What Are Those Letters on 'The Mummy'? Makeup Artist Talks Transforming Sofia Boutella in the Film

Lizzie Yianni-Georgiou, whose film credits include 'Guardians of the Galaxy' and 'Notting Hill,' gives us the scoop.

An undead monster is coming back to life this week.

The Mummy, set to bow Friday, has Nick Morton (Tom Cruise) finding what he believes is an ancient tomb, but later learns is actually a prison, and awakening an ancient princess, Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella), in the process. As the Mummy, Boutella is covered in an scroll's worth of ancient runic letters from head to toe, a painstaking process that required hours to complete each time, according to makeup artist Lizzie Yianni-Georgiou.

"Her look took about three and a half hours," Yianni-Georgiou, whose film credits include Guardians of the Galaxy and Notting Hill, tells The Hollywood Reporter. And that was an improvement. "When we first developed it, it was five and a half hours of makeup and hair with five people."

The writing on Ahmanet's body comes from the ancient Egyptian funerary text Book of the Dead and "the incantation asking the dead to come and help her," explains the makeup artist of the lines of symbols running from Ahmanet's face down to her legs and feet. Yianni-Georgiou used the MAC Penultimate Eye Liner as a stylus to create the prominent black writing, marks and lines.

For inspiration, the makeup artist studied mummies in museums and followed the backstories included in the script. "I had to take into consideration the stories that [director] Alex Kurtzman and the other guys had written to develop her and bring her to life." (Or undeath, as the case may be.)

Boutella's character doesn't always look so terrifying in the film, however.

"In the beginning, you'll see her as the beautiful pharaoh in blue eyeliner. ... I kind of wanted to give her a look that related to young people today, but still kept true to the ancient Egyptian colors and styling," says Yianni-Georgiou, who used the MAC Chromagraphic Pencil in Hi-Def Cyan and Pro Longwear Fluidline in Siahi. One need not look further than the handful of celebrities — including Emily Ratajkowski at the Met Gala, Michelle Williams at the Cannes Film Festival and Joey King at the Marc Jacobs Daisy fragrance celebration — who have been going bold blue with their eye makeup to know that the look has resonance today.

The under-eye blue liner was complemented with black liner on the top lid and below the blue (MAC Pro Longwear Fluidline in Blacktrack and Kohl Power Eye Pencil in Feline). Yianni-Georgiu set the skin with MAC Pro Longwear Foundation and Mineralize Skinfinish Natural face powder in Medium Tan, along with Mineralize Skinfinish in Gold Deposit for that extra shine and glow.

Yianni-Georgiou added blue color to Ahmanet's fingertips, too, because she "wanted to keep her slightly tribal." The inspiration for that came from Tutankhamun himself, she said. "He had gold fingers and toe covers. So I took that and made blue finger dip to give her a slightly more tribalesque feel and then on her hand, she's got this writing about how she's due to become the queen, which we took from ancient Egyptian to tell that part of the story."

Razor-straight eyebrows ("I felt that gave her that wonderful edge and power," says Yianni-Georgiou) and a rose-colored lip courtesy of MAC Patentpolish Lip Pencil in Go for Girlie and Lip Pencil in Whirl ("I wanted her to look really desirable") completed Ahmanet's beauty look, making her look more alive than ever.