Ah, the power of makeup. It can make some people look completely different, and when in the hands of a professional, it can truly blow your mind. In Hollywood, mythical characters demand impressive costumes and even more impressive makeup, where makeup artists are truly that –artists. They take makeup beyond the day to day mascaras, blushes and foundation and use it unimaginable ways, mixed with some prosthetics, a little bit of special effects and tons of creativity. Find 12 of the most amazing Hollywood transformations, where actors were literally made into their characters and transformed by the use of makeup.
12. Jennifer Lawrence – X Men: First Class
Dressed in head-to-toe blue, Jennifer Lawrence plays Mystique in the X-Men: First Class movie. While it might just look like they simply dipped her in blue paint, the entire process takes roughly seven hours and six girls, who first apply latex scales to Lawrence’s body and then airbrush three layers of blue over her skin. They top it off with a spattering of paint afterwards. Since the makeup team for this re-make isn’t the same as when the original film came out, which featured Rebecca Romijn as Mystique, the department did at least 20 tests on different models in order to find the exact right shade of blue. As for Lawrence, she says getting blue is fun: “It’s like a sleepover, except I’m naked and getting painted.”
11. Jim Carrey – The Mask
It’s no surprise that Jim Carrey’s makeup in the 1994 film, The Mask was, indeed, a sort of mask. But not just any kind –this special creation, made by experts, was constructed out of Latex, which allowed it to move as Carrey moved. This way, his wacky facial expressions and real personality could shine through this not-so-real character, as the makeup was meant to mold to Carrey’s face. The ‘mask’ was hand painted a slime green. What about those over-sized teeth? They were originally meant to only be worn during silent scenes, but Carrey quickly learned to speak with them on.
10. Angelina Jolie – Salt
We all know Angeline Jolie as one of Hollywood’s most beautiful, sought-after women. But did you ever think you’d get the chance to see her as a man? For her role in Salt, her character disguises herself as a navy seal. The transformation took lots of makeup including fake ears, a fake nose and a latex neck. Plus, her chin has a little extra shaping as a man and her eyebrows got filled and re-shaped. When her husband, Brad Pitt, visited her on set, he refused to kiss her; her son didn’t recognize her, either. We don’t really blame them… Angie’s definitely more appealing as a woman.
9. Johnny Depp – Alice in Wonderland
Playing the role of Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland meant Johnny Depp spent a ton of time in a makeup chair. From his white skin to orange hair, pink lips and rosy cheeks, it’s said the final look took hours to complete. But the film won a British Academy Film Award for Best Makeup and Hair and an Academy Award for Best Costume Design, among others. Plus, Depp is no stranger to the makeup chair; he’s transformed for other roles such as Edward Scissorhands, Pirates of the Caribbean and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
8. Robin Williams – Mrs. Doubtfire
The Mrs. Doubtfire makeup we all loved while watching the 1993 movie actually took around four and a half hours a day to apply to actor Robin Williams, but the film won the Academy Award for Best Makeup. Much of the transformation from single dad to British nanny involved prosthetics to achieve a completely different face and nose shape, as well as a convincing wig, glasses and a strand of pearls for good measure.
7. Brad Pitt – The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
To fast-forward time and wrinkle up Brad Pitt for his role in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, makeup was key. A thin, paper-like membrane was placed on his forehead and blended into his skin, making his wrinkles much more prominent. They then added crows feet to the sides of his eyes and paid close attention to detail, adding age spots and more wrinkles with makeup and some much needed precision and patience. As he aged, the makeup changed, and the team had different ‘films’ to add to Pitt’s face as the film progressed. Needless to say, the tedious makeup job made Pitt’s aging-backwards character flow seamlessly throughout the film.
6. Charlize Theron – Monster
The beautiful Charlize Theron underwent a make-under for her role as Aileen Wuornos in Monster. Her transformation is noted as one of the most drastic Hollywood transformations for a character ever, and it paid off. Theron won an Academy Award for her amazing performance. For the role, Charlize went well beyond some extra layers of makeup to achieve her transformation. She put on 30 extra pounds and even went through a session to dry out and thin her hair to make it look over-dyed and unappealing. Her eyebrows were partially shaved with the remainder bleached and there were prosthetics used on her eyelids. Theron even wore dentures throughout filming that were painted with discolouration. But, as the key makeup artist for the film said, “We had all those things together but she still had this creamy, poreless, gorgeous skin. With makeup, I had to create the years of abuse to her skin – all the freckles and capillaries and sun damage – either through hand-painting or working with an airbrush.” It literally took a team to get Theron to look that terrible, but we’re pretty sure it was worth all the hard work.
5. Susan Sarandon – Enchanted
Susan Sarandon’s old hag witch makeup in Disney’s Enchanted took five hours to do (and several more to undo), but the transformation makes her completely unrecognizable. Through the use of makeup and, of course, prosthetic enhancements, Sarandon aged, wrinkled and sagged for her role. To top it all off, she had to wear a set of not-so-shiny new teeth that were ragged and rotten, and even cut the inside of her mouth on set. We’d say beauty is pain but in this case, we’re not so sure there’s much beauty involved…
4. Meryl Streep – Angels in America
If you ever wondered what Meryl Streep would look like as a rabbi, well, now you know. The Academy Award-winning actress had a little extra hair put on her for part of her role in Angels in America. Like Angelina, we’d have to say we prefer Meryl the way she is. The long beard, bushy brows and browning teeth aren’t doing too much for her. But the makeup, well, that’s pretty impressive. Would you have recognized her?
3. Ralph Fiennes – Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Going from normal guy to evil Lord Voldemort takes some time, as actor Ralph Fiennes would know. Two and half hours a day, to be exact. Though much of Voldemort’s look was done using computer-generated special effects, such as the removal of his nose, plenty was done in the makeup chair. Prosthetics were added to the actor’s eyebrows and nose, and he had fake teeth put in place, which ensured he was unable to eat for as long as he was in character and on set. That’s what you get for being Lord Voldemort.
2. Jim Carrey – How The Grinch Stole Christmas
Jim Carrey went green again for his role as the Grinch in How The Grinch Stole Christmas. The facial prosthetics took around three to four hours to apply daily, and were so uncomfortable, Carrey had to consult a navy seal for tips on how to defer pain. Breathing was also uncomfortable for the actor, who says he had to breath through his mouth “like a fish,” but the worst part was the thick yellow-green contact lenses, which resulted in scratched corneas, and the costume itself. But without all that amazing makeup (the film won an Academy Award for Best Makeup and Hairstyling), the Grinch just wouldn’t be the Grinch.
1. Benicio Del Toro – The Wolfman
Transforming Peurto Rica-born actor, Benicio Del Toro into a wolf was no easy feat in the remake of the 1941 original. Taking roughly three hours to do, makeup artist, Rick Baker painstakingly laid loose yak hair, by hand, to Del Toro’s face and body along with adding foam rubber and latex for other elements to the face, rather than a mask. Add in some pointed ears, bloody, sharp teeth and lots of makeup on top, and you’ve got yourself a wolf-man.