Fantasy Island makeup and hair designer shares what it was like to design the film’s bold looks

Lucy Hale, Austin Stowell and Michael Peña in Columbia Pictures' BLUMHOUSE'S FANTASY ISLAND.
Lucy Hale, Austin Stowell and Michael Peña in Columbia Pictures' BLUMHOUSE'S FANTASY ISLAND. /
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Fantasy Island
Austin Stowell, Portia Doubleday, Lucy Hale, Maggiie Q and Jimmy O. Yang in Columbia Pictures’ BLUMHOUSE’S FANTASY ISLAND. /

We chatted with Susie Glass, the head makeup and hair designer on Blumhouse’s new horror film, Fantasy Island. She gave us the scoop on what it was like designing the character’s many looks.

Fantasy Island is a new Blumhouse horror film based on the 1970s television series of the same name. The movie will focus on a group of travelers who arrive at the mysterious island, which is initially advertised as a paradise. But as the characters become more immersed in the fantasy, they realize there is something seriously amiss.

Lucy Hale, Maggie Q, Ryan Hansen, Portia Doubleday, Michael Pena, and Jimmy O. Yang star.

Please do not read any further unless you’ve seen the movie, there are spoilers below about the making of pivotal scenes in the movie!

We had the chance to chat with the film’s head makeup and hair designer, Susie Glass, about what it was like to work on a film of this nature. They shot on location in Fiji and it wasn’t easy to combat the elements of nature like brutal heat and humidity. Plus, find out which actress had the toughest job of all!

1428 Elm: Did you want to start by talking about how you got involved in working on Fantasy Island?

Susie Glass: I was working on another project in New Zealand and the production designer was talking about Fantasy Island and I reached out because it was a much-beloved show from my childhood. Jeff Wadlow, the fantastic director, contacted me and we started some wonderful conversations about the project last year and after a few Skype interviews, we started the process of me coming on board as the hair and makeup designer.

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1428 Elm: Is the fact this film was taking the original series and making it darker and more twisted something that appealed to you? 

SG: Absolutely. I mean for myself — as the hair and makeup designer — being able to work in those genres, with the beautiful idyllic premise that then quickly becomes dark and bloody, and really taking those characters on a journey, is a favorite of mine.

1428 Elm: How did you guys differentiate between doing the makeup and hair at the beginning when the island was an assumed “paradise” versus when they figure out the truth?

SG: Well, the great thing is that we shot sort of in continuity, so the beginning of our schedule we really were on “fantasy island.” We were up against the climate and environment with the heat, so we had to be mindful of designing, especially the women’s hairstyles.

We had to make sure they were going to work in the heat, and also that we could quickly turn around and dishevel if need be. We were very mindful of not creating anything, design-wise, that we could not facilitate because we knew we were going to be in jungles. They weren’t soundstages, we really were in caves, jungles, mountains, and in the water. We really had to work smart.

Fantasy Island
Michael Peña is Mr. Roarke in Columbia Pictures’ BLUMHOUSE’S FANTASY ISLAND. /

1428 Elm: Where did you guys film?

SG: We shot all around Fiji and were out two weeks living on a ship, which is very remote. There was no accommodation, so we lived together on the ship and filmed on the island throughout the day. We were really living it.

1428 Elm: Did you have a particular look that you’re really proud of or that you can’t wait for people to see?

SG: I think Doctor Torture is pretty cool. The character has his mouth stapled shut which is a little confronting and I designed the makeup around it and our actor was very imposing, he’s about 6’5″. You wouldn’t want to run into Doctor Torture on your own.