updated: 07/10/2008

look-alike makeups: Virginia Woolf

Virginia Woolf (1882–1941) was one of the foremost modernist literary figures of the twentieth century. Though she is commonly regarded by many as feminist, she herself deplored the term as she felt it suggested an obsession with women and womens’ concerns. She preferred to be referred to as a ‘humanist’. Between the Wars she was a significant figure in London literary society and a member of the Bloomsbury Group. Her most famous works include the novels Mrs. Dalloway, To the Lighthouse, and Orlando. From the age of thirteen she suffered recurrent nervous breakdowns and depressive periods, possibly induced by the sexual abuse she recalled in an autobigraphical essay: a posthumous diagnosis of bipolar disorder has been offered. After a prolonged and severe bout of depression she filled her pockets with stones and drowned herself in the River Ouse near her home on 28 March 1941 at the age of fifty-nine.

This was a movie that should have been great (good concept and brilliant talent both sides of the camera) – I’m still trying to work out why I fell asleep. Ask anyone about the movie and they are likely to tell you about Nicole Kidman’s prosthetic nose – the movie was that bad.

Nicole Kidman as Virginia Woolf got all the the hype for her prosthetic nose – and a very fine nose it was too, not to mention probably being the most famous nose in movie history – but Julianne Moore’s old-age makeup was superb. Nicole apparently was not sure about the nose when she first saw herself in makeup and her reaction was:

Gosh, this could either look totally ridiculous, or it will really help me to get lost in the character.

Ivana Primovac was makeup and hair supervisor; the prosthetic makeup was designed by Conor O’Sullivan & Jo Allen; Stuart Conran & Robin Schoonraad were prosthetic technicians; Paul Engelen was Nicole Kidman’s personal makeup artist. Wigs were by Peter Owen. Dr Mitchell Cassel of Studio Optix provided the contact lenses. GA Enterprises provided Nicole Kidman’s prosthetic dentalwork.