ENGLEWOOD, N.J. — You may not know Mike Marino of Englewood, but you are probably familiar with his work.
The Emmy-winning makeup artist has worked on hit films "The Wolf Of Wall Street," "Black Swan," "I Am Legend," "Birdman," and "Men In Black 3," to name some.
He relishes in breathing life into the unreal.
"A sculptor can make a beautiful statue but I can make that same statue and then actually bring it to life," Marino, 39, told Daily Voice. "That is the heart of film making — taking something that does not exist and then fleshing it out in a way that feels real."
Marino's passion began at the age of four when he happened upon the Dave Lynch film "The Elephant Man" on HBO.
"The film disturbed me," he said, "but it also filled me with wonderment about why I found it so disturbing."
Then came Michael Jackson's "Thriller" video.
"I just couldn't figure out how they made him look like a werewolf," Marino said, "but I was determined to find out."
Marino bought "The Monster Makeup Handbook," written by famed makeup artist Dick Smith, and went to work.
By the time he was a teenager, Marino was using wax, gelatin and fake blood to craft third-degree burns on his face to scare the school nurse.
"People were completely fooled and they didn't know whether to run away or go into panic mode," Marino said. "Every day was Halloween."
Marino was 19 when "Saturday Night Live" hired him as a makeup artist. Three years later, he moved to Los Angeles.
Marino returned in 2004 and opened "Prosthetic Renaissance," a 7,000-square-foot studio in Englewood where he handles everything from mold making to screen testing.
He's hoping to write and direct his own film, which he says will be a horror/psychological thriller with lots of high-toned makeup effects.
"I want to be part of the entire creative process," Marino said. He hopes it can be half as good as "The Elephant Man."
"I know now why that movie bothered me," Marino said. "It was the pathos of the person in the makeup and how his performance shone brighter than the makeup. It was so raw"
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