“The Ugly One is a story about beauty and identity and vanity and ambition. It follows the story of a man called Lette who invents a plug and he wants to present this plug at a convention but he’s told that he’s not able to present this plug because his face is unacceptable. And so he goes and gets plastic surgery to he can make his face more acceptable, but emerges as the most beautiful man ever to existed. And, then the world kind of spirals into madness.” - Roy Alexander Weise, Director
The ‘makeover’ has been a big part of film culture in the last twenty years or so. The shy, not particularly attractive main character gets an aesthetic upgrade in order to face society, but the consequences are not always the ones they expected. What will happen to The Ugly One’s Lette as he steps out of surgery as the most handsome man on earth? Perhaps these three makeover movies can help us find out…
My Fair Lady may quite possibly be the archetype of ‘makeover movies’. Eliza Doolittle (Audrey Hepburn), a poor flower seller with a strong Cockney accent, meets one night in Covent Garden Professor Henry Higgins (Rex Harrison) who bets he can pass her off as a duchess at an embassy ball only by teaching her the proper phonetics. Eliza gets a full-on makeover as well as diction lesson, and gets mistaken for a Hungarian princess. Nevertheless, she realises all her efforts have only turned her into a beautiful, proper shell. Professor Higgins does not care for her future and she no longer fits in her old life. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UDEKjNUmR6U&t=77s
Mean Girls is without a doubt the most quoted movie on the internet. Pushed by her friend Janis Ian (Lizzy Caplan), new girl Cady Heron (Lindsay Lohan) infiltrates the school’s hit girls close circle, the ‘plastics’ to get revenge on them and win the love of Aaron Samuels (Jonathan Bennett). The plan works perfectly and Cady moulds into one of the plastics, but the prettier she gets the uglier she becomes inside… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sT8wMBeVffk
As Lette knows, makeovers don’t just happen to women! In The Shape of Things nerdy English Lit student Adam Sorenson (Paul Rudd) meets attractive graduate art student Evelyn Ann Thompson (Rachel Weisz). Having never had much success with girls, Adam is flattered by Evelyn’s interest in him and lets her shape him into a more attractive man through a new hairstyle, new clothes, a new fitness regimen, and finally plastic surgery. Evelyn’s intentions, however, turn out to be less then noble, and Adam’s new beauty only breaks up his best friends’ relationship and leaves him lonelier than before.
Before the 2003 film, The Shape of Things was a new play at London’s Almeida in 2001 and featured the same cast. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5teEjd5esBA
The Ugly One is at Park Theatre from 1-24 of June. BUY TICKETS HERE.