15 Actors Who Sacrificed Their Beauty for a Role
Actors have the gift of being able to live as many lives as they want. The process of interpreting a new role requires mental and physical preparation that can last for months. And on some occasions, these transformations make the actors unrecognizable. These are some who have played such exceptional roles and who have given their soul to their characters in such a way that we need to cheat to be able to recognize them on screen.
1. Nicolas Cage in Reinfield
Nicolas Cage changed his everyday look to become Count Dracula. In his new film, Reinfield, he portrays a more modern version of the classic Dracula story. The actor transformed his face with pale makeup, long nails, and a slicked-back hairstyle.
To get into character, Nicolas studied actors who have played the role before. Still, Cage wanted to make the character his own. So he focused on giving Dracula a different movement and voice. “For me, what makes it super fun is that it’s a comedy,” he said on a podcast. “And when you get that tone right, it’s a blast.”
2. Emma Thompson in Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical
The versatile actress, Emma Thompson, played the wicked character of Miss Trunchbull in the new adaptation of the movie classic. The actress enjoyed every second of playing her character, but it was definitely a challenge as she required a complete physical transformation from head to toe.
Emma had to wear a chin prosthesis, and every day she had to arrive on set at 5 AM so the makeup team of 6 could do a brilliant job of doing her makeup and transforming her into the iconic character.
3. Doug Jones in Pan’s Labyrinth
Doug Jones played 2 of the most iconic characters in the movie Pan’s Labyrinth. He required a complete transformation from head to toe to become The Faun and The Pale Man. It took 5 hours of makeup to transform into each character.
4. Margot Robbie in Mary Queen of Scots
To become Queen Elizabeth, Margot Robbie required fake boils, scars, and lots and lots of makeup. The character also required the actress to wear prosthetics. Even in scenes where she wasn’t wearing heavy makeup, the scars had to stay there and look as natural as possible.
5. Colin Farrel in The Batman
The actor had fun playing the part and admitted that he used to go to Starbucks in costume to go incognito. With the help of some prosthetics, he managed to transform himself into the famous villain The Penguin. Enjoying this new version of himself, he used to try scaring the life out of his son, who also didn’t recognize him.
6. David Harbour in Hellboy
In order to become the famous red character, David Harbour had to undergo a strict training and diet regimen. The intense training sessions included over 10 weeks of prep weightlifting and some mobility work.
He found the physical appearance of the character to be one of the most important characteristics, saying, “During the fittings and make-up tests, I realized that that was not what this character is about. This character is a massive force that needs to move more like a wrestler-turned-MMA-brawler than a ninja.”
7. Jim Carrey in How the Grinch Stole Christmas
It’s almost hard to believe that this hilarious character required Jim Carrey to be trained by the CIA to play the role. On his first day, after 8 and half hours of makeup and prosthetics, he felt like he was buried alive. So the cast contacted a CIA specialist to teach Jim Carrey distraction techniques and how to create mindsets to overcome discomfort.
Jim Carry spoke about the difficulties of playing the part: "I couldn’t see. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t scratch myself. The physical restraints were unbelievable. It was just like having a refrigerator strapped to your back." But after 3 months of filming and training, he finally learned how to move in character and, most importantly, he learned patience.
8. Meryl Streep in Into the Woods
Meryl Streep did a fairy tale job when playing the role of the wicked witch. With the help of makeup and a long, wiry, gray wig, she portrayed the character that left her almost unrecognizable.
9. Warwick Davis in Harry Potter
Warwick Davis played not one, but 3 different characters in the Harry Potter movies. He was originally cast to play Filius Flitwick, the Charms Master, in the first 2 films. But then he was chosen to also play one of the Gringott’s bank tellers in The Philosopher’s Stone. And 6 movies later, he reprised his goblin role as Griphook in the last 2 Deathly Hallows movies.
10. Benicio Del Toro in The Wolfman
The terrifying character played by Benicio Del Toro was much more detailed compared to previous werewolf versions. The film The Wolfman required the use of the latest makeup tricks and digital effects to enhance his fearsome features.
11. Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje in Suicide Squad
Becoming half human, half crocodile was an exciting experience for Adewale. As he said, “To put it on—the chest, the head, the shoulders—and then to have my body painted, it was the most awesome feeling of excitement, power, and childish fantasy brought to life.”
12. Joel Edgerton in Bright
Joel Edgerton admitted that the process of becoming an orc was challenging, but it gave him incredible freedom to rid himself of all vanity. To achieve the look, it took the artists 3 hours a day to apply the makeup. And since the movie was shot in just 60 days, the actor had to spend around 7 hours per day transforming into character.
13. Jared Leto in House of Gucci
Jared Leto looked unrecognizable in his role as Paolo Gucci in the movie House of Gucci. As soon as he received the script, he felt connected to the character and knew it was going to be an intense transformation inside and out. He used a mask to represent Paolo, but the detailed work combined with the right colors made it look so natural.
14. Anne Hathaway in The Witches
When Anne Hathaway decided to participate in the movie The Witches, she wanted to play a more subtle role but, in the end, she decided to become the main villain. To transform into the wicked character, the team required a 5-hour makeup transformation.
15. Brendan Fraser in The Whale
The actor had a major transformation when undergoing his role in the movie The Whale. To achieve the character’s 600-pound look, he had to wear a combination of prosthetics and makeup.
If you were an actor, would you dare to completely transform your appearance for a role? Share your opinion in the comments!