Playing detective was the name of the game on last night’s episode of Face Off, which took inspiration – and featured special guests! – from another show in SyFy’s NBCUniversal family, the monster-hunting procedural Grimm. The four remaining contestants were tasked with surveying a crime scene, determining what kind of creature could have committed the gruesome murder laid out before them, and sculpting their vision into a character.
With the help of Grimm writer/producer Richard Hatem, the judges came to the decision to eliminate Roy Wooley.
EW talked to Roy about getting to meet other talents from Grimm (actor Silas Weir Mitchell and series makeup artist Barney Burman), why he believes the twist to bring back an eliminated contestant was unfair and how the Halloween season has been keeping him busy.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What did you think of your snake design?
ROY WOOLEY: I personally love my final design. I’ve been watching Grimm for years. All the creatures on that show, even the dragon – they all had hair. The judges had an issue with the hair [on my character], but everybody who watches the show knows that the creatures have hair. They’re hybrids with humans, and humans have hair! I don’t know why the judges had such an issue with me putting hair on the snake. I understand why Glenn had an issue with me taking it and just putting it through [its’ ears]. My whole thought was, ‘This is a female snake. She’s going to have ear piercings. Why not run hair through the piercing holes?’
What was it like to meet the special guests from Grimm?
Oh my goodness, that was incredible. We walked up and Silas [Weir Mitchell] was there. I knew right off the bat who he was. We saw the police car that had “Portland Police” on it, and I saw him and I was like, ‘Oh my God, it’s Monroe!’ We had done a take of us taking off and running past [Mitchell and host McKenzie Westmore], and they had to reset the cameras for us to do different camera angles, and on the way back – and I didn’t do this for anybody else – but when we came back, I said, ‘I gotta shake your hand. I love the show.’ We actually got to talk to him for a couple seconds when they were adjusting the lights and everything, and that was really incredible. Meeting [Grimm makeup artist] Barney Burman – oh my God, that was incredible. He had such great input on a piece that I had done. He actually came back after he did the walk-through and he goes, ‘If you do this right here, this’ll be really cool.’ I was like, ‘Wow, thank you!’
What specific advice did he give you?
It was something that the judges actually gave me crap about – I actually put nipples on the creature. In every talk that we had [with the judges], especially with Neville, they were like, ‘If you’re gonna do something, you need to do it right. There has to be a reason why you do things.’ I did this female snake with breasts on her. If she’s got breasts, you gotta have nipples. I thought I know I can’t show them. I’m gonna cover them up, but I know the judges are going to look and say, ‘OK, where’s the nipples?’ And actually, during the walk-through the first thing that Glenn did was open up the jacket and look at the breasts. The judges were like, ‘Why did you put nipples on it?’ And I was like, ‘Well, it’s because I knew that you guys would look.’ They would have given me crap if I hadn’t done it, but they gave me crap for doing it. The judges are incredible, but they were kind of weird that way. You never knew what they were going to like one week and not like the next week.
Why do you like to use big fabrication pieces for your designs?
As special effects artists, it’s not just about makeup. It’s about the overall piece. Sometimes that requires us to think about not just the face or the makeup, sometimes we’re actually called upon to make a full body suit or create a complete character. There are some characters out there that have been totally done by the special effects crew, no wardrobe department, no hair department. Part of the reason why I use fabrication is because I wanted to make a complete character and not have to count on the wardrobe or hair or anything like that to make my character, because then you know that it’s exactly what you want. I know that the judges got on me several times for not doing enough makeup, but I think with the exception of the kid challenge, I did a makeup on every single episode. It wasn’t what they consider a face makeup, but I did what every single artist in the field of special effects does every single day. I thought this was about the next best effects artist, not the next best makeup artist.
Is there one particular design you did on the show that you’re most proud of?
I was proud of every single one of them. There’s not one of them that I would do differently or take back. I feel like [I] was true to myself every single challenge. Even the last one that got me kicked off I wouldn’t change a thing. If I would have changed anything, it would have been the wardrobe.
How do you feel about the twist to bring an eliminated contestant back into the competition?
I’m kind of torn about that. Me, Nicole and Tommy became friends really fast ‘cause we would sit on the back patio and smoke, so it really sucked to see them go. The chance to have them come back I thought was great, and then I got to thinking about it. It’s like, ‘You know what? This really isn’t fair.’ I loved having Nicole back in the house, but a lot of the people in the house, even though they may not have voiced it, were pissed about it. She’s missed two challenges. She got to go home, she got to practice, she got to do research, she got to see her family, and none of us got to do that. We were still there, in the trenches every single week doing these challenges while she got to go home, refresh, practice. She knew where she had screwed up the first time. She knew what she needed to work on. There was a great change in her work between the time that she left and the time she came back. It’s almost like a different person came back. She was eliminated for a reason. [It’s difficult for me] because she came back and she’s in the finale and I’m not. It has nothing to do with Nicole, I don’t blame her one bit. We’re and I are really good friends and she knows that I love her to death, but she also knows that it’s a very painful subject for me.
Have you been watching the episodes as they air?
Me and my wife go up to a little bar that we met at. We have viewing parties, and a lot of our friends show up and watch it with us. It’s really weird. It’s very surreal seeing yourself on TV. I’m trying to watch the show because this is the first time that I’ve seen it from this angle. Even though I know what happens, we didn’t hear what the judges said during their little deliberations or their walk-throughs. [My friends], every single time come up to me and say, ‘So, Roy, how was this?’ And they try to get me to answer questions about things. It’s like, ‘I’m trying to watch the show!’ So normally, we’ll go to the bar and watch it, and then we’ll come home and watch it again just so we can hear it.
What have you been working on since you were eliminated?
I’ve spent the last two months playing catch-up for what I got behind on while I was on the show. It’s haunted house season, but I also worked on a movie project. I did a convention, DragonCon, which is kind of like the Comic-Con of the southeast. Derek and Laura actually came up from Miami and Orlando and stayed with me, so we all went to that, and CC is also here local. We all went and hooked up with RJ from last season. We had a blast doing that. CC is actually working at [Netherworld Haunted House in Atlanta] with me this year. We met on the show, and I didn’t know she was here. Before she left, I said, ‘Whenever you get home, if you want haunted house work in October, let me know, and I will hire you in a heartbeat,’ and she goes ‘Yes!’ So CC has actually been working with me at the haunt this year. It’s great that I get so see her every day because she’s an incredible artist.
It’s clear that you were able to teach your fellow contestants a few things – like how to make a spider web. What did you learn from them?
I think I learned the most from Rod. Rod has been such an incredible friend. He actually called me the day before yesterday because he knew that I was going to be eliminated. He taught me how to be more patient than I already thought I was. Rod probably taught me more just about being a better person, not being a better artist. There were a couple of people who taught me about being more creative, especially people like Laura and Derek. They’re both incredible artists. Anything that Derek drew, when he made it, it looked almost exactly like his drawing. That’s something that I strove for on the show. The [makeup looks] that I think I did the worst on were the ones where I didn’t sketch my idea out completely. All these kids have such incredible vision. They actually taught me a few things about going back and finding that creativity that I may have lost somewhere along the way.
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