So often Madame Tussaud’s wax statues of celebrities look creepy and a little ‘off’, but the newest of actress Sandra Bullock, unveiled in New York yesterday, is an impressive likeness.
Actress Sandra Bullock, who has fifty films to her credit, turned 50 yesterday. With an Oscar, A Golden Globe and several other awards and nominations to her credit, her wax likeness was unveiled at Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum. To my ‘untrained non-waxpert eye’ it appears they closely studied the beautiful brunettes’ likeness from her 2010 red carpet appearance at the Oscars for her hair and face and put her in red, which always looks stunning on the popular crush-worthy actress.
above: The living, breathing version of Sandra Bullock on the Red carpet at the 2010 Oscars.
Below is a photo of the final touches being put upon the wax statue in New York for its east coast debut and birthday celebration:
And the final wax sculpture, complete with birthday cake to symbolize her 50th:
Wax sculpture photos: Cindy Ord/Getty Images.
How the wax sculptures at Madame Tussaud’s are made:
Firstly, the sculptors very carefully take hundreds of accurate measurements of the subject with traditional callipers and measuring tapes, along with a library of reference shots depicting the selected pose.
Each figure is perfectly sculpted in clay and this is used to create a mould from which the wax figure is created. A whopping 150kg of clay is used in the sculpting process.
A ‘piece mould’ of the head is made using fine quality plaster to reproduce the surface of the clay, which is then cast into a beeswax and Japan wax mix. Because they are made up of many separate pieces, the head moulds will last a long time. We have plaster piece moulds which are 200 years old, and fresh wax casts can be taken from these originals many times.
Molten wax, coloured with a dye and heated to a temperature of 165° F. is poured into the mould. The wax is then left to cool for the time it takes for the wax to harden to a 5/8-inch thickness. The surplus liquid wax is then poured away, leaving the hollow wax cast.
5. Removing The Mould
After further cooling for 1½ hours the pieces of the mould are carefully pulled away to reveal the wax head. At this stage the wax surface is interrupted by tiny ridges formed by the joints between each mould section. The sculptor carefully removes these seams. The head still retains wax eyes and these are melted away to make room for the acrylic eyes. The teeth, if showing, are treated in a similar way.
6. Hair Insertion
Expert hairstylists replicate our star’s hair right down to the last one. Ethically sourced human hair is inserted strand by strand and then cut to style. It is an incredibly delicate and involved process – taking around 6 weeks to insert a full head of hair.
Each pair of eyes takes approximately 10 hours to make. At the sitting, stock glass eyes are compared to the sitter’s own, and life-size colour transparencies are taken, so that our eye-making experts can reproduce the exact iris colours. Each eye is painted with watercolours with fine red silk thread used to create the veining lines, and the whole is cast into acrylic.
The figure is then coloured by a team of make-up artists. 20 different colours are used to recreate lifelike skin tones. 10 layers of oil paints are used to build up layers of colour on the face to give a translucency to the skin tones and a realistic texture and colour. Every freckle, mole, wrinkle and dimple is accurately reproduced.
9. The Finished Figure
Overall, it takes four months of specialist sculpting, moulding and colouring to create a Madame Tussauds wax figure. Each figure costs approximately $254,672.25 (£150,000)
The wax sculpture of Bullock had previously been launched in Madame Tussauds Las Vegas and then travelled for a brief stay in Madame Tussauds Hollywood. The Las Vegas branch of the world famous Madame Tussaud Wax Museums opened last November joining the others. If you want to visit any of the Madame Tussaud Wax Museums, you can buy tickets online with a 20% discount here.
Happy Birthday Sandra.