The Industry

Crafting characters: An interview with Chris Suckow

13th March 2024

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Have you ever wondered what it takes to work as a makeup and prosthetics artist for the screen?

In this exclusive interview, we delve into the fascinating career of Chris Suckow, one of the many talented artists behind the extraordinary makeup and prosthetics on Dune Part Two (as well as many other outstanding projects). At Screen and Film School, we are honoured to have Chris as a guest lecturer on our BA (Hons) Hair & Makeup for Screen and Film and for the rare opportunity to explore his journey.

Join us as we unravel the behind-the-scenes magic of makeup and prosthetics artistry, and gain a deeper understanding of the passion, dedication, and artistic vision that led Chris into this creative and fulfilling career.

Chris Suckow, makeup artist on Dune Part 2


Did you always know you wanted to work in makeup artistry for screen?

Growing up as a neurodivergent, artistic child, I wanted to be everything at once. I was convinced that I was going to become a fashion designer, photographer, graphic designer, a painter… the list goes on!

I had dozens of creative hobbies. It wasn’t until my mid-twenties that I realised how huge the makeup industry really is. I made the decision to study makeup and expand on my self-taught skills to pursue a career in the makeup industry.

Prosthetic and makeup alien woman with purple hair

by Chris Suckow

So did you study makeup at university?

I did a BA (Hons) in Makeup for Media and Performance, studying makeup and hair design for drama, ballet, opera and music. I learned makeup and hair skills for fashion and photography shoots, how to construct wigs and hairpieces, and create prosthetic makeup effects for film and television, and much more.

How did you get started in the industry?

I thoroughly researched and got in touch with numerous makeup artists working in film and television, and was given the opportunity to introduce myself myself to the HOD in the crowd department for the AppleTV+ show, Foundation: Season 1, which was filmed in Berlin. I managed to secure a couple of weeks in the hair and makeup department on the show before the world shut down due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Embrace networking opportunities, put in the effort, stay humble, foster a team spirit, assist other artists, listen to experienced artists, continually enhance your skills, explore ‘upskill’ courses, prioritise a healthy lifestyle with good nutrition and exercise, and don’t forget to nurture friendships and relationships beyond the workplace. 

Chris Suckow’s work for Carnival Row

What has been the most enjoyable production you’ve worked on so far?

My first job in prosthetics for TV was on Amazon’s Carnival Row: Season 2, filmed in Prague, Czech Republic, under the guidance of prosthetics designer, Nick Dudman. The experience was incredibly valuable, allowing me to gain solid set- and art-finishing skills. Working on tasks like running silicon bodies, silicon seam, painting, hair-punching, and application added depth to my expertise, and I’m very grateful for the opportunities presented on this show.

Just as significant to me was my first film production, Dune Part Two, shot over several months at Origo Studios in Budapest, Hungary. Securing this role required dedicated effort, and I am thankful to the HOD and makeup designer, Donald Mowat, for believing in me and bringing me on board as part of the Harkonnen makeup team. Witnessing my work on the big screen for the first time was surreal, and Dune Part Two turned out to be an absolute masterpiece. The memories created on set will forever hold a special place in my heart.

Tell us about your proudest achievement

My proudest achievement is probably moving abroad all on my own, learning a new language and attending university. I grew up in a working-class family in a small town in northern Germany, so when I left my home to move to another country where I didn’t really speak the language well, I had to work ten times as hard to graduate from university and build a life for myself as an immigrant.

On the day of my graduation, my parents flew over to the UK and watched me get my award, making it extra special. They never had the chance to go to university, so seeing them excited about living my dreams and travelling the world doing what they never could brings me a lot of joy. I get a bit teary just thinking about it.

Green alien prosthetics for Secret Invasion

 Prosthetics designer: Kristyan Mallet – applied by Chris Suckow

What’s the most challenging thing about your work?

The most demanding aspect of my job, personally, revolves around the constant juggling act to maintain both mental and physical well-being amidst workdays lasting 18 to 20 hours, sometimes stretching over several consecutive days, only to transition to periods of no work at all. It puts a significant strain on both mind and body. Prioritising the care of one’s mental and physical health is absolutely essential.

Which makeup or prosthetics work in a film do you consider to be the best of all time?

I can’t possibly talk about them all, but here are a few that have significantly influenced my perception of monsters and creatures since my early years. Rick Baker’s creations for An American Werewolf in London stand out, shaping my understanding of monster effects with his exceptional work.

The iconic creatures created by David Martí and his team for Guillermo del Toro’s projects have been truly remarkable. Additionally, Barrie Gower and his team’s inspiring work on Game of Thrones and The Last of Us has left a lasting impact on me. The prosthetics crew of the Guardians of the Galaxy universe has produced mind-blowingly beautiful designs that genuinely took my breath away on screen – kudos to Vol.3 HOD Alexei Dmitriew.

Of course, there’s much more to appreciate. When asked this question, I can’t help but think of the actor Leonidas Frank Chaney, a pioneer in special effects makeup during the 1920s, who created his own distinctive looks for numerous monster roles.

Hair and makeup looks by Chris Suckow for The Witcher

Prosthetics by Coulier Creatures FX. Makeup and prosthetics application by Chris Suckow

What’s your favourite thing about working with Screen and Film School students?

I enjoy the fresh perspectives and creativity that students bring to projects. Working with students allows for a dynamic exchange of ideas and a collaborative atmosphere.

Mentoring and guiding students is quite rewarding. As professionals, we have the opportunity to contribute to the development of the next generation of special effects makeup artists. The enthusiasm and passion that the students often bring to their projects can be infectious, creating a positive and inspiring work environment. Witnessing the sparkle and magic in students’ eyes as they successfully carry out their first significant prosthetic project is a truly magical moment. It’s like watching your favourite film for the first time, reliving the magic through the students’ eyes.

Check out our hair and makeup students in action over on TikTok

Do you have any advice for young people wanting to work in makeup, hair and prosthetics?

Embrace networking opportunities, put in the effort, stay humble, foster a team spirit, assist other artists, listen to experienced artists, continually enhance your skills, explore ‘upskill’ courses, prioritise a healthy lifestyle with good nutrition and exercise, and don’t forget to nurture friendships and relationships beyond the workplace.

Regularly reflect on the privilege of working in the creative industry, making fantastical creatures, rather than being confined to a 9-5 desk job. Remind yourself to enjoy the work, even if it’s stressful.

Thank you, Chris! Here’s to finding joy in the creative chaos and appreciating the awesomeness of a career in makeup and prosthetics for the screen!

Interested in starting your journey into this incredible industry?

Check out our BA (Hons) degree in Hair and Makeup for Screen and Film and discover a world where you really can bring your imagination to life


BIMM University

BIMM University provides an extensive range of courses in modern music, performing arts, filmmaking, and creative technology to over 8,000 students across 14 schools in the UK, Ireland, and Germany. We have a long-standing commitment to providing the highest quality in creative industries education, allowing students to maximise their career potential in an inclusive community built on a culture of shared passion, creativity, and collaboration. Berlin | Birmingham | Brighton | Bristol | Dublin | Essex | London | Manchester