Since the beginning of filmmaking, makeup has always been a part of movie magic. Movies like Back to the Future and Forrest Gump that jump time and span decades just wouldn't work if the characters didn't age. To ensure that the characters age consistently and realistically, filmmakers turn to professional makeup artists to work their magic. From prosthetics to full-on plastic work, makeup effects artists have their work cut out for them. But how accurate is the work of a Hollywood makeup artist in predicting what actors will look like when they actually age?
Looking back at film history gives us the chance to see how that makeup artistry held up in comparison to the actual aging process. We can now see how the young actors cast in roles such as Granny Wendy Darling in Hook (Maggie Smith) and wheezing, cane-wielding Mr. Dawes in Mary Poppins (Dick Van Dyke) compare to their real-life older selves.
Check out our list of actors in old age makeup vs how they actually aged. Vote up the actors who actually grew up to look like the aged versions of themselves.
For Elizabeth Taylor's portrayal of Martha in the film Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Taylor thought it would be best to play the character slightly older than her own age (Her character was 38 and Taylor was 32 at the time). She also envisioned "a wig with relatively short hair—over-lacquered” for her character. Taylor put on 22 pounds to play the role that would eventually win her an Oscar. The photo on the right was taken in 1971, when Taylor was the same age as her character Martha.
Maggie Smith was 57 in 1991 when she appeared in Hook as Granny Wendy Darling, a character that was roughly 80 years old. The picture on the right was taken at the EE British Academy Film Awards in early 2016, when Smith was age 82.
The process of transforming 43-year-old Max von Sydow into the 80-year-old Father Merrin for 1973's The Exorcist usually took three to four hours. The picture on the right is a still from 2010's Robin Hood, when von Sydow was 80.
Anthony Hopkins was 56 when he filmed Legends of the Fall. In the film, his character Col. William Ludlow ages into his 70s. The photo on the right was taken during an on July 30, 2016, when Hopkins was 79.
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