If you’ve been paying any attention to Oscars predictions for 2011, you’re probably familiar with Natalie Portman’s role in director Darren Aronofsky’s film Black Swan. Natalie Portman portrays Nina Sayers, a striving ballet dancer hoping to play both the innocent white swan and the wicked black swan in a production of “Swan Lake.” While CGI had a big role in Portman going from beauty to beast, she had some help from a very special pair of fashion contact lenses.
Kevin Carter and his wife Ginni started their own theatrical eye effects business in the mid-90’s and 9mm SFX has since become a hot destination for directors and make up artists looking to give their characters a spooky twist.
Since starting his business, Carter’s work has appeared in over 100 films including 300, Hellboy II: The Golden Army, and Resident Evil: Afterlife. “They’re soft contact lenses, regular day wear. We use a tiny paintbrush and we actually use dyes, not paint,” Carter told Oregon Live. Each pair of contact lenses takes several hours and Carter works sans magnifying glass.
Though he often doesn’t get to see the set or meet the actors, Carter still gets satisfaction from positive feedback about his handiwork. “Having Guillermo del Toro say ‘I love your lenses!’ was the greatest thing ever,” he says, referring to his work on the Hellboy sequel.
Carter, who hails from Medford, Oregon, got his start working for his father making therapeutic contact lenses before a love of horror films drew him to his current calling.