Hollywood, CA, Feb. 16, 2010 â€“ Veteran Make-up Effects Artist Barney Burman currently has three reasons to celebrate, big time: He has just become a 2010 Academy Award nominee, in the category of â€œBest Make-Up,â€? for his contributions to the hit, 2009 Paramount Pictures film â€œStar Trek.â€? Burman is also currently in active development on a potential new TV series (in which he would star) with a major cable television network. And, in addition, 2010 represents the 30th anniversary year of his work in the entertainment industry.
â€œItâ€™s a very exciting time,â€? Burman says. â€œIâ€™ve been working in this industry since 1980, and to finally earn an Oscar nod is really a terrific acknowledgement by my peers. Iâ€™m equally excited about the possibility of producing and appearing in a new television series. They say good things come to those who waitâ€”I guess Iâ€™ve waited long enough!â€?
Since launching his own company, Proteus Make-Up FX, in 2004, Burman and his crew have contributed make-up effects to a slew of popular TV shows and feature films. In addition to the most recent edition of Star Trek, these have included the hit TV shows Arrested Development, Alias, Invasion, Strong Medicine, Scrubs, King of Queens, Private Practice, Chuck, and Medium, and the feature films Blades of Glory, Valkyrie, Fame, Fast & The Furious: Tokyo Drift, and Tropic Thunder, for which he designed the make-up that transformed Tom Cruise into abusive studio head, Les Grossman. His upcoming, indie film projects include Repo Chick, Shuffle, Iron Cross, Grey Skies, Touchback, One by One and Wolf Town.
For the smash hit 2009 feature film Star Trek, conceptualized and directed by JJ Abrams, Burman and his company Proteus Make-Up FX created most of the new alien characters. He says, â€œWith our work on the new film, we wanted to honor the characters from that classic series that weâ€™d all seen before, but we certainly wanted to make them live a little more by todayâ€™s standards.â€?
Burman had previously worked with Abrams on Mission: Impossible III, and let the renowned director know during filming of that show, that he would be extremely interested in participating as well in the new Trek project.
â€œOur work on the new Trek had to be done in a ridiculously short amount of time, and with a laughably small budget,â€? Burman recalls. â€œWe had a 13-week prep, when the scope of the project called for at least six months. So my crew and I worked round the clock for those 13 weeks, continuing on for the five months of shooting.â€? Burman and teamâ€™s work included creating 12 â€œHeroâ€? Alien make-ups, 12 foreground masks, and 12 other masks for deeper background. They also provided an elaborate alien make-up for the character Alnschloss Kâ€™Bentayr (played by actress Kasia Kowalczky), which required 42 straight hours of work by Burman.
â€œI was thrilled to have worked with JJ again,â€? Burman says of his Trek experience. â€œMy team and I were recreating Star Trek, so it meant a great deal to all of us. We were all just so appreciative of the old series, and excited to be part of reinventing it. We all really gave our all, and put our hearts and souls into our make-up effects for that project.â€?
ABOUT BARNEY BURMAN:
Barney Burman, a proud member of IATSE Local 706 and the Screen Actorâ€™s Guild, was literally born into the world of make-up for the entertainment industry. His grandfather, Ellis Burman, Sr., was a true industry pioneer, creating make-up effects before there was even a name for them. Ellis made prosthetics and special props for such early Hollywood films as The Wolf Man (1941) and House of Frankenstein (1944), animatronic animals for Rudyard Kiplingâ€™s Jungle Book (1942), masks for Rod Serlingâ€™s The Twilight Zone TV series (1959-1963), and many others.
Barneyâ€™s father, Thomas R. Burman, also a renowned make-up artist, won multiple Emmy Awards for various television shows, and also earned an Oscar Nomination in 1988 for his work on Scrooged. Thomas enlisted the help of young Barney to make creature-suits for such TV shows as Lost in Space, and for feature films such as Food of the Gods (1975), Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind (1977), and Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978). His fatherâ€™s involvement might just account for Barneyâ€™s penchant for performing, as well as his love for the art of make-up effects.
While in his teens, Burman began to pursue acting, studying with legendary teacher Sanford Meisner, and later spending time with Tim Robbinsâ€™ Actorsâ€™ Gang in the early â€˜90â€™s. Burman landed bit parts in several movies (Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, The Offspring, Brain Dead and Meet the Hollowheads, to name a few), along with TV shows (Acting Sheriff starring Robert Goulet), and numerous stage productions. But, eventually, the pull toward transforming other peopleâ€™s faces into something theyâ€™re not became undeniable to him. He wound up, once again, as a make-up effects artist.
While creating the titular character in the 1995 film Powder, Burman was accepted into the I.A.T.S.E Local 706 Make-up Artists and Hair Stylists Union. â€œThatâ€™s really when it all changed for me,â€? he now says. â€œI really began to see the possibilities of what I could do with my craft, and discover just how fulfilling the art of make-up could be.â€?
Burman soon thereafter formulated a career plan. â€œI wanted to be the best make-up artist I could be. I didnâ€™t want to rush into opening up my own studio, making creatures and characters that I felt were sub par,â€? he says. So for the next nine years, Burman jumped around from production to production working for, and with, some of the best artists in the business, and on some of the biggest shows in town.
Burman was fortunate enough to have been involved in make-up effects for some of the highest profile feature films of the past dozen years. He had the great fortune of collaborating with–and learning fromâ€”such fellow artists as: Rick Baker (How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Planet of the Apes, The Ring 1 and 2), Ve Neill (Pirates of the Caribbean, Constantine), Ed Henriques (Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World), Greg Cannom (Bulletproof Monk), and Michele Burke (Austin Powers in Goldmember). Burman blended the experience he gleaned from working with those masters along with the knowledge that his father instilled within him, over the years.
In 2004, Burman opened his own company, Proteus Make-up FX, in Pacoima, CA, and it wasnâ€™t long before producers came a knockinâ€™. He immediately began taking on any job that came his way, and by the end of the first year, he and his team had begun creating the make-up effects for such motion pictures as â€œTenacious D in The Pick of Destinyâ€? and â€œMission: Impossible: III,â€? as well as a number of other, more modestly-budgeted, productions.
Since launching his own company, Burman and his crew have contributed make-up effects to a slew of popular TV shows and feature films. These have included the hit TV shows Arrested Development, Alias, Invasion, Strong Medicine, Scrubs, King of Queens, Private Practice, Chuck, and Medium, and the feature films Blades of Glory, Valkyrie, Fame, Fast & The Furious: Tokyo Drift, and Tropic Thunder, for which he designed the make-up that transformed Tom Cruise into abusive studio head, Les Grossman. His upcoming, indie film projects include Repo Chick, Shuffle, Iron Cross, Grey Skies, Touchback, One by One and Wolf Town.
â€œMy motto in the beginning was Iâ€™ll do it! And it still is. Whatever the task, whatever the budget, if itâ€™s within my power to make it happen and it interests me, Iâ€™m in!â€? Burman says today. Please see:
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