If you wish to go to the current Fangoria site, you may click the top logo, "Home" or "News" links. Or click here.
It was serial killer week in the fourth installment of Syfy’s FACE OFF, and one contestant fell victim to his own creation. Check out our interview with the latest body to fall after the jump.
Tacoma, WA makeup FX artist Marcel Banks was the quiet, nice guy who seemed to get along with everyone…except Sean Cunningham, who apparently didn’t think a rollerskating serial killer was scary enough.
FANGORIA: What kind of training did you have prior to FACE/OFF?
MARCEL BANKS: I started self-training in 2006, and then I met up with some guys who were professionals in LA and had moved up here [to the Tacoma/Seattle area] and I kind of understudied with them, then hit the ground running.
FANG: Are they anybody of note you want to mention by name?
BANKS: I don’t like to name-drop [laughs]. But they’re big-name people.
FANG: Wow, you’re the one person in this industry who doesn’t want to name-drop. I’m amazed.
BANKS: It’s weird to me. [Laughs] I just don’t like doing it.
FANG: What brought you to the FACE OFF casting directors’ attention?
BANKS: I was in New Mexico doing life-casting for a movie, and I flew back home. The producer told me there was going to be a delay in production for a while, so I had some downtime. One of my friends from LA [told me], “They’re doing this show, you should audition.” So I did the tape, like, that day in 20 minutes [laughs], and just sent it in thinking, “I’ll never hear back.” And they called me. Just pure luck, I suppose.
FANG: Who were the filmmakers in New Mexico?
BANKS: It was Shannon Lark. [Shannon was Fango’s 2009 Spooksmodel—Ed.] She’s a really cool chick.
FANG: You and Gage Hubbard seemed to be the two contestants who weren’t just friendly, but actually helping each other in your last episode.
BANKS: I actually met Gage in ’07 in a makeup forum. And then we both ended up on the show. Our whole take on everything was, let’s just have fun and help each other out so we’re not all copying each other.
FANG: There really did seem to be, at least up until this episode, a lot of good will between the contestants. Helping each other out, giving each other honest critiques and not trying to screw each other over. Was that the case?
BANKS: That was the case for a while. I mean, we were all trying to be good. We knew it was a competition, but we didn’t want to be dicks to each other. So we would just help each other out. We’d always throw ideas out so no one would copy each other. We were all like, “What are you doing? What are you doing?” There was a lot of that, and then as the drama started to unfold, I think people kind of eased back on that a little bit.
FANG: And what drama would that be?
BANKS: That was the drama with Megan [Areford] and Jo [Holland], and Connor [McCullagh] and Tom [Devlin]. Connor didn’t like Tom, Jo didn’t like Megan. And it was weird—after Frank [Ippolito] left, everyone was kind of uneasy. Gage and I were keeping the tension at the low end. We were trying to keep things happy.
FANG: What do you think of the budding romance between Connor and Megan?
BANKS: I think if they like each other, that’s fine. This show should be about makeup, though. But, I mean, I like them both. It’s cool.
FANG: Any behind-the-scenes scoop on the two of them that maybe we didn’t see?
BANKS: [Laughs] I’m not going to say anything about that.
FANG: Your silence speaks volumes.
BANKS: [Laughs] I don’t know if they’d appreciate me talking about them.
FANG: The Camp Blood blog was calling you and Gage “Team Gay.” Were there any feelings of being a separate camp amidst everyone else?
BANKS: It was weird, but we didn’t even think about it very much, and neither did anyone else. And then, on reflection, Gage and I were talking, and we were like, “Wow, everything we did really was kind of gay!” Gage did a sailor villain, I did a he/she tranny on rollerskates. We did a naked dude for the alien. It was weird. [Laughs]
FANG: What was it like to have cameras in your face all day long?
BANKS: It was a little weird. I got used to that faster than I did the mics. I think a lot of people forgot about the mics. People would say stuff, then give that, “Oh, shit, I’m mic’d!” face.
FANG: One thing people always forget is to turn off their mic when they go to the bathroom.
BANKS: Yeah, I was guilty of that. A lot of us were. I think Connor took a huge shit and he was mic’d, and he had, like, diarrhea. [Laughs]
FANG: Well, he’ll love to read about that, I’m sure. Aren’t you the one who said that Gage picked his naked model because he was cute?
BANKS: I forgot I said that! It was kind of a joke. But I don’t remember what led up to me saying that to Connor. I think Connor and I were talking about something and I leaned over, and then I watched it and was like, “Wow, I forgot I was mic’d!”
FANG: Everybody seemed to take the naked models in stride, except for maybe Frank. What did you think when they whipped off their clothes?
BANKS: Seeing the backgrounds, I was kind of preparing myself. I was more concerned with the background. That background’s cool, that background’s cool. Here we go…
FANG: How was house life?
BANKS: The houses were cool! We pretty much trashed them. I lived with Tom and Tate [Steinsiek], and they were probably the two messiest people. So I was stepping on beer caps and pistachio nuts. But it was fun.
FANG: On the show they had you doing all types of makeup. What’s your preference?
BANKS: I do like doing creatures and crazy stuff, as opposed to just gore. Gore is fun, but I do like doing strange stuff; I don’t want to be stuck with every gig being a slashed throat.
FANG: This is a layman’s observation, so forgive the ignorance: A lot of what is being created on the show seems more like complete pullover masks, or giant headpieces, rather than detailed makeup on skin or small appliances using the person’s actual face as the basis for the design.
BANKS: There were certain people who got critiques for constantly doing giant pullover silicon [pieces], whereas I would take the time to actually do an application on the face. Like, Gage and I did applications on the face for our [alien], and certain people were just covering theirs. Which works sometimes, but…”cheating” is the wrong word, but I mean, it’s kind of like the easy way. You just have to pull it over and glue the eyes down and you’re done. A facial appliance, you have to actually blend the edges, really paint it to make sure it matches skin tone. I guess it just depends on what your view is.
FANG: Who is creating the wardrobe for all these challenges?
BANKS: It was this British lady, I don’t remember her name. She was awesome. We got in a huge fight over the alien challenge because she got us the wrong thing, and Gage and I freaked out. We needed like a pantyhose crotch to hold his junk in, because he was naked underneath the little flaps we had, and she got us granny panties, and his balls fell out on stage, and he was like, “I’m gonna leave!” [Laughs] I ended up duct-taping them to his stomach. His name was Rob, and he was a real trouper.
FANG: Sounds more like RUPAUL’S DRAG RACE than FACE OFF. When you were designing your rollerskating, ax-wielding burn victim, from the show’s standpoint, it seemed to be making some correlation with Gage saying to you, “Do a burn makeup.” Do you regret doing that, considering how it turned out?
BANKS: No, I like how it turned out. This whole thing was tongue-in-cheek. I was going for, like, THE BURNING meets TERROR TRAIN meets SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER, because I’m obsessed with old slasher films. And everyone was, “We like it!” Tom was like, “I’d totally go watch that movie!” I went with HOUSE OF WAX-style makeup. There’s three burns you can do: You can go HOUSE OF WAX, which is like the huge, melty, drippy face they did pre-’70s; then there’s the Freddy Krueger makeup; then there’s a realistic burn victim. So I went Vincent Price-style. And it was clear that the judges don’t watch slasher films, because they didn’t get my joke at all.
FANG: When Sean Cunningham said, and I’m paraphrasing, “This doesn’t seem scary,” it really seemed like perhaps they were missing the point.
BANKS: They totally missed the point! And I was like, “Sean, you had Betsy Palmer running around in the woods. Betsy Palmer herself isn’t scary. It’s what the person does.” Sean was nice; I mean, they could totally have been a lot worse, but I just think the joke went over their heads.
FANG: During judging, did you get the sense you were going home? Or was that a shock?
BANKS: When I was in the bottom, everyone was telling me, “Don’t worry, don’t worry, you’re good.” But I noticed when they were debating that Sean was constantly staring at me, like he was so excited to see my face when they called my name. About 30 seconds before they said the name, I thought, “Uh, things are not going well for Marcel tonight…”
FANG: What do you think about this whole Megan thing? Do you think she should have gone? Should it have been somebody else?
BANKS: Anthony kept saying backstage that, since he had done badly in the alien challenge and hated his makeup [for that challenge], he should have gone. And I know there were a lot of people who will remain nameless who said Megan should be going, just based on her skill level. But I’m not going to throw anyone under the bus—they picked me. Oh well. I just don’t feel like I should have gone for that makeup. I think maybe they should have waited until I did something really, really terrible.
FANG: Now that you’ve been on the show, have you had job offers? I think Tom said, “We’ll see you again…” when you left.
BANKS: Yeah, I’ve gotten a couple of offers actually. It’s not like I just came back home and have been doing nothing. Actually, at the moment I’m painting a Creature from the Black Lagoon bust I’m making, and stuff like that. So I’m still working on stuff. I’m not down and out yet.
FANG: Any regrets about doing the show?
BANKS: No. I met 11 amazing people and they’re great friends of mine now, so I don’t regret anything about it at all.
JOIN OUR COMMUNITY AND BE THE FIRST TO KNOW ABOUT NEWS, CONTESTS, EVENTS AND MORE!
All contents © 2011 Fangoria Entertainment