15 Actors Behind Famous Movie Characters That Are Hard to Recognize

5 years ago

In the movie industry, actors often look much different on film than they do in real life. They cut and dye their hair, gain or lose weight, and spend many hours with makeup artists every day to transform into someone else. The magic of Hollywood is that actors look so convincing in their roles that we forget that these people we see on the screen don’t actually exist in real life. And sometimes it may leave us in shock when we find out how actors who played our favorite characters look in person.

Here at Bright Side, we’ve collected some of the most impressive actor transformations from some of your favorite films.

1. Nebula (Guardians of the Galaxy films) — Karen Gillan

For the role of this villain, Nebula, Karen Gillan shaved her head and had to spend many hours with makeup artists every day of shooting to get transformed into the character. What’s interesting is that no CGI (computer-generated imagery) was used to turn her into Nebula — professional makeup artists did all the work!

2. Mystique (X-Men films) — Rebecca Romijn

Rebecca Romijn is not only an actress but also a professional model. Her makeup for the role of Mystique covered 60% of her body and took a crazy 9 hours for makeup artists to apply everything. Rebecca’s look for the movie was also kept in secret so she had to sit in a dark room during the breaks.

3. Emperor Haban Limaï (Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets) — Aymeline Valade

French model Aymeline Valade has a specific, sophisticated appearance. No wonder she performed in the role of such a beautiful planet race. It’s unbelievable how unrecognizable she is in the movie.

4. Tia Dalma (Pirates of the Caribbean films) — Naomie Harris

We suspect that all the Pirates of the Caribbean fans remember the charismatic voodoo-practicing Tia Dalma. And it’s absolutely incredible how different Naomie Harris, who played her in the movie, looks in person. And what’s even more amazing is her performance — Tia Dalma is a very specific character, a natural witch with notable body language. She’s a perfectly rounded out character and completely different from the actress.

5. Gimli (The Lord of the Rings films) — John Rhys-Davies

Now we know that if you want to look different, you just need to grow a beard and dye it red! But it’s also the actor’s talent and charisma that helped the all-smiling John to become the combative Gimli.

6. Enchantress (Suicide Squad) — Cara Delevingne

Famous model and actress Cara Delevingne played the main antagonist in the well-known Suicide Squad. Her mysterious look of the Enchantress is very eye-catching, but she definitely looks very different from her true self. To get into character, Cara wandered naked through the woods near her home in England and howled at the moon to feel one with nature. Sounds crazy, but it worked pretty well.

7. Darth Maul (Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace) — Ray Park

Honestly, we had no idea that such simple face paint could make a person unrecognizable. The secret is that paint can visually change facial shapes, and hide or highlight something — and the power of it is right in front of you!

8. Jaylah (Star Trek: Beyond) — Sofia Boutella

French actress Sofia Boutella is also not easily recognized with white hair, wider eyes and lack of brows in her role of Jaylah. Not only does she look different, but she also acts differently from the other characters we know her as.

9. Joker (The Dark Knight) — Heath Ledger

Heath seems to be one of the luckiest actors — his makeup job took less than one hour, and he claimed that it always felt like he wasn’t wearing it at all. But not only did he look like Joker, but he also behaved like him, and the makeup is partly to thank for this. For example, Joker’s habit of licking his lips was developed by the actor to prevent his makeup from coming off his face.

10. Griphook (Harry Potter films) — Warwick Davis

It’s absolutely impossible to recognize Warwick Davis in his role of Goblin Griphook in the Harry Potter franchise. His makeup, as it usually does, consisted of several different pieces and its application took anywhere from 2.5 to 4 hours every day starting at 4 AM.

11. Marlene McFly (Back to The Future: Part II) — Michael J. Fox

Marty McFly wasn’t the only character Michael played in the trilogy. Another character is Marty’s daughter, Marlene from the second movie. We always thought she looked kind of weird and now we know why!

12. Lisbeth Salander (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) — Rooney Mara

Rooney Mara had to make many changes in herself for her most famous role of Lisbeth. She lost some weight, cut and dyed her hair, got many piercings and became a completely different person.

13. Imperator Furiosa (Mad Max: Fury Road) — Charlize Theron

We don’t know what exactly makes Charlize so unrecognizable — a shaved head, dirt, old clothes or her left arm made by CGI — probably everything in total! But she’s definitely different and absolutely stunning in her role of Furiosa.

14. Auggie (Wonder) — Jacob Tremblay

It’s hard to recognize the smiling and absolutely healthy Jacob behind the unconfident and closed-off Auggie who suffered from Treacher Collins syndrome. To get into character, Jacob and his family visited kids with the same syndrome Auggie had. To look the way he had to, he spent an hour and a half with makeup artists. As a result, his performance was very touching and heartwarming.

15. LaVona (I, Tonya) — Allison Janney

Allison Janney played the role of the harsh mother of famous ice-skater, Tonya Harding and her transformation is very impressive! Janney’s performance was approved both by audiences and critics, and she won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role in the film which only took her 8 days to film.

Which actors amazed and surprised you with their transformations? Tell us in the comments.


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I always found it creepy as F#CK what a cute girl Michael J Fox came out to be and every time that thing is on I have to skip those scenes completely


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