Directors with Their Actors: Making a Movie Come to Life


(Getty Images/Levy’s Grooming by Susan Heydt)

Directors have a way with people. For example, Shawn Levy, Canadian director of  Night at the Museum, loves his cast. Amy Adams, who played Amelia Earhart, along with Stiller, Wilson, and Williams all came together for the second making of the museum movie. Mr. Levy fawned over them as if they were his children. As a matter of fact, his children were actors in the movie. What I find endearing is that directors understand human emotion and feelings. They focus on the whole picture, without getting into character. They are approachable and in most cases extremely likable. Not everyone knows them, like the actors, but if you want to get at the heart of a movie, see the director. They play parent, coach, cheerleader, mentor and teacher. Their ideas and beliefs are played out by the actors.

In this movie, the director’s personal involvement was evident throughout the world premiere here in Washington, D.C. Stories of why he choose the music (like the Jonas Brothers as the singing angels), American Heroes (like Custard, Earheart, and Einstein), and the Air and Space Museum (for the location) all came from his love of America. It’s as if America was one of his characters. He grew up in Canada and always wanted to move here. As a foreigner, he has an idyllic view of our great Nation.  

It’s rewarding to do makeup and grooming for directors. In this case, especially, because I got to meet his entire family. The sweetest and most honest compliment I’ve ever received from doing makeup came from Levy’s two-yr-old daughter. Once I’d finished makeup for his wife, Serena, who is gorgeous even without makeup, Levy’s daughter said with big Disney eyes, “Mommy, you look like Ariel!” There is no higher reward for a job well done.

If you are out there, thank you to Amy Adam’s makeup artist, who saved the day with a fresh lip balm for Mr. Owen Wilson.


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