Saturday, March 1, 2014

If there is an idea you have, test it, try it out and practice, it will happen: Adruitha Lee

Oscar winner (2014) Adruitha has done hairstyling of movies like "Dallas Buyers Club", "12 Years A Slave", "The Artist" & "A Mighty Heart"

Matthew McConaughey in a still from Dallas Buyers Club.
On Monday morning, March 3, 2014 Indian time, she’ll be in competition with Stephen Prouty of “Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa” and Joel Harlow, Gloria Pasqua-Casny of “The Lone Ranger” for winning the 86th Academy Award statuette in Best Makeup and Hairstyling. For her great work in “Dallas Buyers Club”, she’s been nominated with Robin Mathews (And, yes they are the winners!!!). Though she’s not nominated for “12 Years a Slave” which was her other best work in 2013, the film has received 9 nominations, highest after “Gravity” and “American Hustle” both receiving 10 each. We’re talking about Adruitha Lee. The very talented, experienced and hard working hair stylist is not new to quality work and Hollywood biggies. When Michel Hazanavicius was making “The Artist”, it was Adruitha who he entrusted with the Hairstyling of the 1927 silent era movie. Not to mention the Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo starrer got 10 Oscar nominations in 2012, winning five of them.

Adruitha grew up in South America. Initially she worked in a salon as a hairdresser. Few years after completing her training she opened her own salon, then a second one in Nashville, Tennessee. There she began working with country music stars on music videos and live performances. She later moved to Los Angeles to fulfil her dream in the movie business. Her work was soon seen on television shows such as “Medium” and “Lizzie McGuire.”

Adruitha Lee
For more than 10 years she’s been working in Hollywood. She has been the hair department head on “Salt”, “Evan Almighty”, “The Good Shepherd”, “Friends with Benefits”, “A Mighty Heart”, “Role Models”, “Killing Them Softly”, “Spring Breakers”, “12 Years a Slave”, “Hannah Montana: The Movie”, “Scary Movie 5”, “Dallas Buyers Club” and few more. Many of them have been wonderful films. Including director Jean-Marc Vallée’s “Dallas Buyers Club,” a 1985 story of Ron Woodroof (Matthew McConaughey), a homophobic electrician in Texas who discovers he has AIDS and he starts doing something unexpected.

I got to get some answers from Adruitha regarding the Oscar nomination and her experience. It might be useful for some filmmaking aspirants. Read on:

How do you react to the Academy nomination for “Dallas Buyers Club”?
I’m just over the moon. When I first heard that I got the nomination I couldn’t believe it. And I was like wow! I was just doing my job, and then I get a nomination for an Oscar; I believe it hasn’t even sunk in yet, because I’ve been in Puerto Rico, working.

What will you say about the work of fellow nominees (Stephen Prouty for “Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa”, Joel Harlow and Gloria Casny for “The Lone Ranger”)? Who should win?
I just met Steve Prouty for the first time during the nomination process. What a nice person he is and what a fabulous job he did of making Johnny Knoxville look like a 86 year old man. I thought he did a great job. But well at the end in my opinion, I think that I should win [laughs].

Elaborate the process and planning of transforming the characters of “Dallas Buyers Club”, esp. Matthew McConaughey's and Jared Leto's? Did you really shave Leto's head in the process?
Umm, with Matthew we did everything we could. I pulled research pictures for Ron’s character and bought it to the production office and I had everything with me that I needed to change Matthew’s hair, change the cut, the color, the texture and everything to make it look the way I wanted it to for that period and to make it look like the real life Ron’s character. With Jennifer, we tried on different wigs, different things and then came up with the look that we needed for her to be a doctor, not to take her over the top but to give her the look that director Jean-Marc wanted. And with Rayon we tried on several wigs and went through several things, because Rayon's character was most specific to the film and Jean-Marc wanted it in a specific way. And, I did not shave his head he just had his face waxed.
Director Steve McQueen talking to actors in 12 Years a Slave.
Can you talk a little bit about “12 Years a Slave”?
Yes. When I found out that I got the project I was so excited to meet the director (Steve McQueen). There were all these mannequins in different hair-styles I had done. I put them in a basket and took it to his office and said, “Okay! This is what I can do.” He just looked at me and said, “Well, okay.” Prepping for this film was really-really difficult because of the subject matter. When I went into the research facility to research that time period, there were not a lot of pictures. The costume designer and the production designer there helped me with the research and it was just something that I’ll never forget. It was a great experience! “12 Years a Slave” was a labor of love. It was shot unpretentiously in the summer; it was a project that I wanted to do for a very long time, a hard project though. But it was something that I really enjoyed doing and was thrilled to be working with Steve McQueen, and to be able to help him with his vision on this movie.

Whenever you get a project, what is your start-to-finish process? If some Indian cinema aspirants are keen to learn the art, what should they do?
The process generally starts with reading the script, and understanding each character. Then we get into research for the characters, the time period and their background post which are the trials in sync with the make-up, texturing the hair, coloring the hair and finally deciding on the right look for that film. Well, Oh my god! Research, Research, Research; if there is an idea you have, test it, try it out and practice. If there is a thing that you want to do, you just practice and try to figure it out on your own. It’s amazing, you know to discover the things that you think you cannot do, but if you just put your mind through it you can figure things out but just a lot of testing, a lot of practicing and a lot of research!

Have you been to India? What do you think about the work here?
I have actually worked in India. I did a film in India with Angelina Jolie called “A Mighty Heart!” I have seen some Bollywood films, I don’t remember the names. We worked with several actors and production people who showed us some films which I completely loved. We just saw a lot of stuff, and I loved them. And the work back in India, I love it, I think the make-up, the hair, the costumes are absolutely fantastic! I am Impressed.

You have done some really good movies, “Dallas Buyers Club”, “12 Years a Slave”, “The Artist”, “A Mighty Heart” and “Killing Them Softly”. What was the learning you had since your childhood and after entering into Hollywood that made you such a great hair stylist?
Ah, you know you have the time constraint, because you’ve got to finish your work in a certain amount of time. You have to please the director. You’ve got to see the live situation, make sure everything looks good in the lighting. And of course you have to please your actor. There are so many people that need to be happy with what you’ve done. You just have to do a good job. You’ve got to give it everything you’ve got. You’ve got to know how to be the best at what you can be, because there are so many things you need to be aware of. Yeah, it’s tough. Oh my god, learning how to accept things, things that can’t change. You’ve just got to accept them along the way. And then you know learning that you’ve got to aim high, and make sure you make it. Don’t be satisfied, don’t be complacent and be happy at what you’re at. Always try to achieve and be better.
Irfaan Khan and Anjelina Jolie in a still of A Mighty Heart.
You've done the hair of Angelina Jolie in both “Salt” and in “A Might Heart”. What challenge did you face when one was a Hollywood commercial and the other an Independent film (by Michael Winterbottom)?
Yes, I worked with Angie. She’s wonderful. She’s one of the nicest actresses I’ve worked with. I really adore her. She lets you do things. So beautiful anyway that it’s just a pleasure to get to do her hair. She likes to try different things, and just a really nice lady. She raises the bar for you as far as we do something on her and with her. She has her own ideas about things and you try to facilitate that and she’s easy to work with. Yes, like you said, Indie movies are so much different. They have their challenges, and “A Mighty Heart” certainly did. And when I came to work with her on “Salt”, it was a big production. What you have when you have big film like that is, you have more time. So therefore you don’t have to work that fast. Indie film has its challenges and big films have theirs, that’s the thing.

You do comedies like “Evan Almighty” and “Scary Movie-5” which are less serious in tone and theme. Then there are serious films like “Dallas Buyers Club”, “12 Years a Slave” and “The Artist” in their presentation and making. How do you choose and do you deal differently then?
I love comedies. After I had done “12 Years a Slave” I did “Scary Movie 5” cause it was really emotional and I needed something funny. And right after “Scary Movie 5” I picked “Dallas Buyers Club”, back to serious again. It’s better to have a funny movie in between two serious ones. Emotionally you don’t get wrapped up in a funny movie, and it doesn’t drain you at the end of the day. That’s how it’s different.

Jared Leto as transgender woman Rayon and Matthew as Ron Woodroof, in a still from Dallas Buyers Club.

एड्रयूइथा ली जानी-मानी अमेरिकी हेयरस्टाइलिस्ट हैं। इस बार 86वें ऑस्कर पुरस्कारों की बेस्ट मेकअप और हेयरस्टाइलिंग श्रेणी में फ़िल्म “डलास बायर्स क्लब” के लिए उन्हें और रॉबिन मैथ्यूज को नामांकित किया गया है। 3 मार्च को संभवतः वे जीतेंगी, हालांकि “किकएस प्रजेंट्सः बैड ग्रैंडपा” के जीतने की गुंजाइश ज्यादा है। वे न भी जीतें तो उनका काम अपनी कहानी कहता है (अंततः वे जीत गई हैं)। 2013 की बहुत सार्थक फिल्म “12 ईयर्स अ स्लेव” का भी वे हिस्सा रहीं। फिल्म 9 श्रेणियों में नामांकित हुई है। एड्रयूथा ने कई बेहतरीन फिल्मों के केश विभाग का जिम्मा संभाला है। “सॉल्ट”, “अ माइटी हार्ट”, “इवान ऑलमाइटी”, “किलिंग देम सॉफ्टली”, “स्प्रिंग ब्रेकर्स”, “फ्रेंड्स विद बैनिफिट्स”, “स्कैरी मूवी 5” और “द आर्टिस्ट” जैसी कई फिल्में इसी श्रंखला में आती हैं।
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