Syfy's make-up show "Face Off" returns on August 21 with more out-of-this-world special-effects design and bigger and broader challenges. McKenzie Westmore, once again, hosts the series. Her dad, Michael, is an industry legend having designed for "Star Trek," "Mask," and so much more. She herself once considered a career in make-up, and even studied for a while, but instead followed her passion for acting. Rejoining the judges' panel is three-time Oscar-winner Ve Neill, responsible for the special effects make-up in films like "Beetlejuice," "The Hunger Games," and "Pirates of the Caribbean." In a recent conference call, Westmore and Neill gave us a sneak peek at what to expect this go around.
Great guest judges
This season, as in the past, guests will join the regular judges to help determine that episode's winner and loser. Fans can look forward to seeing actor Sean Astin ("Lord of the Rings"), director Kevin Smith ("Red State"), producer Gale Anne Hurd ("The Walking Dead"), actor Matthew Wood ("Star Wars"), boxer Laila Ali, and more.
Westmore explained how they get such great talent, "There are some people that are dying to be on the show, and they're loving it. And there are some people that we always reach out to, to see if they're interested, especially if it's a particular challenge, and it fits them. We have an array of amazing guest judges this year. We start off with Sean Astin with the very first foundation challenge."
Bigger and better challenges
According to Neill the challenges are "bigger and broader" this season. There will be more full body work and some difficult hurdles for the contestants to conquer. Neill stated, "The opening show is going to be absolutely spectacular. We have some of the best talent we have had on the show in a long time. So, I'm pretty happy about that." Coming up this season is a Dr. Seuss challenge for which Brian Grazer, producer of "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," is a guest judge. Other challenges include pirates, cyborgs, Chinese dragons, and super heroes. For one episode the series teamed up with Kids Say Yes to the Arts and brought in 7-year-olds with their sketches of monsters. The contestants had to bring their kid's imagination to life.
'Face Off' takes on 'Star Wars'
In the first episode, the players must take on one of the most iconic SFX make-up projects in the history of film - "Star Wars." Westmore and Neill were shocked to discover that a few of the players were so young, they had never seen the franchise before. Neill commented, "Some people just have the innate talent, and it just happens without them even trying. So it's really fun to see people's imaginations. To actually create an alien in the whimsical fashion when you've never seen the movie, we were all dumbfounded."
A new kid in town
Neill is joined on the judges panel again this season by Glenn Hetrick ("Heroes" and "The X-Files"). But this time around Neville Page is gone and is replaced by Patrick Tatopoulos ("Underworld" and "Resident Evil: Extinction"). Neill talked about the cast change. "I don't know that the dynamics itself has changed because Neville is also in the same field as Patrick, so we have that same creative juice flowing there… It's working very smoothing, really well. Not that we don't miss Patrick, because we do. But Neville has been an amazing addition to our panel, and we're very happy to have him because he is also quite a spectacular character himself, and it's really great to have him with us."
Audience participationUnlike past seasons, this time fans will get a say in who wins. There will be a live show on Halloween night and viewers can pick their favorite make-up. A winner will be announced in the next episode.
To take part in the process, tune in to the season premiere of "Face Off" on Tuesday, 8/21. at 9PM EST/8PM CST on Syfy.
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