By Rodney Appleyard
In the past, Cristina Ceret has created amazing contact lenses for some of Hollywood’s most famous actors, such as Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom and she most recently applied her talents to a number of actors who performed in Hellboy II: The Golden Army.
Previously, the special effects contacts lens coordinator from Professional VisionCare Associates has worked on a number of big movies, such as of Pirates of the Caribbean films, Spider-Man 3, Underworld: Evolution, King Kong and The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
She spoke to Smoke & Mirrors recently about her amazing experience on the set of the latest Hellboy adventure.
SM: How did you get involved with Hellboy II?
CC: Spectral Motion called me.
SM: What was your brief?
CC: Make it look good!
SM: Which characters did you make the lenses for?
CC:Just the principles and some main characters for Spectral Motion. All the others, and background lenses were made in England. Here is a list of people I made lenses for:
Ron Perlman: “Hellboy”
Luke Goss: “Prince Nuada”
Anna Walton: “Princess Nuala”
Doug Jones: “The Wizard” (Never used)
John Alexander: “Bethmoora Goblin”
Roy Dotrice: “King Balor”
Jan Patrina: “Stunt dbl: Hellboy”
Max White: “Stunt dbl: Hellboy”
Bin Xia: “Stunt Dbl. Prince Nuada”
Xiang Gao: “Stunt dbl. Prince Nuada”
Damian Walters: “Stunt dbl. Prince Nuada
SM: How much more challenging was this project than any one you have worked on before?
CC: One challenge involved duplicating Hellboy’s lenses that Kazu Tsuji painted for the first Hellboy movie. The original lenses didn’t exist any more and there weren’t any good close-up photos of the eyes. I painted a couple, and luckily Guillermo del Toro was in LA visiting Spectral, so he was able to see some of the lenses and give direction on were I needed to go with the color and such.
SM: How did you overcome the challenges to meet expectations?
CC: I kept painting until I got it right… A few of the character’s lenses changed once or twice but Anna’s changed the most. At first her lenses stood out too much, they were to yellow. My impression was GDT wanted to keep them soft and feminine like her make-up, but still read as otherworldly eyes.
Trying to do this from another country was rather difficult. I would paint a set, send them to Budapest, Jessica our tech would put them in, and then I would wait to hear if GTD liked them or changes that had to be made. In the end, on film, her lenses are the ones I saw the most. That was kind of nice.
SM: Do you think you provided something that was better than people expected?
CC: I don’t know if it was better. I always give my best, no matter how big or how small the film or actor. Everyone seemed to be please on the over all look, That’s all I can hope for.
SM: What is so special about the lenses that you made?
CC: Nothing really, just that I got to make them for Hellboy is special to me. I’m a big comic book buff. I’ve collected them since I was a kid. So any comic book turned movie I get to work on is a blessing. Hellboy is such a cool character; I just feel very luck to have been a part of it.
SM: Were any of your lenses mixed with digital shots?
CC: As far as I know, only once. At one point Luke Goss was having problems with his eyes, allergies. He had to keep his lenses out for a few days. They went in with CG to duplicate the lenses. It’s very quick and you don’t notice it on film (except me).
SM: How much did you enjoy working on this show?
CC: I enjoyed it a lot. I was able to go to Budapest for three week to help get things started for the lenses and lens tech. It was a pleasure to work with Mike Elizalde, whom I never worked with on set before. I got to see a lot of the make-up’s come together and put some lenses in which is rare for me these days.
Another very cool thing (no lenses involved) was watching Brian Steele walk around in the “Wink” suit. He just does it flawlessly. In person “Wink” is a very menacing and intimidating character. When he’s walking towards you, you just have the urge to get the hell out of the way…LOL
It was a little tougher for our lens tech Jessica Nelson who was in Budapest for 6 months. Having multiple actors with lenses is never easy and being in a different country during allergy season doesn’t help. She did a perfect job taking care of everyone’s eyes. I’m pretty sure she wouldn’t have traded it for anything.
SM: How much did you enjoy working with the director?
CC: Very, to work with Guillermo del Toro, who wouldn’t? This was the second time working with GDT. The first being Blade II.
I can’t imagine how hard it is to get a bunch of people organised enough to create what you can only see in your own mind. The end result was beautiful.
SM: And what was it like working with some of the actors?
CC: Fantastic! Ron has an amazing demeanor for someone covered in latex, a tail, and is constantly being poked in the eye. He was always thankful, and has a great sense of humour when you’re hitting the 18-hour mark. Anna Walton was very nice too; John Alexander is a sweetheart and a wonderful human being; and as for Doug Jones – well, if anyone has ever worked with Doug, they will know that he is always in good spirits. He will put a smile on your face no matter how your feeling. And of course it was a treat to see Luke again. We worked together on Blade II when I was just a lens tech and he was a nasty looking vampire. You could pretty much say: “What’s there not to like about working with them?”