This article was last updated on April 16, 2022
Even before film buffs could pack up their skis and parkas at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, critics were already buzzing about Sorry To Bother You. Starring Atlanta ‘s Lakeith Stanfield, Westworld ‘s Tessa Thompson, and Call Me By Your Name star Armie Hammer, the social commentary film debut from director Boots Riley is set to be the indie hit this summer.
If you’ve read any early reviews, you already know that this isn’t your average film. The independently made film only took six weeks to shoot, but there’s much more than meets the eye. It’s visually arresting, smart, and features an eclectic range of characters sporting truly unique costumes. From colorful hair to fluorescent makeup, no detail was spared. To find out more, we asked the film’s makeup department head, Kirsten Coleman, for all the details.
Coleman confirms that Riley’s particular eye for detail to character descriptions is something you rarely see in this industry — at least when it comes to his willingness for both Coleman and the actors to collaborate on ideas, especially for the protagonists Cassius Green (Stanfield), his girlfriend Detroit (Thompson), and sarong-wearing antagonist, Steve Lift (Hammer).
“I got to fill in the blanks,” Coleman exclusively tells us. “He trusted my opinion, which doesn’t always happen with directors. For characters who can be outlandish and different, it was a lot of fun. The actors were excited because they likely haven’t had the opportunity to play these characters in their careers, so they were willing to take risks and push the limits.”
And push the limits they did. From Thompson’s rainbow hair to Hammer’s multi-colored eyes, Coleman spilled almost every secret you need to know before seeing Sorry To Bother You this summer, ahead.
A Lot Of The Looks Were Improvised
Similar to how Thompson and Antoinette Yoka, head of the film’s hair department, created the technicolor dip-dyed ends we now recognize as Detroit’s signature look, Coleman and the actress did the same for her makeup. After creating and combining Pinterest boards for inspiration, the two landed on a look that would embrace the essence of Afropunk style. What’s more, it would be decided on the fly. With almost 15 different looks in the whole film, Coleman and Thompson had nothing more than one day of makeup testing with little time to prep for the entire filming schedule. That said, almost every look was improvised based on how Thompson felt Detroit might feel on any given day.
Coleman says that for a lot of the looks, the stars aligned. For example, at one point Coleman was without her full makeup trailer, being transported back and forth from the set now stationed somewhere on a hill in Oakland. In a hurry to create an impressive look for Detroit, she dug in her back-up bag and pulled out whatever she could find. “I had a blue lipstick