It may not be the Oscars, but if tonight’s results of the 44th Annual Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Films is any indication of influence on that other Academy (which it usually isn’t) then get prepared for a Black Panther wave at the Dolby Theatre next February.


Michael B. Jordan’s unforgettable performance as the character Killmonger in Marvel’s historic, box office smash movie Black Panther apparently required a lot of time and patience on the rising actor's part in preparing to take the screen and show his talents each day of the shoot.

To prepare for the role, Jordan had to be covered with 3,000 prosthetic dots made from a glue-like material. The dots were used as the scars on Killmonger that represented each person he’s killed. Joel Harlow has extensive experience with doing makeup for movies and he nailed Killmonger's enhancements.


If Wakanda were a real place, its tourism would be booming right now. Black Panther is a visual feast that celebrates the best of Africa in bold and colorful ways through a fantasy utopia. Visiting the theater is the closest fans can come to seeing Wakanda up close, and they were rewarded with well researched and stunning designs. The makeup design, production design, and costume design were so enveloping that people were actually searching for flights to Wakanda. The world co-writer and director Ryan Coogler created with his incredible team has resulted in a historic film: Black Panther cracked the top ten highest-grossing films in history. Makeup designer and department head Joel Harlow said there was a ‘wealth of research’ invested in the film that gave the story credibility.


As we type this, Black Panther has become the second biggest Marvel film ever. Since its February 16 release, the film has made over  $637 million at the box office. Whether it’s the fierce warrior women of Wakanda or its visually stunning sets and the futuristic technologically advanced world, it’s a revolution.

Among the team and creatives putting the look together is makeup artist, Joel Harlow.  Read our chat below about how Harlow and his team developed the makeup for the film.


 When Oscar winner Joel Harlow received a call in early 2016 from executive producer Jeffrey Chernov, with whom he’d worked on Star Trek, the makeup designer was merely told to keep the end of his year open. “Jeffrey was going to be producing Black Panther,” Harlow recalled of the highly-anticipated Marvel Studios project. “Anything Jeffrey asked me to do, I’m all aboard. It was doubly exciting—I knew it would pose a lot of challenges.”


Since it hit theaters six weeks ago, the only thing in the movie world that gets people as excited as “Black Panther” is kids re-enacting “Black Panther.”

One of those kids has even gone viral. A boynamed Jordan wrapped himself in a purple bath towel to dress up as Wakanda’s wise mentor, Zuri, even going so far as to faithfully recreate the ceremonial face paint worn by Forest Whitaker as he declared that “the power of the Black Panther will be stripped away.”

The man who designed that facepaint, makeup artist Joel Harlow, has worked on hit films such as “Logan,” “Pirates of the Caribbean” and “Star Trek,” the latter of which earned him an Oscar. But seeing kids like Jordan recreate his work as they dress up as Zuri, Okoye, and Nakia has been one of the greatest rewards in his career.


Oscar winner and Black Panther makeup artist Joel Harlow has a long list of credits to his name. He is the man behind the makeup on films and shows such as Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, Star Trek and Star Trek: Beyond (for which he won the Oscar for Best Achievement in Makeup), Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Mad Men, X-Men, and Logan. Most recently Harlow brought his talents to Black Panther where he was responsible for creating the tribal makeup, scars, and tattoos.

We spoke to Harlow about the challenges of working on a film like Black Panther and the process of combining the traditional with the futuristic.


There are superhero movies, and then there's Black Panther: A true piece of cinematic genius that takes the viewer on a glorious, action-packed, and thought-provoking ride from start to finish. Don't even get me started on the records it smashed or underrepresented audiences it served. As of today's date, the Marvel superhero flick broke yet another box office record by topping $1.1 billion worldwide.

That said, when I got the chance to interview Joel Harlow, the Academy Award-winning makeup designer and department head behind Black Panther, I was understandably excited to do so. He filled me in on how he and his team brought the incredible Wakandan ritual makeup, tribal masks, detailed body modification and tattoo art of the film to life. Wakanda forever


Saturday, 03 March 2018 19:09

What is a Cult Film? - Joel Harlow

Since its debut, Black Panther has evolved from a movie to a cultural phenomenon with its epic tale of the technologically advanced society of Wakanda, an El Dorado-like land in Africa. As the first of its kind, the Hollywood pros behind the film had to combine centuries of African tradition and their own universe-bending creativity to bring this story alive. For director Ryan Coogler, makeup designer Joel Harlow, who worked on the sets of Star Trek Beyond, the Pirates of the Caribbean series, Green Lantern and Alice Through the Looking Glass, was a clear choice.