The make-up session can turn into real torture for the actor or actress forced to bend more or less well thanks to the exercise … But the game is sometimes worth the candle. Demonstration with ten examples.
Stellan Skarsgard in “Dune” (2021)
It was Donald Mowat, one of the best makeup artists in Hollywood, who took care of the transformation of Stellan Skarsgard for his incarnation of the massive silhouette of Baron Harkonnen in Denis Villeneuve’s Dune. Transformation that required no less than 7 hours of makeup.
“Psychologically, I could handle it because it was interesting watching prosthetists working. But physically, it was difficult: you had to stay still for seven hours. There were layers and layers of makeup. The most important thing was the face, which required extremely delicate work. Then, you had to put on the prosthetic suit covering the entire body, the cooling vest underneath and sometimes a harness for rope work. It was necessary to paint the spaces between the fake skin of the face, the hands and the costume. It was very complicated “said the actor.
John Hurt in “Elephant Man” (1981)
Unforgettable composition of the late John Hurt, immense in his role of Elephant Man at David Lynch. In order to get into John Merrick’s skin, John Hurt had to undergo eight hours of makeup (and two hours to remove the prostheses). The process was so restrictive that the actor could only feed himself with a straw. It even happened to him to sleep sitting up during the shooting, like his character, to save time and not to relive this ordeal on a daily basis …
It is to Christopher Tucker, British makeup artist specializing in the creation of prostheses for horror films, that we owe this creation. The team went to the Royal London Hospital where a mold of John Merrick’s bust is kept in order to be inspired by it for the film.
Dave Bautista in “Guardians of the Galaxy” (2014)
On Guardians of the Galaxy, it took Elizabeth Yianni-Georgiou and David White 5 hours a day to put makeup on Dave Bautista to transform him into Drax, with 18 prostheses to put on him. On the second part, barely an hour less!
“Every day, we placed the main one on his body with holes in order to then add the prostheses one by one. That way, we knew exactly where to put them before really starting the implementation of the color” said David White. . “In addition to the general gray, we had to add red, brown and green to bring his tattoos to life, and then we fixed it all with some sort of hairspray, so that it would last all day shooting.”
Jennifer Lawrence in “X-Men: The Beginning” (2011)
In X-Men and X-Men 2, Rebecca Romijn, who played Mystique, wore over 100 prostheses specially designed for her character. Enough to spend 8 hours in makeup … The same preferential treatment, if we dare say, was reserved for Jennifer Lawrence for X-Men the Beginning. A not badly lightened torture for X-Men: Days of Future Past, since the actress wore a special combination, while only her face was made up, which made it possible to go from 8 hours to 3 hours of makeup per day.
Doug Jones in “Pan’s Labyrinth” (2006)
Under the costume of Pan and the “Pale Man” of the Labyrinth of Pan by Guillermo del Toro hides actor Doug Jones. He is not unknown to fans of the filmmaker, since he had already worn another costume, that of Abe Sapien in Hellboy. The faun costume is made of latex foam and it took five hours of daily makeup to apply to the actor. Two different costumes were also designed since the fauna gets younger as the film progresses. The horns were the last parts of the costume to be applied.
Lawrence Makoare in “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” (2001)
If you are a fan of the saga orchestrated by Peter Jackson, you inevitably know the character in illustration: it is Lurtz, the ferocious leader Uruk-Hai. It is the New Zealand actor Lawrence Makoare who plays the character; the interested party also playing Gothmog, the Orc commander at the Battle of the Pelennor Fields in The Return of the King. To slip into Lurtz’s skin, Makoare had to comply with a session worthy of tantalum torture: 11 hours of makeup!
Boris Karloff in “The Mummy” (1932)
Unforgettable incarnation of one of the flagships of the Universal Monsters with Frankenstein, Boris Karloff embodied in 1932 a non …