The story of iconic makeup artist Kevyn Aucoin is coming to the big screen.
Actress and former makeup artist Tiffany Bartok will direct the documentary Larger Than Life, The Kevyn Aucoin Story for Vinyl Foote Prods., in association with Matador Content.
Upon reaching the peak of his fame as the most in-demand fashion and celebrity makeup artist in the world, Aucoin died mysteriously in 2002 at the age of 40. Bartok will tell his tragic yet inspiring story with candid interviews from Aucoin’s family and lifelong friends as well as the world’s best-known entertainers and fashion professionals whom he beautified.
“I began my career in film as a makeup artist and I met Kevyn while he was filming an episode of Sex and the City,” says Bartok. “I was a fan and his work greatly inspired my own. As a filmmaker, researching his personal and professional life, I became fascinated by its layers and complexities. And how strongly those around him were affected by the loss of him.”
Cinetic Media is introducing the film, which is now in postproduction, to buyers at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Larger Than Life is set against the backdrop of high fashion and Hollywood’s glamorous 1990s heyday. It will portray Aucoin as a leading force in transforming fashion’s runway beauty culture into a cutthroat, high-stakes international business. Bartok also will retrace Aucoin’s roots — namely his upbringing as the gifted eldest adopted son in a close family of four adopted children raised in rural Louisiana. Aucoin always knew he was gay and, from a young age, realized that makeup artistry was his calling. In his hometown, he was bullied and violently attacked, but he fought back against the discrimination, remaining defiantly open about his sexuality before it was permissible.
“Kevyn was equal parts artist and activist who inspired and challenged all who knew him to use their platforms for greater good,” says Christy Turlington Burns, who is featured in the doc alongside Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Linda Evangelista, Kate Moss, Paulina Porizkova, Amber Valetta and Veronica Webb.
Bartok also will delve into Aucoin’s decision to transition from fashion to Hollywood, where he was a pivotal figure in the rise of the red-carpet industry and also shaped the transformations of iconic performers including Tori Amos, Cher, Janet Jackson, Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Lopez, Sarah Jessica Parker, Gwyneth Paltrow, Winona Ryder, Brooke Shields, Tina Turner and Oprah Winfrey.
The film is also part business story as Aucoin launched a still-flourishing cosmetics line as well as three lavish, instructional makeup books, which all became New York Times best-sellers.
“Kevyn was the most innovative artist of his generation — he practically invented makeup as we know it today,” says Isaac Mizrahi, who also was interviewed by Bartok.
Jayce Bartok, Bronwyn Cosgrave and Troy Surrat are producing. Todd Lubin, Jay Peterson and Jack Turner are executive producers. Anna Gustavi is the film’s editor.