Episode 34: We speak with Makeup and spfx artist Tami Lane, Tami started her career with one heck of a BANG, having been in the industry only a handful of years, with a few films under her belt, Tami went on to win an Oscar for her work with Howard Berger for Narnia – The lion the witch and the wardrobe. Tami shares with us her career journey, how taking risks throughout her career has been rewarding and how she ended up in Middle earth for way longer than planned ..
Tami Lane was born and raised in Peoria, Illinois USA. During her high school days, she became involved with the local community theaters. While working on a number of productions and haunted houses, Tami discovered her love for makeup, especially make up effects. Tami attended Bradley University majoring in Art. During her college days, she had the opportunity to travel to Los Angeles for a 2 week class that introduced her to the entertainment industry. One of the places she went to visit was KNB EFX Group, Inc where she met Howard Berger, Greg Nicotero, and Bob Kurtzman.
She had finally discovered what she wanted to do. With the advice of Howard, Tami went back to Bradley and graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Art. Two weeks after graduating, Tami and 4 friends drove cross country to Los Angeles to start their new lives. Tami then proceeded to call Howard to see about a possible job. After weeks of nothing back finally Howard called Tami and asked if she was available as the company got a big job (SPAWN) and needed extra hands. Tami started off cleaning molds and sweeping floors. During her early years, many of the artists working at KNB took Tami under their wings and showed her everything from mold making, to casting, to painting. It was like going back to school again, learning everything about make up effects from the ground up.
She graduated from cleaning molds to painting creatures to finally being asked to go on location by Greg Nicotero for John Carpenter’s Vampires. She was only supposed to go for a week to help set up but ended up staying for the entire show and was asked to do 2 lead hero make ups. After coming back from New Mexico, Greg had suggested to Howard that he should take Tami with him on his next venture. So, Howard did and that was the beginning of a very long friendship and working relationship. Tami worked for KNB on numerous productions for nearly 4 years until she got a call from Richard Taylor in New Zealand. Weta was looking for one more on-set prosthetic artist for Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Reluctant to leave KNB, Howard had encouraged Tami to take advantage of this opportunity. (He fired her) So 5 days later Tami was on a plane to New Zealand to embark on a whole new adventure. The job was only supposed to be for 15 months but had gone on for 4 years. During her stay in New Zealand she became a permanent resident and later citizen of New Zealand and worked at Weta Workshop on and off for a few years. She also worked on other films and managed to create a new life in New Zealand. Then the call came from Howard Berger. He was doing The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe which happened to be filming in New Zealand and offered her the Key Prosthetics position in 2004.
Howard and Tami were reunited again, and it paid off as Narnia won Howard, Tami and team the Academy Award for best make up in 2006. Tami remained in New Zealand working on other productions like Superman Returns and Without a Paddle until Howard called Tami and offered her more work with KNB and he thought she should come home for a while. In January of 2006, Tami moved back to LA. She resumed her career at the side of Howard Berger. Through the next 5 years, Tami was sent all over the world from Morocco where she supervised the make up effects for KNB for Hills Have Eyes 2, Toronto for Splice, Boston for Surrogates, Prague for Prince Caspian and Albuquerque for Fright Night (Colin Farrell’s personal as well as Makeup FX Key). Tami has been the Key Prosthetics artist for all 3 Narnia films: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Prince Caspian and Voyage of the Dawn Treader.
One of her highlights was being the personal make up artist for Thai, the elephant from Water for Elephants, where she applied Rosie’s wounds as if to make it look like she had been beaten. Back in November of 2010, Thanksgiving Day to be exact, Tami got the biggest call of her career. Her old work collegues from Lord of the Rings called and offered her the Prosthetics Supervisor position on the long anticipated THE HOBBIT Trilogy, which gave Tami her second Oscar Nomination in 2012 for The Hobbit, An Unexpected Journey. After completing an additional 2 years in New Zealand, Tami returned to the US. Some of the projects she worked on were The Program (Ben Fosters personal), and Concussion (Albert Brook’s personal).
Tami had also teamed back up with long time colleague, Howard Berger on The Amazing Spiderman 2, Deepwater Horizon and Patriots Day. She went on tobe the make up designer for The Shallows as well as be Blake Lively’s personal and Doug Liman’s The Wall. In 2015, Tami was nominated for an Emmy for Sons of Anarchy “Faith and Despondence”. Teaming up with the Makeup Designer, Tracey Anderson from Sons of Anarchy, Tami was off to Chicago for the Fox TV Series, The Exorcist (Season 1). Tami continued in TV as the Co-Department Head of Makeup and Makeup Effects, as well as Seth MacFarlane’s personal, for Season 1 of The Orville and Department Head of Makeup of The Orville Season 2. Then Tami teamed up with Bill Corso for the Nicole Kidman film, Destroyer. Tami was reunited again with Berger to Co-Department Make up Head on Spenser Confidential andKey Makeup FX Artiston Legion (Season 3). The latest project Tami was the Department Head of Makeup FX (representing KNB EFX Group Inc.) before the Covid 19 shutdown was the anticipated graphic novel by Mark Millar, Jupiter’s Legacy.