Actors Talk About The Worst Prosthetics And Makeup They Had To Wear
Many films may rely on CGI to do a lot of heavy lifting when it comes to visual effects, but nothing can top the look of physical prosthetics and makeup when it comes to creating a realistic character. Actors who have worn prosthetic makeup know how lucky they are to be in the position they are, but they still acknowledge that sitting in a chair for hours on end to get into character does take its toll on you.
Fortunately, none of these costumes or makeup were lethal, but some actors felt like it was pretty close. Whether they were transforming into a monster or adding extra prosthetic appendages or bulk, these stories show how many intense hours they put in before the cameras were even rolling.
Jim Carrey tried to quit How the Grinch Stole Christmas on day one, after sitting through his first eight and a half hour makeup session. He said the experience was "literally like being buried alive."
The suit's yak hair would often turn inward and cause insufferable itching. The suit was so generally oppressive that an expert from the CIA, who trained people to endure actual torture, had to be brought in to teach Carrey ways to withstand the experience. All in all, Carrey donned the suit 100 times before filming wrapped, and he did it all "for the kids."
- Video: YouTube
John Rhys-Davies had to sit through 4-5 hours of makeup and prosthetic work each day to inhabit the role of the dwarf Gimli. Unfortunately, it was pure misery, as he was allergic to the prosthetic, and it eventually got so bad that he had to take every third day off.
So when Syfy asked him if he'd consider reprising his role for the Hobbit franchise, he said:
I've already been asked and to be honest with you, I wouldn't. I have already completely ruled it out. There's a sentimental part of me that would love to be involved again. Really I am not sure my face can take that sort of punishment any more.
However, Rhys-Davies and his makeup team did manage to make the best of the situation by pranking director Peter Jackson, as seen in the above video.
Jack Haley attained high acclaim for his role as the Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz, but he wasn't supposed to be in the movie at all. The role first went to 1930s star Buddy Ebsen, but when it almost killed him, he had to bow out.
It turns out the aluminum dust they initially used to coat the character was quite hazardous. Ebsen described the feeling in The Other Side of Oz, saying:
The cramps in my arms advanced into my chest to the muscles that controlled my breathing. If this continued, I wouldn’t even be able to take a breath. I was sure I was dying.
He was hospitalized, but eventually recovered. He was replaced, however, and the production fortunately found an alternative, safer substance for Jack Haley.
Ian Colletti Has His Entire Face Covered All Day To Play ArsefacePhoto: Preacher/AMC
In AMC's Preacher, Ian Colletti plays a kid named Eugene, AKA Arseface, who becomes horribly disfigured after surviving a suicide attempt with a shotgun in his mouth. As you can imagine, this look necessitates some pretty extreme prosthetic work, as he told New York Post:
It covers your nose. It sounds disgusting, but if you need to sneeze or your nose is dripping, it’s pretty much, well, that’s gonna sit there for 12 hours until the day’s over.
I can’t eat when I’m wearing it. You’re there at two in the morning and don’t leave until 10 at night, and that was very challenging to do without being able to eat. I drink shakes - strawberry shakes and protein shakes - on and off to keep my energy up. It’s the saddest example of method acting I think I’ve ever heard of.
- Video: YouTube
John Hurt began talking about his experience on The Elephant Man with characteristic British restraint, saying things about the fragile but extensive makeup like, "You had to exercise an enormous amount of personal economy... for [the makeup] to last."
But it wasn't long into the film's featurette before he started to share his real feelings on the process, admitting that at the end of the first day he called his wife and said, "I think they've finally found a way of making me not enjoy film."
He then added, "Thankfully with film there's a light at the end of the tunnel. I don't what you'd do if you had to do that for television on like a seven year contract or something like that. I think then suicide might be in order."
Getting into all the Drax makeup and prosthetics took long enough - four hours a day during the sequel, which was an improvement from 5 hours each day for the first Guardians - but getting out of it was even more of an ideal. Dave Bautista told Metro UK:
It’s really hard to take off, it’s a very abrasive makeup - it’s almost as long to take it off. I have to sit in a sauna for 45 minutes to an hour, and I spent about 20 minutes by myself - start to heat it up and sweating it off, before they can come in with chemicals and almost peel it off. It’s like glue, so abrasive so they take it off slowly, a slow and tedious process.