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
Lucy Hale stars in Columbia Pictures’ BLUMHOUSE’S FANTASY ISLAND. /

1428 Elm: What about like Lucy Hale or Maggie Q what kind of looks did you guys want to design for them?

SG: The great thing about Fantasy Island is that all the characters have a different story. Maggie Q’s character, in the beginning, is quite a gentle kind of woman who has seen some sadness. As her story unfolds and she finds a long lost love and finds out she’s actually had a daughter, she gets to live the life she’s always wanted for a minute. But then the fire happens and she relives her backstory and there’s a lot of terror there. She sort of unravels.

Lucy’s character is quite amazing she is the mastermind behind it all and she is the reason that these people are on the island, which you don’t find out until much later. She’s the puppeteer. She’s this really gorgeous young woman and you think she’s been the terrible victim of bullying and she confronts her bully, or what she thinks is the bully, but then she realizes it’s not a hologram, it’s a real person actually strapped to a torture chair about to be tortured.

But it becomes apparent that she’s actually driving the whole film, shes puppeteering it all. It’s very dark, which is, you know, obviously things happen to her, but she’s not as messed up as the rest of them because she’s quietly pointing them all down the rabbit holes. It’s a nice little twist for Lucy.

1428 Elm: You mentioned that you guys were shooting in the heat a lot, what kind of products did you use to make sure the makeup wasn’t melting or running?

SG: We start all clean and beautiful, but it was still 40 degrees [104 degrees in Fahrenheit] outside and not much cooler inside. I used and loved the Christian Dior face and body range. It’s sweatproof and waterproof. It really did live up to its recommendation. I put Portia [Doubleday], she was always in the water and being dumped in the water, and I could keep working with it.

Maggie is a vegan and a wonderful animal rights activist so we used a different range on her. We kept away from anything too oily or greasy. We kept it water-based and very natural. We found a wonderful range that had waterproof blood and waterproof scabs, so we did our due diligence finding things that could stand up to the humidity, that we could work with and repair quickly as well.

We didn’t want to use something we couldn’t turn around and repair if need be, so finding the best glues, the best blood, the best beauty makeup product,s and lipsticks that wouldnt melt was key. We used a lot of Jeffree Star looks for Maggie, which is another wonderful vegan range.

Fantasy Island
Portia Doubleday and Lucy Hale star in Columbia Pictures’ BLUMHOUSE’S FANTASY ISLAND. /

1428 Elm: And sort of the opposite of that question, you mentioned that Portia’s character is in the water a lot, did you have moments you had to intentionally mess up their makeup so it would look more realistic?

SG: Oh yeah, she’s a hot mess. Portia’s character becomes a real hot mess pretty quickly (I mean that with love)!  Her character goes through the most. At the beginning of the movie, she gets kidnapped so she doesn’t arrive at the “fantasy” part of the island.

She is kidnapped and put in this torture chamber and even when Lucy sees her for the first time she’s pretty banged up. She has wounds right from the start. After the chamber where she is dumped with buckets of water all over, she has scars on her face and blood and bruises and she’s tied down.

Portia was amazing. We shot the water torture chamber stuff for three very long days for her and she was soaking wet through all of it and she almost had Stockholm syndrome at the end. She was so exhausted, she didn’t even want to be untied by the time we were done. She was like, “just leave me here.”

1428 Elm: Awe, yeah I can imagine that would be hard to do for such a long period of time!

SG: Exactly, and it wasn’t on a soundstage. This was a pretty dirty old factory in Fiji, there was no comfort. We compared it to being on Survivor sometimes.

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1428 Elm: Wow, well it sounds like the movie is going to be great! Thank you much for chatting with me. I can’t wait to see it, and I know others are really excited to see it as well!

SG: Thank you for talking with me and I hope when you watch Portia getting tortured by the monsoon buckets it’ll all make sense!

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Fantasy Island is now playing in theaters.