Personally, I have always been awed by the way make-up artists can change the entire appearance of a person.The added effect looks so real that you can hardly recognize what is under all that paint and added scars and hands and what not. Who are the people behind these transformations and how drastic does this transformation actually look?
Let’s set the ball rolling for a blast of nasty and OH MY GOD images right below!
The white cakey cracks were actually designed by the Legend Ledger himself, though the eye-catching scar for ‘the smile’ was the work of prosthetic? Naah, the item that did the trick was pure silicone!
The artist: Prosthetics supervisor Conor O’Sullivan was the person behind the Joker’s smile. Popularly called the ‘Glasgow’ or ‘Chelsea’ smile in the skinhead era (when bald was in), Conor got his inspiration from the photographs of a delivery guy who got the scarred ‘Chelsea’ smile due to a violent dog fight. The entire bottom lip seen on Ledger’s joker is fake and made of silicone!
After setting up the silicone-created Chelsea smile, Ledger got himself painted by John [Caglione, Jr, makeup artist] with red for the smile and black and white to give the ragged clown look.
JOHN MATUSZAK, “THE GOONIES”
It took 15 layers of prosthetic and mechanical elements to get this creepily disfigured face of the Sloth within a duration of 4-5 hours. This happened back in 1985! Matuszak was one of the prime victims of early special-effects makeup. He even had a mechanically-operated out of place eye that was controlled by a remote.
“They had the little electronics in his ears to make them go back and forth, and they had the eye remote control — and he suffered for hours to get that stuff looking right”.
Here is the entire process for you:
NICOLE KIDMAN, “THE HOURS”
We still can’t believe these two are the same women! Kidman played the role of Virginia Woolf in The Hours and managed to look exactly like her all thanks to her prosthetic schnoz. Even the test audience could not recognize her! Though arguments over the elongated nose had got many Woolf fans seething in anger.
To add some trivia, Kidman loved the prosthetic nose as it acted like her savior and saved her from the paparazzi when her divorce with Tom Cruise was high on the news charts.
The artist: A Conor O’ Sullivan creation yet again, Kidman’s prosthetic nose which rendered her unrecognizable was the work of the Joker artist.
ELIJAH WOOD, “THE LORD OF THE RINGS”
The team of Lord of the Rings won a Guinness World record for trying over 1800 prosthetic footses to give Frodo and the entire Hobbit team their Shire look. 1800 trials!
Each member of the Hobbit team had a specific prosthetic artist to himself to fix their ‘Hobbit’ feet. Though the most hilarious coincidence of it all was Sean Astin’s foot artist’s name- Sean Foot. Ha-ha!
JOHNNY DEPP, “EDWARD SCISSORHANDS”
“It started out as about three, three and a half hours for makeup and hair. But we got it down to a very fast hour, hour and a half,” Depp said in an interview.
The artist: Stan Winston was the creator of the epic Scissorhands, best known for his work on the Terminator movies, Jurassic Park, and Aliens, among many other projects. Winston used real scissors for Depp’s fingers. Talk about going literal!
MARLON BRANDO, “THE GODFATHER”
The artist: Dick Smith was the famous artist who was behind the great transformation. Smith had to use other methods, as an alternative to prosthetics, to create an aged Don Corleone in The Godfather (1972) because Marlon Brando was unwilling to have such appliances applied because of time considerations. Instead, Smith used stipple effects moving across the face from the actor’s eyes. A dental device called a “plumper” caused Brando’s jowls to droop.
REBECCA ROMIJN, “X MEN”
The artist: Gordon Smith, the artist behind Mystique’s creation used silicone prosthetics that could be directly applied to the skin, their translucent quality gave the skin that extraordinary life-like texture. A team of four make-up artists were employed each day to patiently glue the prosthetics onto the actress’ skin from a duration of a tenuous 12 hours that got reduced to 6 with multiple applications.
SELMA BLAIR, “A DIRTY SHAME”
The petite Selma Blair donned a gigantic pair of fake knockers for her role as stripper Ursula Udders in John Waters’ A Dirty Shame. Blair has said she couldn’t wait to rip them off at the end of each shooting day because they were so difficult to wear, of course!
To add to the difficulty of wearing these fake biggies scenes had to be shot quickly, as the hot lights often caused the silicon to crack and flake during filming.
The artist: Tony Alterion was the man behind Blair’s enormous latex filled breasts which had to be re-created for each shoot as the material used to make them could not be re-used.
ROBIN WILLIAMS, “MRS. DOUBTFIRE”
Eight stages of prosthetics and make-up were needed to turn Robin Williams into the legendary Mrs Doubtfire. Eight stages! Of course, the film never showcased the intense amount of time needed in transforming a father into an aged woman so that he gets to spend more time with his children after divorcing his wife.
The artist: Ve Neill, Dick Smith and Greg Cannom were behind the 8-staged creation of Mrs Doubtfire. The make-up alone took 4-5 hours while the application of the masks and the blending of the pieces along with the addition of the wrinkles and blemishes took an excruciatingly long amount of time. Still Robin Williams managed to shower all his energy and humor into this role.
GWYNETH PALTROW, “SHALLOW HAL”
The artist: Tony Alterion was the artist who created Gwyneth Paltrow’s fat suit. The challenge of making Paltrow recognizable through the prosthetic makeup, wig and layers of foam and spandex was quite tough.The makeup was more difficult because Gardner had to preserve her most distinctive facial features, her cheekbones and jawline.
Paltrow had to learn a whole new form of movement as she had to adjust her posture and pace. Her arms didn’t hang at her sides anymore and, with the added mass between her thighs, Paltrow had to learn to walk differently.She even learnt the hardships fat people go through in public when people avoid looking at them as just their mass makes them unattractive in the eyes of the public.
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