An actor’s work is not easy. Apart from being exceptional at your job you will sometimes have to dawn a ton of makeup and prosthetics to play a role. These can make the character come to life and better aid the actor in their portrayal.
Most often we can recognize actors even when they are in makeup but sometimes the makeup is so good that we’re left speechless and have to check the cast listing to see who played the character. Today, we have some actors who were transformed beyond recognition.
In the 2018 supernatural horror art film “Suspiria” actress TildaSwinton played three different roles one of which was that of ‘Lutz Ebersdorf’. The character was a male and the makeup and prosthetics were incredible on the actress that many did not even know it was here in the role.
Talking about actresses who played male roles in movies we come to Halle Berry. The Oscar-winning actress was seen in 2012 The Wachowskis’s science fiction film ‘Cloud Atlas’. In the movie, Halle Berry plays 6 different characters one of whom was Dr. Ovid. The makeup was so good that many did not know that was her in the role.
When you think of Tom Cruise you will naturally think of fast-paced action movies like the ‘Mission Impossible’ franchise or other action movies. But, did you ever think of the actor in a fat suit dancing to some hip-hop songs? That’s what he did in 2008’s ‘Tropic Thunder’. In the movie, Tom plays ‘Les Grossman’.
When Hollywood wanted to make a biopic for one of the most legendary directors Alfred Hitchcock, they chose the perfect actor, Anthony Hopkins. Not only did the actor look like the acclaimed director even without makeup but the process to transform the actor completely was very quick and easy.
One of the movies where the effort in the costume department was more than the scriptwriting was 1997’s ‘Spawn’. The comic book adaption came during an era where comic book movies were not that great but the costumes in the movie were incredible. From the main character to the evil clown played by actor John Leguizamo was incredible and absolutely comic accurate.
For a very long time actress, Joey King was mocked for appearing in ‘so bad that it’s good’ B-grade horror movies but gained critical attention for her portrayal of ‘Gypsy Rose Blanchard’ in 2019’s ‘The Act’. In the role, the actress looks unrecognizable from her real self. The makeup and performance of the actress was incredible.
7Neil Patrick Harris
When actor Neil Patrick Harris was chosen to play ‘Count Olaf’ on Netflix’s 2017 ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’ everyone knew it was going to look incredible. After all, they had to follow up to actor Jim Carrey’s performance in the movie version of the story. While there was a ton of makeup on Jim he had the natural facial animation to make the role look incredible.
When Hollywood wanted to make a movie of Winston Churchill they got the best actor alive today to play him, Gary Oldman. For the role, Gary Oldman had to wear a fat suit and tons of makeup and prosthetics on his face to look exactly like the character. The work put was incredible and the actor won the Oscar for Best Actor male.
9Carice van Houten
When it comes to aging or de-aging actors in movies and TV shows, it is usually a hit or miss. It can sometimes look incredible while other times not that great. One of the best aging effects seen in a TV show was in ‘Game of Thrones’ where actress Carice van Houten played ‘Melisandre’. In her aged version, people didn’t think it was the actress in makeup but it was.
Roy Lee “Rocky” Dennis was a boy who had craniodiaphyseal dysplasia, which is an extremely rare sclerotic bone disorder. A movie was made based on his life titled ‘Mask’ in 1985. Actor Eric Stoltz played the lead character who looked incredible in the makeup and prosthetics. This would’ve been easier if CGI had existed but it would not have looked as good.
1988’s ‘Coming to America’ is said to be the movie that launched the career of Eddie. But, what most people don’t know is that Murphy played 3 characters. Among the main lead, he also played a soul singer, a barbershop owner and ‘Saul’. ‘Saul’ was a Jewish barbershop customer. The makeup was so good that people did not know it was Eddie.
2007’s ‘I’m Not There’ was a musical drama film that was described as an unconventional biopic inspired by the life and music of Bob Dylan. The movie had six actors depict different facets of Dylan’s public personas. While five of the six actors were male, Cate Blanchett was the only female in the cast to play Dylan.
13Helena Bonham Carter
Tim Burton’s 2001 science fiction film ‘Planet of the Apes’ was a remake of the 1968 version that unfortunately did not do as well as the director had wanted but what it did do exceptionally well were the costumes and makeup. The actors playing apes looked incredible and showed how far makeup and prosthetics had come from the first movie.
2003’s HBO miniseries ‘Angels in America’ was based on the Pulitzer-prize winning play of the same name and had a star studded cast. It was the most-watched made-for-cable film in 2003. In the show, Meryl Streep played 4 characters one of whom was a Rabbi. The makeup was incredible and so natural looking that is was hard to tell if it was or wasn’t the actresses.
2017’s ‘The Shape of Water’ was nominated for 13 nominations at the 90th Academy Awards and won Best Picture, Best Director, Best Production Design, and Best Original Score. The reason behind the win was the incredible creature design and prosthetics that transformed actor Doug Jones into the “Amphibian Man”. The costume and makeup was beyond incredible.