the faces, and red sunburn lines on their bodies," he says. "We made their noses red as well as the bottoms of their ears. As the journey continued, the characters moved to more brown tones, due to their months at sea."

In addition, the makeup artists added staining and wear to the actors' teeth. For the principals, individual molds of their teeth were made using very thin plastic membrane; they were then painted so the actors could pop them on rather than have their teeth individually painted each day. Makeup artists took care of up to 120 people a day for six months, dirtying their teeth, adding makeup "dirt" to their fingernails<

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