Altered States

Altered States

Special guest: Introduction by makeup artist Craig Reardon.

For William Hurt’s film acting debut in Ken Russell’s adaptation of Paddy Chayefsky’s novel about a psychopathologist who turns to self-experimentation hoping for higher consciousness, makeup artist Dick Smith metamorphosized Hurt in various innovative ways. For one “altered state,” Hurt was outfitted with a full-body foam latex suit; for another, air bladders were affixed to Hurt’s body to create an unsettling swelling effect. The achievements in Altered States, The Elephant Man, and other films released in 1980 led to the creation of the Makeup category at the Academy Awards, inaugurated at the 1981 ceremony, and renamed Makeup and Hairstyling in 2012.

DIRECTED BY: Ken Russell. WRITTEN BY: Paddy Chayefsky. WITH: William Hurt, Blair Brown, Bob Balaban, Charles Haid. 1980. 103 min. USA. Color. English. Rated R. DCP.

Academy Museum film programming generously funded by the Richard Roth Foundation. 

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