Makeup designer James MacKinnon began his career working on Star Trek: The Next Generation, First Contact, and Deep Space Nine, where he got his first Emmy nomination. He has since won six Emmys over his career, including awards for both Discovery and Picard season 1. On Star Trek Day (held a few days after he lost out at the Emmys for Picard season 2 to Stranger Things), TrekMovie had a chance to briefly with MacKinnon about his work on season 2 and what to expect from him and his team for season 3.
Firstly, condolences for not picking up another Emmy for season 2 of Picard, but I guess you don’t have to make more room on your shelf now.
I know, right? Well, that category was so full of great, great artists. I never like to lose, but I don’t mind losing to five amazing friends that did beautiful, beautiful work. We all pulled it out of the lake this last weekend for the shows.
Looking back at Picard season 2, what was your biggest challenge? Was it the Borg Queen?
Yeah, it was the Queen. It’s not recreating a Borg Queen that is from our past, but a new Borg Queen that has a new look, a new style. And it is for the new century that we’re doing the makeup, so silicone is now used. Back on First Contact, it was all foam latex. So technology and cameras have changed, so we have to elevate as artists as well, and change in our applications. So being able to do that—it was a four-hour makeup with sixteen pieces. Annie [Wersching] was a trooper. We did it a lot of times, that was the funnest makeup for the season.
As a vet of DS9, was it a sort of homecoming [working] with Michael [Dorn] for season 3?
Yeah. You have already seen Worf on Picard. Just to be able to recreate and elevate Michael Westmore’s makeup from DS9 to a current-day version with Michael Dorn was a true, true pleasure.
Did you get the time in the chair for him down compared to the Westmore days?
Oh yeah. We got the time in the chair down. Obviously, the test always takes longer, and then each day you do it does go faster. Foam latex back in the day is opaque, so you have to paint the depth. Now, with silicone, it’s see-through so you got to splatter the depth. And then there is a lot more airbrushing, it was like acrylic paints back in the day.
Can you talk more about the makeup challenges from season 3?
And I can’t say much more about the looks, but you guys are going to be shitting your pants when you see what I can’t talk about.
I know you said you wanted a chance to do the Borg again years before you got the chance for season 2, so are there any other bucket list aliens you got to do for season 3?
I got to do three.
Three you have never done before on Star Trek?
Yeah. It’s going to be fun.
More Picard from Star Trek Day
And here again is the trailer released on Star Trek Day.
Star Trek: Picard season 3 arrives Thursday, Feb. 16, 2023, exclusively on Paramount+ in the U.S. Following its premiere, new episodes of the 10-episode long final season will be available to stream weekly on Thursdays. Picard streams exclusively on Paramount+ in the U.S. and is distributed concurrently by Paramount Global Content Distribution on Amazon Prime Video in more than 200 countries and territories. In Canada, it airs on Bell Media’s CTV Sci-Fi Channel and streams on Crave.
Keep up with news for the Star Trek Universe at TrekMovie.com.