As part of Paramount+’s “The Offer,” makeup designer Katy Fray had to recreate looks from “The Godfather.” That meant transforming Justin Chambers and Giovanni Ribisi into Marlon Brando and Joe Colombo, respectively.
Ribisi gained 30 pounds to play the part of crime boss Colombo. In addition to a few prosthetic pieces, Fray took to shaving back his hair to create a receding bald comb-over. He then added a little hairpiece to the top of his head to create a thinning look.
Fray says she and Ribisi “had to convince” director Dexter Fletcher that it was the right move. “Once it’s been taken off, it’s gone,” she says.
Brylcreem was her go-to hair product to keep the hair in place, and makeup for him was minimal.
On the other hand, the most daunting challenge was transforming Chambers into Brando’s Don Vito Corleone. Fray began by researching the work of Dick Smith, whose credits include “The Exorcist, “Taxi Driver” and “The Godfather.” Then she tried his techniques on Chambers. She began by taking impressions of Chambers’ mouth. “We recreated a jawline by pulling it down with dental plumpers so his jaw would hang low,”
Fray says, noting that the plumpers with the mouthcast would help structure the actor’s mouth to look exactly like Brando’s Corleone. After incorporating some of Smith’s techniques, Fray turned to newer products and technology by adding in silicone and thin pieces to enhance the wrinkles. Her goal was to transform Chambers within an hour — and prep was the key to achieving hitting that mark.
“We don’t have as much time on TV as we do on movies, so it was about getting everything prepped, so we did enough fittings beforehand,” she says. “Once he was in the chair, we could go through and do the full prosthetic makeup with shading and aging and the hair.”
Similarly, production designer Laurence Bennett had to recreate sets among the famous Beverly Hills Polo Lounge. Since it was featured frequently, Bennett built the iconic setting on a stage.
“We had greater control and flexibility in staging, lighting, and camera movement,” Bennett says. “We researched style changes in the lounge over the decades, and while staying close to its ‘modern’ look from the ’70s, what we assembled is a pastiche of distinctive features and finishes.”
The iconic Beverly Hills pink stucco of the exterior in the patio garden area contrasts with the deep “clubby” green of the dining room walls, accented by white columns and features, and the rich wood bar and paneling of the entrance were all recreated — right down to its rich green walls and dramatic sweeping white soffit ceiling