Hair, Make-Up & Prosthetics Teams Discuss
Their Process While Recreating a Historical Manhunt

by Colleen LaBaff | Department Head Hair Designer &
Robin Beauchesne | Department Head Make-up/designer &
Vincent Van Dyke  | Prosthetics Make-Up Designer

Julie DeLaney | Asst. Hair Dept.
Bryan Gonzalez | Key Hair
Kimberly Cutter | Hair stylist


Manhunt was a fascinating project to be involved with, yet the ambitious schedule and the show’s time period (1862-1865) were extremely challenging. I was hired at the last minute and knew this was not going to be an easy project. I was sent the first two scripts right away, and did my breakdowns, noting there were 56 actors in the first two episodes. After viewing hundreds of pictures of Lincoln, we finally all agreed on one specific photo to use, then Robin Beauchesne and I began to collaborate, with Vincent Van Dyke joining the team. 

L-R: Lili Taylor as Mary Todd Lincoln; Hamish Linklater as Abraham Lincoln. Phot courtesy of Apple TV+

I looked at every documentary I could find. I began gathering research materials and created separate boards for every iconic character we were to portray. I knew the styles of the men and women back then would be a challenge on every level. We gathered selfies of all cast members. It seemed everyone had the shortest hair ever! I had to be super creative to make this all possible, knowing that wigs, partials, and toupees would pave the way. I had my wig stock to begin, about 250 wigs.

I rented another stock of wigs from Randa Squillacote and bought all my textured hair from Kim Kimble. There was Afro tech and braiding hair to do, so I began right away making all Civil War wigs and other options on Styrofoam heads. My first job was to create Mary Lincoln wigs.

Our team had two oven dryers, which came in very handy and helped in making all the women’s wigs straight and flat as possible for this period. I loved all the center parts back in that time on the women’s styles, and we added braiding hair and extensions to many wigs to achieve the looks. We used flexi rods on the extensions and added to the lower back of the wigs that were not long enough We had many wig fittings prior to shooting and had to cut up various long wigs for the male actors, which was another challenge. Some of the actors had time to grow their hair out. Anthony Boyle played John Wilkes Booth and to help during the hot summer days and nights, we permed the top of his hair. I did do a few looks for Booth on flashback and flash-forward scenes. We added real gray hair to Mary Surratt’s wig and almost every wig we used was enhanced with color, extension, braiding hair, and cuts.

All hair stylists used gels, creams, and oils to make it look like the characters hadn’t washed their hair in years. Texture was put into all styles using mini-curling irons, wet sets, and rollers with lotta-body setting lotion. Very little spray was used, and we tried to keep all the looks raw and real. We used movie blood and real dirt for FX looks.

During the run of the show, we had to do tests on every new actor for approvals, which became another full-time job. We involved BG supervisor Jason and assistant BG Betty Lou to work on very specific looks on the courtroom judges for the finale. The war room scenes were important as well, and the entire team and extra BG were fantastic keeping the continuity on all the specialty looks for many months. Bravo to everyone.

Costume designer Katie Irish, Robin and the hair team had everything down to a science on daily fittings. Our show runner Monica Beletsky was very pleased with our authentic looks.

Throughout the run of the show, Lincoln’s hair was colored, cut, and left shaggy, with a beautiful lace piece on his front hairline.

Mary Lincoln had two lace wigs, one with braided hair intertwined. On the Frederick Douglass wig, I ventilated the whole front hairline with white Afro tech and added white throughout the front of the wig. The real character had an odd style shape, and it took a minute to get used to. 

Andrew Johnson, played by Glenn Morshower, had a beautiful gray and white wig, which was a women’s 12” wig cut to his character length.

John Billingsley as Judge Joseph Holt only had a few strands of hair on top, so I used a lace toupee on top of his hair to achieve his character look. Nick Westrate as Booth’s brother, Edwin, wore a 3.4 wig using his front and sides. The list goes on, but someone always had something on their head and face to transform into the iconic characters of the time period.

Colleen LaBaff with Hamish Linklater

Manhunt was one of the most complex production experiences in my career. It was tough, rough, and crazy at times, but very exciting and rewarding! I am so proud of everyone’s talents in creating the looks for all the characters on Manhunt. Thanks to all who traveled far and wide from Miami, New York, Atlanta, Charleston, to join us to make this series.

317 wigs and pieces

134 main actors (with double wigs)

70 stunts and wranglers. We had to change the stunts
    to at least four different looks with wigs

Day players 

422 costume looks 

4,500 background artists 

Thank you to everyone! Special thanks to Mary Lampert, Ann Bray, Marie Blalon, Jon Carter, Isaac Grnya, Evelyn Roach, Darlene Majesky, Ashton Glasser, Patricia Glasser, Jessica Dobson, Kari Delaney, Wanda Edwards, Robert Wilson, Charmaine Balcerdak, Lance Aldridge, John Tarro, Kat Schur, Shelby Zimmerman, Sherri Bramlett, Joe Negrete, Jennifer Santiago, Sonya Riviere, Andrea Brotherton, Venus Fears, JC Davis, and Maurice Bramante. •


Department Heading a project of this nature, I knew this was going to be a huge undertaking that involved subject matter that required the utmost detail. We would be bringing make-up artistry to the highest level and take people back in time, replicating real life historical characters in 1865.

Research was our focus moving forward. I knew I had to lock in a mass quantity of facial hair … calling in the troops. A big thank you to Zoe Hay, Ve Neill, Christien Tinsley, Eryn Krueger Mekash, Trefor Proud, as well as Ann-Maree Hurley, who skillfully made custom pieces for several of the main cast. Facial hair was very specific to each person. It also showed social standing and hierarchy. We were matching specific looks so lace pieces, hackled overlay hair of every color mixed and blended, Afro tech, and hand-laid hair were applied to every actor, including lace eyebrows. We wanted to showcase period facial hair, as it’s a dying art.

It was very important to establish the essence of Lincoln and without hesitation, I called Vincent Van Dyke. I am grateful to him and his team for their impeccable work.

We had 409 numbered cast and a make-up team of four throughout seven episodes. At times, we had to double-team making sure we got everyone done on time. We were able to get a full beard with mustache, overlay hair, curled and styled down to 25 minutes, and didn’t stop. Yes, it looked like a bomb went off in the trailer every morning but we all would thank each other for jumping in—great teamwork throughout. We would crank the music, do a dance and go to set. Even though subject matter was heavy at times, we still had to keep our spirits lifted.

It was essential to bring grainy authenticity and elements to what people of the time were going through and felt. Sullen pale skin tones were added to bring the sadness to the scenes. Colors of maroon, pink, brown and gray were stippled and airbrushed making the skin look raw and gritty with reflections of sweat and adding blood with stages of severity that was also used on the soldiers of the Civil War. Reshaping individual features, utilizing techniques of highlighting and shadowing to the nose, eyes, cheekbones, and jawline refining distinct features making each cast member look as close as they could to whom we were replicating without prosthetics.

I felt it was important to give an genuine glow and “realness” to all of our women with their varying ethnicities making it authentic to the era. Powered beauty make-up adding a sprinkle of color to the cheeks and lips with a natural glow reshaping and filling in eyebrows enabled us to showcase high-society patrons attending the Ford Theater, including stylized beards and mustaches, sideburns, goatee’s, and mutton chops. 

Tobias Menzies, who played Stanton, and Anthony Boyle as Booth had significant make-up changes which highlighted their perseverance and determination that escalated to deteriorating health issues in the 12-day manhunt. Booth had several signature looks, he was a “dandy.” His style changed, including his iconic mustache, also adding a tattoo of his initials on his hand and a small scar on his cheek. Old-age stipple was used around the eyes and forehead for a subtle aging hue and a glazing of light powered dirt gel to individual lines around the eyes, forehead and neck, marbling colors of discoloration purposely giving a uneven texture for a finished look.

In addition, there were 4,500 background actors portraying integral roles which we interchanged into three to four different characters and looks for the war room and courtroom scenes with various distinctive looks.

I am so grateful for my amazing team: Ann-Maree Hurley, Kim Collea, Nikki Imani Brown and Vanessa Dionne, who was our background supervisor. Also, a big thank you to our exceptional hardworking background artists: Randi Arroyo, Dave Dupuis, Teresa Vest, Andy Wright, Cori Adkins, Char Coats-Crump, Midian Crosby, Dhyana Forte, Ren Rohling, Heather Grippaldi and Bryan Reynolds.

Coming to work every day and working with such an incredible cast and crew made this project very special.

We were “The Little Choo-Choo That Could!” •


Manhunt was a uniquely special project. It hit a lot of notes that resonate with me on multiple levels.

Hamish Linklater. Photo by Matt Sprunger.

When I received a call from make-up designer and Dept. Head Make-up Robin Beauchesne, it was a fast and easy yes to come aboard and create Lincoln on the wonderful Hamish Linklater, who we had previously worked with on Angelyne.

Hamish has a wonderful look and a great canvas to work with, but poses quite a few proportional and anatomical contradictions to the real Lincoln. I wanted to try and hollow him out as much as possible while keeping the prosthetics as thin as possible, and really only adding where it felt necessary.

My approach is always less is more, and in likeness make-ups like this, the goal is more the essence then a duplicate of the person. So, it’s a balancing act to find what works and push Hamish into some of the quintessential Lincoln characteristics while also maintaining some of his own and allowing performance to prevail.

One of the choices was to give a bit more of a receding hairline, and allow us to utilize a custom lace front that could match up a bit more closely to Lincoln’s own hairline, beautifully created by Sasha Camacho Van Dyke who also handled two versions of the infamously iconic beard.

Colleen LaBaff was the Dept. Head Hair Designer for the show, and we discussed his partial front heavily, so that we were also matching to what she was doing with the rest of Hamish’s own hair that would be exposed and utilized.

To complete this look, custom contact lenses were used to shift Hamish’s brown eyes a steel blue. This was then stacked with a full scleral lens that would age the white of his eye as well, both being painted by Cristina Patterson.

The on-set team was led by Thom Floutz and Glen Griffin who handled the Lincoln look, Matt Sprunger also stepped in on multiple occasions as well.

Lincoln is a character that has been duplicated by so many in our industry by make-up artists and actors alike. His gravitas and unique characteristics have made him an appealing subject, one that I had hoped to have an opportunity to take a crack at in my career. With this opportunity, I certainly felt immense pressure but also great excitement in approaching this design. When I started to block out this sculpture, it was quite tricky to find the balance that was needed while still addressing those key likeness points. Ultimately after our initial test make-up I felt as though we found a place that managed to bring the likeness and subtlety while also allowing Hamish to shine through. His overall prosthetic look consisted of cheeks prosthetics, nose, ear prosthetics and pieces to push them out, lower lip/chin and a pate piece.

Aside from Lincoln, there were also a variety of other prosthetic pieces that we created for the show such as Seward’s facial gash and Booth’s broken leg which was a full wrap around lower leg appliance for an internal closed fracture break which progressively gets worse throughout the hunt. This leg was lightly pre-painted and had hand punched hair as well. Which along with the other odds and ends were wonderfully applied by Dave Dupuis.

A huge thanks to the entire team at my studio Vincent Van Dyke Effects Inc. for their work across the season in producing all of the prosthetics for the show. •