Has anyone made these in the past? I am wondering how to achieve the proper grin. Do you need to sculpt it on a grinning faced lifecast? If so, where could I get something like that? Here is the reference I have
I've been looking to do this guy proper for the last 20 odd years now, and through lots of research of my own, if you want to achieve it the way they did it, you'll need a life case of your own face smiling. The overall prosthetic is composed of six pieces: the nose extension, the chin, two cheeks, and two mouth corners. They were sculpted and casted individually from molds and ran in foam latex. Because Nicholson is allergic to spirit gum, I believe they used a medical adhesive to stick it to his face.
The make up itself is something called PAX paint; it's a 50/50 mix of acrylic paint and pros-aide adhesive. This combo makes it flexible without cracking and lasts long enough to shoot with. The contrast/shadow areas are done with gun-metal gray powder and I believe some blue and reds above the eyes. The make up was then sealed and talc'ed so it wouldn't smear or stick if they needed to put the flesh tones over it (which was an oil based make-up stippled on top of his regular white make-up and he couldn't touch it once it was applied). To get it to run or rub off in-camera, the rag used to wipe his forehead was soaked in isopropyl alcohol and, most likely, a watered down jug of it was used to get it to run and smear when Vicki throws a jug of water on him in the museum scene (editing helped with the final look of it, I'm sure).
For the rest of the costume, you can source bits and bobs of it from many places. I have a pattern for vintage dress (evening tails and pants) that I used to make the pants. I have patterns for the pants and ties through my Spoonflower shop here, if you want to give it a go. Indy Magnoli is the only person I know that offers the rest; shoes, waistcoat (of which I want to make accurate button closures for, in the near future) but get it with a purple satin back, if you're striving for accuracy; gloves, and I'm sure you can custom order the shirt. The suspenders, though briefly seen, is turquoise with a purple stripe running vertically. I asked Indy if he could make it for me but he recommended that it'd be cheaper to get a turquoise suspender and some purple fabric markers and do it yourself; I would recommend the same.
Wow! Thanks for the all the info. I am just sculpting and casting the prosthetics. The client will be applying and painting them along with building however accurate of costume he intends to have. I did some searching for grinning lifecast and found this: http://www.ebay.com/itm/JACK-NICHOL...999?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3a9f69a4df
I had not idea there were places that sold celebrity lifecasts and at pretty low prices. I may buy this to sculpt the prosthetics as accurate as possible. My only concern is that Nicholson's grin lines (I don't know the proper anatomical or industry term) are very pronounced and might not match up to the clients face. I want my prosthetics to be as accurate as possible while being able to work on a generic face.
That's the thing. Despite you knowing that it's make-up in the film, at least it was made it to fit in with the "lines" of Nicholson's face. If you're doing this for someone else, you should try and get a life cast of them smiling to make it fit them. Otherwise, you may end up with pieces that are either too loose or too small for the person's who's wearing it; giving a wonky look when applied.