Made up in technicolor hues of acid pink, green, and orange, supermodel Kristen McMenamy rides an emotional rollercoaster in this short for MAC’s Reel Sexy makeup collection directed by husband Miles Aldridge. To bring to life Aldridge’s off-kilter imagery, MAC’s Senior Vice President and Group Creative Director James Gager cast McMenamy as the histrionic heroine for the meta-movie performance. “There is nothing that isn’t dramatic about Kristen, from her statuesque body and long gray hair, to the way she carries herself,” he says. “It was an amazing experience to watch her because she was literally watching nothing on the screen. She gave all this great emotion and was so much into it that she actually cried.” For the vivid palette, Gager took his cues from the larger-than-life world of Hollywood’s leading ladies who regularly use MAC makeup, whether on film sets, front covers, or the red carpet. While McMenamy is made up in MAC’s trademark bold fashion, the products can be worn as sheer washes of pastel color too, says Gager: “It brings a sophistication to the look.” Here, McMenamy and Aldridge test their knowledge of each other’s cinematic leanings.
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Nowness: What would be the movie title to Miles/Kristen’s life?
Kristen: "La Dolce Vita. He has watched the film a million times and it captures the essence of how Miles sees life: meaningful and meaningless at the same time and full of both love and emptiness, as well as beautiful women and continuous drama."
Miles: "The Queen is Dead, Long Live the Queen, because of her renaissance."
Nowness: Which movie star would you cast to play Miles/Kristen in the story of their life?
Kristen: "Jim Carey would play him brilliantly, although Miles looks a bit like Tim Robbins, so if Carey is too expensive, I’d cast Robbins. Malcolm McDowell would be my third choice."
Miles: "It would have to be somebody from the 1940s because Kristen’s skin has that pale quality to it that Hollywood actresses had from that era. Joan Crawford would be prefect."
Nowness: What is Miles/Kristen’s favorite place to watch movies?
Kristen: "His all time favorite cinema is the Everyman in Hampstead, London. He likes the posh artsy cinemas, where they give you olives and martinis. That is the difference between us — I love the cheap Cineplex theatres where you can smell the popcorn, get the pick ‘n’ mix, and the big Diet Coke."
Miles: "Probably the Everyman cinema in Hampstead. We’ve been going there since we first met. We have so much history there. We’ve been there when she was pregnant with kids, then with the kids, you know, taking them to see films like Hellboy."
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Nowness: Is Miles/Kristen more likely to laugh out loud or cry silently during a movie?
Kristen: "I don’t think I’ve ever seen Miles cry watching a film. Laugh? Yes. He laughs the most when he watches a good funny film. He likes a sick moment… he likes the sick, funny moments." Miles: "She’s very emotional, so I think a bit of both. But I’d expect a tear to roll down her cheek if it was a heavy romantic or emotional scene."
Nowness: What’s on Miles/Kristen’s snack menu at the movies?
Kristen: "He’s a beer and nuts kind of guy."
Miles: "She’s a salty popcorn eater. The pink popcorn she eats in the MAC film was actually sprayed with paint and Kristen wasn’t meant to eat it. But nobody wanted to cut the action — she was so in character at that point — so we just let her eat."
Nowness: If Miles/Kristen could adapt any novel into a screenplay, what would it be?
Kristen: "He likes Martin Amis, so perhaps Experience [Amis’s autobiography]. As for me, I think they’ve got to do the Mötley Crüe biography The Dirt — it’s genius. It’s rock ‘n’ roll, drugs, sex, and drama. When I read that book I was laughing and crying, it’s so touching, you wouldn’t believe it."
Miles: "Maybe Tess of the d'Urbervilles, like a Thomas Hardy, rural sort of story… she likes those kinds of women."