“Yellowstone” doesn’t shy away from showing realistic depictions of violence and gore. With all that violence comes realistic-looking injuries that the special effects makeup team handles.
Earlier today, the show’s official Twitter account gave fans a deep dive into how the special effects makeup team recreates all the burns, scars, wounds, and sutures we see on the show. Abigail Steele, one of the makeup artists, talked a bit about how the team handles all these effects.
“We basically take our direction from the script, and at the end of the day it goes back to Taylor [Sheridan],” Steele explained in the video. Sheridan and the team make sure everything looks the best it can and “tells the story best.”
Steele and her “Yellowstone” team handle sutures and gunshot wounds the most, it seems, followed closely by burns and scars.
“It’s always a process of creating something that tells the story and looks like the real deal,” Steele said.
If you look at the video, the makeup artist explains how she mixes together different chemicals and ingredients to create a paste that thickens into burn marks on the skin. Steele used a ton of this mixture on “Yellowstone” star Kelly Reilly this season, after her character Beth survived an explosion.
To show the burn scars on Beth’s back, the special effects makeup team had to create an entire mold of her back that they applied the makeup to.
How ‘Yellowstone’ Makes Beth’s Realistic Scars Throughout the Seasons
One of Steele’s favorite effects was a scar that the team placed under “Yellowstone” star Kelly Reilly’s eye from when Beth got beat up in Season 2. For the majority of Season 2 and 3, Beth’s face was bruised and cut up from the experience, and Steele said they needed to use five different versions of the under-eye scar to show it shrinking and fading over time.
“It had to be slight enough that even with the nuance of her expression, it would move with her face like a real scar would,” Steele said. “It was just beautiful. And even into Season 4, it wasn’t a piece that she wore but a color. And it tells a story. This scar tells a story that the pain that she bore still remains on the outside.”
Reilly added, “There’s such dignity in Beth. She doesn’t really talk about what happened to her. We saw in Season 2 how much of a survivor she is. And then for Season 3, I still have the bruises. So they sort of start to fade throughout the show.”
But the true injuries lie much deeper than skin level. “It’s the emotional scars that took a long time to heal,” Reilly concluded. “I think Beth this season has sort of an invincible quality to her.”
Hear more from Reilly and Steele below in the behind-the-scenes “Yellowstone” video.