Interview with Connor McCullagh

Connor McCullagh recently competed and won in season one of SyFy’s hit show “Face Off”. Connor has also worked on various high profile projects most recently with “Big Mommas House: Like Father, Like Son” and TV’s “The Walking Dead” & “The Vampire Diaries”. He is currently working on the film “The Hunger Games”. Movie Mikes had a chance to chat with Connor about winning “Face Off” and also his work on TV and film.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about your experience on the show, Syfy’s “Face Off”?

Connor McCullagh: “Face Off” was a very unique experience. It not only put my skills to the test, but it also tested my determination and my nerves. It wasn’t easy going through challenge after challenge for a solid month.

MG: How did you end up on the show and what do you think you have gained since winning?

CM: The producers held an open casting call in Orlando where I was teaching at the time. I spent a couple weeks creating prosthetics for the audition, and showed up. I guess the rest of it is history. Since the show aired I’ve done a few conventions, but the biggest benefit has been the working relationship I’ve developed with Ve Niell. We are currently working on “The Hunger Games”.

MG: How was it working on “Big Mommas House: Like Father, Like Son”?

CM: “Big Momma’s III” was a great gig. I was hired by Wesley Wofford who work on all the Big Mamma’s films. Martin Lawrence was a pleasure to work with as well. Every morning, he would sit, motionless, in the makeup chair watching “The Wire” while Wes and I applied his prosthetics. I wish more jobs were as easy as that one.

MG: Tell us about working with Greg Nicotero on “The Walking Dead” & “The Vampire Diaries”?

CM: Working on “The Walking Dead” was a great experience. That was my first time working with Greg Nicotero and I felt like we really hit it off. The work was difficult as we were dealing with mob scenes of 50+ zombies in 100 degree heat, but I would do it again in a heart beat.

“The Vampire Diaries” was a different story. My first day on set, the production manager told me that they never made an allowance for an on set makeup FX guy. It was a slow, 8 month downward spiral from there. Most of the time, I was powdering noses. Occasionally, I would make a new set of fangs or apply a small bite wound on one of the actors. But, it just wasn’t the type of show that required someone like me. Fortunately, the cast was great to work with. A really nice bunch of people.

MG: How did you end up working with the Farrelly Brothers on films like “Me, Myself & Irene” & “Shallow Hall”?

CM: Back in the late 90s and early 2000s, I was working for makeup FX company called Alterian. They do all of the Farely bother’s films.The last one I worked on was “Stuck On You”. I left Alterian in 2004. By 2005, I moved to East coast and started keying more independent features, which really rekindled my love for makeup effects.

MG: What would you say has been your most difficult project to work on to date?

CM: There’s a lot of different things that can make a project “difficult”. FX wise, I think some of the most challenging work I’ve done would be a regeneration effect I supervised on a film called “Bones”. It was me two of my colleagues and friends, Lilo Tavou and Fred Fraliegh, creating all these body parts out of wax and gelatin to melt in front of slow speed cameras along with different effects for veins and tendons traveling up arms and into the neck and head of Snoop Dog’s lifeless remains. Yet, as difficult as it was I still look back, fondly, of the whole experience. We were so exhausted by the time it was over, but we got along great and produced some effects that we were very proud of.

MG: Is horror generally your favorite genre to work in, if not favorite?

CM: As a makeup effects artist, horror is a big part of my life. I love a good horror film, but I really prefer the sci-fi fantasy films over the slasher films. I enjoy creating creatures and would love to see the creature feature make a come back. Unfortunately, the sci-fi genre seems dominated by CGI these days.

MG: What do you have planned upcoming?

CM: I’m going to be on “The Hunger Games” until Fall. I have several tentative offers after that, but I’m really looking forward to taking a vacation. It’s been a crazy year and I haven’t treated myself in a long time.


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