10 Times When Makeup Artists Did Such a Great Job, They Deserved a Standing Ovation

7 months ago

Special effects makeup works wonders. 3-dimensional wrinkles, scars, and transformations of the jaw or nose turn actors into other people or fantastic creatures. And we remember some movies where Hollywood stars were made up so well that even the most devoted fans had a hard time recognizing them.

Margot Robbie — I, Tonya, 2017

In the movie, Margot Robbie played figure skater Tonya Harding. The most difficult makeup was done for scenes where the 44-year-old athlete told the story of her turbulent life. Robbie wore cosmetic prosthetics on her chin, cheeks, nose, under her eyes, and even on her neck. As the director explained, it took Robbie some time to get used to the makeup and understand how to control her facial expressions.

Austin Butler — Elvis, 2022

Invision / Invision / East News, © Elvis / Warner Bros. and co-producers

The makeup artists of the film faced a difficult task — they needed to not only make Austin Butler look like Elvis but also demonstrate the artist’s external changes over 3 decades. The use of special cosmetic prosthetics allowed for a smooth transformation of Presley. At the end of the film, many viewers had a hard time understanding who was on the screen — Butler or Elvis himself.

Renée Zellweger — Judy, 2019

JEAN-BAPTISTE LACROIX / AFP / East News, © Judy / BBC Films and co-producers

Renée Zellweger wore a small prosthetic nose, wig, and dental appliances to transform her jaw — that’s how the actress became the on-screen legend, Judy Garland. Makeup artist and stylist Jeremy Woodhead decided not to overload the main character’s look with cosmetic prosthetics, so he reduced them to a minimum. The transformation process was completed by Zellweger herself and her acting talent.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt — Looper, 2012

Joseph Gordon-Levitt didn’t look anything like the young Bruce Willis that he had to play in the movie. But after spending a few hours in the makeup chair, the necessary subtle resemblance appeared. Some colored contact lenses, prosthetic lips, a new nose, and altered eyebrows did the trick.

Colin Farrell — The Batman, 2022

Scott Garfitt / Invision / East News, © The Batman / Warner Bros. and co-producers

Colin Farrell played Oswald Cobblepot, also known as the Penguin. But it’s almost impossible to recognize the actor in the character. The transformation was not easy. The application of the facial prosthetics took 3–4 hours each day.

Elizabeth Banks — Power Rangers, 2017

Brent N. Clarke / Invision / AP / East News, © Power Rangers / Lionsgate and co-producers

Not everyone knows that Elizabeth Banks starred in Power Rangers. The actress played the villain, Rita Repulsa. Creating this character’s look required the film’s makeup artists to spend 4 hours on it every day. The facial prosthetics, false teeth, and an elastic green suit did an excellent job — even Banks’ children didn’t recognize her in the makeup and costume.

Tom Hanks — Elvis, 2022

Shootpix / ABACA / Abaca / East News, © Elvis / Warner Bros. and co-producers

Tom Hanks played the flattering manager of Elvis Presley, Colonel Tom Parker. To show how the character’s appearance changed from the ’50s to the ’70s, makeup artists and prosthetic artists worked with Hanks for 3.5 hours. Creating the image of an aging Parker required an additional 2 hours from the team.

Paul Bettany — Avengers: Age of Ultron, 2015

Paul Bettany, who played Vision, underwent serious external transformations to become his character.

An impressive layer of makeup was applied to the actor’s face. Its removal each time traumatized Paul’s skin. The makeup could only be safely removed with the help of a mobile sauna, which was specially equipped on the set for Bettany.

Idris Elba — Star Trek Beyond, 2016

Evan Agostini / Invision / AP / East News, © Star Trek Beyond / Paramount Pictures and co-producers

In the third film of the full-length reboot of Star Trek, Elba plays the main antagonist — the alien, Krall. The team of makeup artists had the task of making the actor’s facial expressions visible through numerous silicone prosthetics. Tests were conducted, tools were changed, and finally, the necessary prosthetics were found. After a couple of hours in the makeup artist’s chair, Elba turned into a terrifying villain, and it was almost impossible to recognize the actor.

Renée Zellweger — The Thing About Pam, 2022

Renée Zellweger’s transformation is impressive. During filming, the actress wore a quilted suit that imitated the figure of the prototype — the criminal, Pam Hupp. This time around, Zellweger decided not to gain weight for the role as she did for Bridget Jones’s Diary. It had a negative impact on the actress’s health back then. Therefore, a suit and facial prosthetics were used to create Pam’s look.


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