INTERVIEW: Hair and Makeup Department Head Angel Hanes Makes WILD INDIAN Feel Gritty and Grounded

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Wild Indian stars Michael Greyeyes (Blood Quantum) as Michael, a man with a dark past that haunts him even while he creates an idyllic life for himself with a wife, child, beautiful home, and successful career. Hair and Makeup Department Head Angel Hanes made the film look its grittiest to match the compelling narrative. 

The film begins with two young Ojibwe boys on a reservation. Makwa, later to be known as Michael, is a smart kid but comes from an abusive home. Life’s not easy for Makwa, but he’s got a friend named Teddo, played by Chaske Spencer (Woman Walks Ahead), to make things a little better. But things change for both boys in drastic ways when Makwa kills another classmate. Makwa manipulates Teddo into staying silent about the incident for the rest of their lives. Holding that secret takes its toll on both boys as they grow into men. The film also features Jesse Eisenberg (Man of Steel) and Kate Bosworth (Superman Returns).

PopAxiom spoke with Angel Hanes about getting hair right and the challenges of tattoos, bruises, and more.

Look Polished

Angel’s journey got started in hair school “Back in 2013, I started along with makeup, but I lean more towards a passion for hair. I did that on a client basis while I honed my skills.”

“I’m from Oklahoma,” she continues, “and I worked on a couple of music videos. Then, I moved out to New York and stepped into men’s grooming a little bit more and more aspects of television and film along with red carpet events and things like that.”

Angel loves “doing hair in all capacities and every variation of it. So, I’m always excited when I get to set to do hair and makeup.”

From the red carpet to a film set, what’s the difference? “Definitely, on set, it always has an elevated feel. There’s an aspect of collaboration. On set, I’m there to make them look good for the scene. At a red carpet event, I’m here to make people look their best.”

“In a film,” she continues, “you’re looking for what the character is supposed to embody. So I think it’s possible to overstate the job. You’re not there to make people look polished. Your job is to make sure it matches the scene.”

wild indian-film-interview-hair stylist

About Wild Indian

Wild Indian’s story, like many films, was shot out of order but also features characters at two different times in their life, “so cutting hair regularly and reapplying tattoos,” was vital, Angel says, “There’s a lot of maintenance to keep the look throughout the picture. Sometimes it’s more challenging than others.”

The adult version of Teddo features many tattoos, including some very visible ones on his face. “Those are things that keep me up at night,” she muses. “The tattoos and the physical abuse aspects we had to add were a challenge.”

Makwa’s abuse is a tough aspect of the first act of the film. “The bruise has stages, and we’re also shooting out of order. So, it was a challenge to keep things consistent. We had the physical abuse aspect of the character, but we also used his hair as part of his mental state.”

“Hiding tattoos is a fun one,” she adds. “Every actor seems to have hidden ones. They’ll go and change a shirt, and you’ll be like, ‘where did that come from?’”

Surprises are around every corner on a film set, so Angel says she’s “always thankful for extra hands-on set like Hanna on Wild Indian. It always takes a team for sure.”

“You have to understand your craft,” she says about this one tiny detail in the film, “to know when you’re intentional and when you’re being disrupting. I think once you set an intention with the characters, you can maintain it, but if you’re not intentional, it might not be cohesive, fit the genre, or the decade.”

Angel’s preparation process includes what she calls content overload. “I watch things that I think will assist me in what I’m doing.”

Wrapping Up

“A big inspiration for me was [hair stylist] Oribe,” Angel shares. “He created this line, Oribe, that elevated the industry dramatically. He gave artists tools to create tremendous looks.”

“In makeup,” she continues, “one of my big inspirations is Sian Richards, who worked on films like Black Panther. She designed special FX makeup palettes that I use.”

Angel loves makeup and hair, but she’s “most passionate about men’s grooming. “I’m picky about when people put makeup on men but don’t bring back out their eyelashes and eyebrows; they start to look one-dimensional. You might have evened out his skin tone, but all his facial hair is gone. I think when you lose those features, you lose characters. Sometimes people do too much and don’t focus on the natural aspect of humans.”

“I would love to do a Wes Anderson-esque film,” she replies about a dream project. “I love the whimsicalness and intentionality of all of it. Doing hair and makeup for that would be next level. There’s so much that goes into that, and it would be exciting. I’d also love something like a Marvelous Ms. Maisel.”

Wild Indian is available on demand. So, what’s next for Angel? One answer: a lot. “I have three movies on Lifetime right now, all with fun names. We have Deadly Debutantes, How I Met Your Murderer, and College Professor Obsession. I did hair for Model House, a horror-thriller that we shot here in Oklahoma.” She’s also putting together a production company for the growing film industry in Oklahoma.

Is Wild Indian on your watch list?  

Thanks to Angel Hanes and Lumos PR
for making this interview possible.

Find more interviews from Ruben R. Diaz right here!

Ruben Diaz
Writer, film-fanatic, geek, gamer, info junkie & consummate Devil's advocate who has been fascinated by Earth since 1976. Classically trained in the ways of the future.