How Hair and Makeup Artists for 'Mank' and 'United States vs. Billie Holiday' Re-created Vintage Looks

Amanda Seyfried as Marion Davies in Mank and Andra Day in The United States vs. Billie Holiday.
Courtesy of Netflix; Paramount Pictures

Amanda Seyfried as Marion Davies in 'Mank' and Andra Day in
The United States vs. Billie Holiday.'

The pros brought two 1940s figures back to the screen in these period dramas.

Mank
Amanda Seyfried as Marion Davies

Seyfried wore platinum bobbed wigs while makeup department head Gigi Williams applied makeup "somewhere between [Davies’] on-camera looks and our idea of her off-camera look."

Adds assistant makeup department head Michelle Audrina Kim, "Working in black-and-white, it was key for us to shift our perspective of doing makeup; from picking products and colors not necessarily based on the color/hue, but on tonal value."

Williams notes that for the director’s 1940-set film, David Fincher "didn’t want [her eyebrows] to be as skinny as the style was in that period … To create the same feel of thin brows we elongated her brows out to almost the outside corner of her eye and rounded it almost to a half-moon shape. The perfect combination of customized eyelashes really made her eyes rounder and pop like a Hollywood movie star."

The United States vs. Billie Holiday
Andra Day as Billie Holiday

"Special attention to detail of the '40s and '50s was given to Andra and all principal females—eyebrow shapes, fingernails shapes and colors as well as lip colors," says makeup department head Laini Thompson.

"I made sure none of the other females duplicated Andra’s lip and nail colors — I wanted everything about Andra’s look to stand out and stand alone. Billie’s iconic nail design had a white V-shaped motif in the middle, it was unique and ahead of her time. Billie was also very particular about her lips, making sure they were always perfectly lined. I must have touched up Andra’s lips at the end of every take."

This story first appeared in the Feb. 3 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.