The cast and crew of 1899, including hair and makeup designer Christina Wagner and actor Maria Erwolter, spoke with us about their favorite aspects of working on the show, their prior experience in the industry, and some of their other favorite projects, including those that have inspired them throughout their long and amazing careers.
I started acting when I was 5 years old in a children dramas school in Copenhagen, I loved to pretend I was someone else. That everything was possible and to have a feeling that my own life was on standby. Taking a break.
Acting gave me a feeling of superpower and that my characters could overcome everything. That gave me a feeling of freedom and I felt very early on that acting was my place in the world.
The drowning scene was for me a very beautiful scene to make and also later on watching. Iben decides not to fight anymore but in her mind, taking power back by killing off herself.
And to see the special connection Anker and Iben have to each other is shown in that scene. He decides to go with her. Because he loves her so much. It was very beautiful. As an actress, I’ve never tried drowning. So I was very excited but also nervous. They had built up the corridor in a box that could be dropped under water. I was amazed by it.
Another scene was definitely the fighting scene where I encouraged everyone to fight and ended up throwing the boy overboard. Flynn and I had rehearsed the stunt many times. It was very important to me to connect with him on a human level so that he felt safe with me.
For me Iben is a character I play, and I wanted to make sure that Flynn saw me, Maria, behind Iben. That he wasn’t scared of being around me.
Watching the cast, stunt crew and extras throwing themselves in to this fight was really something. Everyone had choreography for their fights and watching such a big scene with so many people involved unfold and materialize was mind blowing.
Everyone on production made this show magical. To be surrounded by so much talent has been very inspiring.
I really hoped that people would love the show. And we’ve talked a lot about it. But you can never predict what people will love or hate.
So feeling this support has been amazing and I feel very grateful to feel the love from the audience. I’m very honored to be part of this show.
The different cultures we all bring in to the show has, for me, been the most special experience.
For sure Iben. For me as an actress it has always been very important to understand my characters behaviour. Why she does or says the things she does.
That way I have a better understanding of her and it’s easier for me to connect with her. To fight for her. I never judge my character. Iben was tough to play.
She had so many demons inside of her and an anger and sadness that was also driving her. Embracing Iben for her choices and trying to make the audience understand her, was my job as an actress.
I don’t need to like what she’s doing, but I need to understand why she’s doing it. And she was a challenge for me. But I enjoyed the challenge.
Watching “Orange is the new black”, gave me a lot of hope because that was the first time I saw a series based on non mainstream female characters.
They showed that a woman is not only one type. We contain multitudes. I’ve always struggled with not being the typical “good looking girl next door” type.
I’m more quirky with a characteristic face and “Orange is the new black” definitely helped to open up opportunities for an actress like me.
Thank you very much I'm very happy that you like our work in 1899.
During my three years of makeup and hair school, I began working on student films and small music clips to gain experience and build my network.
Over the years, as the projects became larger and more demanding, I needed more variety. I pondered what to do after the exam... and then I saw a documentary about film makeup and hair, as well as an interview with a hair and makeup school in Berlin, which piqued my interest, and I relocated to Berlin to visit that school.
During my three years of makeup and hair school, I began working on student films and small music clips to gain experience and build my network. Over time, the projects became larger and more demanding.
The day starts with prepping the working place for the first actor that we have in the chair, which is often in a makeup truck or a makeup room.
Of course, depending on the scene, there may be more than one actor or actress.
So we have to do the hair and makeup for the first scene we are shooting, and that can take 10 minutes or sometimes 3 hours if you have lots of special things to do like fake beards, wigs, tattoos, prosthetics, etc.
After the makeup/hair time, we pack individual bags for the actors with everything we might need to do corrections and touch-ups on set.
We follow them and take care that hair and makeup stay like they should for the scenes during the day.
Depending on the schedule, we have to get more actors ready, or there might be changes in the makeup or hair of the actors or actresses for the next scene we are shooting as we are mostly not shooting the scenes chronologically and/or they have to look different. Sometimes you might have fittings in between with actors and actresses if there is no time before the principal shooting starts.
After we wrap, we take off their makeup and prep for the next shooting day.
During the day, there are also lots of organizational things like material orders, meetings, logistical and team coordination, and many more to do that you always have to squeeze in. You need a good, reliable team around you to handle all the tasks together.
It is never a one-woman show. It's all about teamwork.
My favorite project so far is Dark; I worked there next to Monika Münnich as her key hair and makeup artist for the first season.
She was unable to continue as designer for the second season due to personal reasons, so the showrunners Jantje Friese and Baran Bo Odar asked me to take over.
It was the first German Netflix series, everyone on that show was so excited, and we knew that would be something very special and very new; also, storywise, there was nothing like that before in Germany.
It had a really special energy, and the team grew together like a family who also worked on S2 and 3, and the majority of them also on 1899.
For a makeup and hair artist and designer, it was a big playground, as we had different timelines, periods, SFX parts, parallel worlds, etc. in that series.
For film, we create individual characters with hair and makeup that fit the role and the story.
That is not possible with a click on an app. Apps and filters simply blur everyone into the same look; a person's character fades; it's just a symmetrical wannabe perfectionism's depending on the trend.
Beauty is not symmetrical; it has imperfections that give it character.
For me personally, an actor or actress does not look their best when we do the perfect makeup; I fall in love with their look most when we put them in their worst condition, when we see what they´ve been through or might have been through. Or when we add flaws like birhmarks, scars, freckles, and so on.
I would start with a good education foundation and then look for someone who will let you do a trainee job.
You can always get your start in student films until then as well as an additional factor in crowd composition.
Don't look too far left or right; be patient and focused on your own career; everyone has their own way and time to achieve their goals.
And as always, don't stop learning...
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