The Widow of the Web prosthetics 1/4
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This is a rare photo. Francesca Annis with no make-up. A skin freshener was used to assure there were no greasy spots left from the cleanser that might inhibit adhesion.
The first prosthetic piece is being applied. A major problem with old age prosthetics was that foam pieces glued to the eye lids restricted natural movement. The eye lids are the most delicate part of the face and sometimes prosthetics can stop the eyelids opening at all. Often stretch latex would be used to wrinkle the actors skin instead. I was very pleased with the eyelids on the Widow and the secret is in the overlapping concertina design. The first four pieces were applied to the lids, (2 on each). The exact determination of where each piece stopped and the next started was determined by folds on Francesca's lids. The overlapping edges were left loose.
All four lid pieces are now in place plus the fifth piece...... which covered the nose, cheeks and upper lip. You can clearly see in this photo how, with only a few pieces applied, she has already adopted an austere attitude in keeping with the Widow's character.
Prosthetics are broken into many pieces for two major reasons. Firstly so that foams of different densities can be used in different areas... to suit the tensile strength of the skin below. Secondly to ensure that they are perfectly located on the muscles that will drive the new face. Foam shrinks 8-12% depending upon make and batch and a badly fitted mask will crease in all the wrong places.