Interview: Oscar winner, Lucy Sibbick


From make-up trainee on a TV movie in 2006, to Oscar winner in 2018, is an impressive career trajectory.

Prosthetic specialist Lucy Sibbick took home the gold statuette this year for her extraordinary work on Darkest Hour, transforming Gary Oldman into Winston Churchill.

With the release of the home entertainment versions of the film, Lucy took some time out from the make-up van to chat to Glam.

Sibbick told us that she began her career studying painting at art school, but took make-up classes in the evenings, eventually specialising in prosthetics.

Much of the initial design work was done by Kazuhiro Tsuji in Los Angeles. However, as Sibbick says, the design process last the whole film, as adjustments are made, hair-styles for the character change, and so forth. 

With an impressive CV which includes such diverse projects as Game of Thrones, Holby City and Hercules, we wondered what her most difficult job was.

To be honest, it was probably this one! We had a small shooting crew of just myself and David [Malinowski] and the pieces were coming in from Spain daily, so David had to quality control that and to paint them every day. And they were coming in in dribbles so he couldn’t do big paint jobs in batches. We had five pieces that we had to put on every day. But it was just mainly me on the set. It’s very stressful when you’re doing the hair AND the makeup and they’re shooting so close up on a character. And by the end of the day, it’s been on [Gary Oldman] for ten or eleven hours!

The process of preparing an actor with this type of make-up meant that Sibbick had to set her alarm for as early as 1.30 am. She and Malinowski had an hour’s prep time and then spent three hours with Oldman every morning, getting him made up.

Gary then had to get his feet and costume on, and then come back for a final tweak: so his process really took four hours every day. We tried to have a good time, and have fun, so that time seemed shorter.

So what does she think made this work Oscar worthy?

I think we all came together- myself, David and Kazi-and we were a really good team. We all did quite different roles on the job. Also getting in so close to a character, with very little clean-up in post-production: what you see on the screen is largely what we did. [The make-up team] and Gary just cared so much about the make-up that we got it right between the four of us. And the pieces being so soft, made it move naturally on Gary’s face so that it looked like him.

Sibbick is currently working on the final series of Game of Thrones, after which she is open to offers.

I’d love to do a creature job like Star Wars or Jurassic Park…something like that would be really cool!

Whatever her next project, we doubt Ms Sibbick will be able to take a holiday any time soon.


 Darkest Hour releases on DVD and Blu-Ray on April 18th.


About Author

Tracey Korsten is a freelance writer, poet, speaker and performer, based in Adelaide. She blogs at middleagedlove.

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