Elizabeth Reaser began her guest-starring role on Grey’s Anatomy without her own face on the screen, not exactly the ideal situation for an up-and-coming actress making a break on a hit show. Reaser’s character, so far called “Jane Doe,” is a pregnant woman whose face is smashed when she is badly injured in the ferry accident. (Her role was previously announced as a psychiatrist – we’ll have to wait and see whether that’s still the plan.)
But that was only the first episode of nine for Reaser, and as the story arc continues, the makeup and special effects that rendered her nearly unrecognizable last week will gradually give way to her own face as her character slowly recovers from her injuries.
While in reality Jane Doe’s face would have been in even worse shape after that precise event, with her eyes not visible, that would have interfered with the storyline, so Grey’s Anatomy medical advisor Linda Klein worked with special effects wizardry couple Tom Burman and Bari Dreiband-Burman to find a realistic middle ground.
“You can shoot our work really tight because of the detail and care that we put into it,” said Dreiband-Burman. The Burmans, who are Emmy-award-winning makeup artists, have been working on Grey’s Anatomy as well as Nip/Tuck for some time; they also designed the drill effect in the ferry-accident episodes.
Reaser, nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for her work on the movie Sweet Land, and probably best known for her work on The Family Stone and the medical drama Saved, says that seeing herself in the silicone facial mask after the initial three-hour session to apply it was “intense…It really scared me.”
-Mel, BuddyTV Staff Columnist