The High Evolutionary is a problematic guy.
From his use of corporate loopholes to skirt intergalactic regulations against doing eugenics on carrot people to his interest in child trafficking and his belief that he is the closest thing the universe has to God, Chukwudi Iwuji’s new Marvel villain has quite a few flaws. When you factor in all of the bad stuff he does in “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3,” his disturbing face probably doesn’t crack the top 10 worst things about him.
Still… his face is really bizarre. The character — whose obsession with performing strange body modifications would put him right at home in a David Cronenberg movie — has a head made of machinery with a thin layer of human skin stretched over the front of it.
If the character’s goal was to convince his supervillain friends that he’s human, it’s less convincing than a toupee with a chinstrap. But as a work of special effects makeup, it’s absolutely brilliant. Iwuji sat down with IndieWire to explain the painstaking process that the makeup team used to give him the perfect face for a cyborg psychopath.
“The first day I put that on it took about two hours, but after a couple weeks it was down to 70 minutes,” Iwuji said. “It was prosthetics blended into my skin. They had two pieces of prosthetics, one that went up here for the head part and one that went up here for the chin part.”
Iwuji explained that the makeup team’s creative techniques ensured that his mobility and expressiveness weren’t hindered.
“They made it seem like you didn’t know where my skin stopped and the prosthetics started so it just all blended in. So there was no discomfort in wearing it and I was able to use my face normally,” he said before heaping praise on his team’s willingness to keep updating their process. “It was all about getting the right material that would move with my skin so when I acted it didn’t get too hot or too stiff. They were brilliant. They really were researching it the whole shoot.”
Co-star Will Poulter had a slightly easier time turning into into the franchise’s other new baddie, the extremely gold nepo baby Adam Warlock. The son of the villainous Ayesha (played by Elizabeth Debicki, who Poulter graciously pointed out looks far too young to play his actual mother), Warlock is a glittery mess of nefariousness and insecurity.
The actor told IndieWire that his makeup process saw his team applying many layers of gold face paint to him each morning.
“It was just a gold dunk tank, and they’d just wait for me to dry by leaving me out in the sun,” Poulter joked. “It was a paint and a spray, rollers, they did it all. … It was a slightly longer process because there’s many layers of that gold. You can roll a turd in glitter, is the point I’m trying to make.”
A Walt Disney release, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” hits theaters on Friday, May 5.