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Timothee Chalamet in Dune

It’s not easy having to pick between working with Denis Villeneuve on Dune and Daniel Craig in his last time playing James Bond in No Time to Die. But, that’s exactly the kind of choice veteran makeup artist and key No Time to Die crew member Donald Mowat had to make.

Donald Mowat has been working in the industry as a makeup artist for over thirty years and has worked on prior James Bond movies, like Skyfall and Spectre. He recently spoke with Inside The Film Room about what he’s currently working on and why he left No Time to Die for Dune. Here’s what he had to say:

Well, it was very difficult for me because I left the Bond franchise to do Dune. I made a huge, huge change, and it was very hard for me. I love working with Daniel Craig. I truly mean it. Daniel Craig is about one of the finest-tuned human beings I know, and we have a very nice way of working. My creative, inner makeup guy said Dune, no question. But the other part of me was like Bond, come on. But it was the safe choice. Maybe I’m a bad boy. I’ve never played it safe my whole life. I used to turn down TV because I thought if you’re going to do movies, you can’t do TV. I felt because I had done the two Bonds, and I loved Daniel and [Bond producer] Barbara [Broccoli] and everyone was so good to me. It was a hard choice.

Indeed, that’s an incredibly hard choice, considering Dune and No Time to Die are two of the most hotly anticipated films of the year. However, while the choice was very difficult, it sounds like as time went on the choice became more clear for Donald Mowat. He later added:

I was in London and doing Spider-Man: Far From Home, and every time I opened a newspaper, Bond was delayed. Then Dune gets announced, and you’re like, ‘Oh my god!’ Then everyone is calling me, and I get a call asking if I’m available. I went, ‘Well, maybe I am available.’ Basically, I was put on hold and told that I wasn’t coming to Bond for five months. And I sat there going, ‘Well, I could be doing Dune. I’ve got to do this. I don’t have that many more years left; I’m in my fifties now.’ It was a very tough choice for me. It’s rare you make real friends in this business. I really felt like I was going to disappoint a friend.

When comparing the makeup challenges of Dune versus No Time to Die, I’d bet Dune would be the more challenging movie to work on for a makeup artist. Dune, after all, is a sprawling science-fiction epic based on the groundbreaking novel by Frank Herbert. David Lynch’s Dune absolutely had bizarre makeup for some of its characters, so it wouldn’t be surprising if Denis Villeneuve followed suit.

And, if what Oscar Isaac says is true, Denis Villeneuve’s Dune won’t be a light-hearted, family friendly cinematic experience à la Star Wars, but something nightmarish and brutal. With that in mind, Donald Mowat likely has his work cut out for him.

Dune will be split into two movies and is expected to land on December 18, 2020.

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