Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Screenshot: Sharp Objects (HBO)

Despite exploring some ugly, violent material, HBO’s Sharp Objects is damn beautiful to look at. Director Jean-Marc Vallée gives the series an elegant, sun-baked visual palette, and the settings are rich with character and detail. That, too, goes for star Amy Adams’ body, which, due to the numerous words she’s carved into her own skin, has provided some of the show’s most striking images. And, like everything else on the show, those intricate carvings were designed with the utmost care and consideration.

One of the most stunning takeaways from Vulture’s new chat with the show’s makeup effects department head Adrien Morot and Adams’ makeup artist Kate Biscoe was that each of the 350(!) words on her body was done in approximations of Adams’ own handwriting. They even took into consideration “an amount of distortion in her writing” to reflect the difficulty of carving words into her back while looking into a mirror, as well as the myriad instruments used to make these cuts, from knives, to needles to razors. That...sounds really hard.


Also hard? The application and removal of the makeup. To preserve the look of the makeup, Adams had to spend hours filming a bathing scene in cold water, as the steam would impact the scars. The application and removal, meanwhile, was time-consuming, in addition to being an irritant to the skin.

As the piece notes:

In general, however, the adhesive is “very tenacious” and difficult to remove. After shooting, Adams would come back to makeup to get the scars taken off, which meant up more time steaming off the adhesive with hot towels, makeup remover, and soap, making sure not to scrub too hard to irritate her skin. “We got her really, really good skin care so that her skin would be in tip-top shape for recovery and be ready to put the words on the next day,” Biscoe said.

She also apparently chugged 20 O’Doul’s non-alcoholic beers per day in order to make her body better match the character. That is some serious commitment.

Read the full interview here.


Randall Colburn is The A.V. Club's Internet Culture Editor. He lives in Chicago, occasionally writes plays, and was a talking head in Best Worst Movie, the documentary about Troll 2.

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