Oftentimes, actors will look completely unrecognizable in movies, thanks to makeup and costumes. For celebrities like "It: Chapter Two" star Bill Skarsgard (who plays Pennywise) and Marvel's Karen Gillan (Nebula), the physical transformation processes can take anywhere between two and five hours. Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.
Some actors look truly unrecognizable in films. For certain movies, stars must undergo a physical transformation in order to present a believable portrayal of a character. This can include makeup, prosthetics, and even weight changes. Here are the surprising celebrities behind some of Hollywood's most well-known villains, creatures, and monsters. Bill Skarsgard looks immensely different from Pennywise the clown, who he plays in the "It" movies.
The 29-year-old Swedish actor made his debut as Pennywise in the 2017 horror movie "It," based on a Stephen King novel. "It was an amazing, terrifying feeling of seeing the makeup go on for the first time," Skarsgard told Us Weekly in 2017. "Up until that point, I didn't know what the character actually would look like," he continued. "So every step of the way, I was looking at myself in the mirror, making faces to try to see what this character would eventually be." The child stars of "It" didn't even see Skarsgard in full costume until they filmed the protector scene, so when the clown appeared, the terrified reactions were genuine. Skarsgard also made some kids on the set cry. Speaking to "Entertainment Tonight," Skarsgard said that he has a lazy eye, which enabled him to move the physical feature in a different direction. As for Pennywise's horrific smile, the actor told Conan O'Brien that he learned to contort his lips in a "strange way" after seeing older brother Gustav Skarsgard do it. Around 10 years old, Gutav picked up the skill as well, made up an evil character, and purposely ran around scaring his younger sibling. You can see practical effects artists Tom Woodruff Jr. and Alec Gillis break down how they created the Pennywise mask in this video shared by PopSugar. Jennifer Lawrence's transformation into "X-Men" shapeshifter Mystique initially took eight hours.
The actress appeared on NBC's "Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" in 2014 and said that the time eventually got cut down to three hours. She also used to stand or sit on a bicycle to be painted. For "X-Men: First Class," Lawrence got covered in head-to-toe body paint, which led to "weird boils, rashes, and blisters." To avoid skin irritations for the "X-Men" sequels, Lawrence switched to a bodysuit from the neck down. Paul Bettany can't hear too well in the Vision costume he's worn for several Marvel movies.
In a 2015 Marvel featurette, Bettany said that his face gets painted and then a rubber balaclava is put over his head and glued to his face. He also wears a "robot muscle suit" that's equipped with tubes that run ice water through to keep his body cool. "It's pretty painful, it's uncomfortable," Bettany told USA Today in 2015. Read more: 14 Marvel stars who shared the challenges of wearing superhero costumes Elizabeth Banks wore elaborate wigs, makeup, and outfits for her role as Effie Trinket in the "Hunger Games" movies.
The fan-favorite character experienced a makeunder near the end of the franchise. But before that, she was introduced as an over-the-top District 12 adviser with an affinity for luxurious items. Banks told MTV that getting all the components of the costume on her took two hours once they got the process figured out. She went on to say that her long Effie nails were the most problematic aspect because once they were on, she couldn't type on her phone, use a computer, or go to the bathroom. The actress also said that the lavish outfits were "constricting" and didn't allow for too much movement. Speaking to People, Banks said that another difficulty was resisting the urge to touch her face while in full makeup. The elaborate eyelash details also took some time to get used to. The actress went on to say that she passed time during the transformations by napping. "I find it very soothing when people touch my face and hair," she said. "I also spent time reading, chatting and hanging out with other cast members. Since I was in there the longest, I usually got to see everyone arrive." Read more: THEN AND NOW: The cast of 'The Hunger Games' 7 years later Oscar Isaac called his "X-Men: Apocalypse" transformation process "excruciating."
Isaac, who played the titular villain in the 2016 movie, told GQ: "I didn't know when I said yes that that was what was going to be happening, that I was going to be encased in glue, latex, and a 40-pound suit — that I had to wear a cooling mechanism at all times." He added: "I couldn't move my head, ever." Isaac wore multiple head and face pieces and the bulky armor seen in the film was 3D-printed. Margot Robbie's role as Queen Elizabeth I in "Mary Queen of Scots" required three to four hours for the full look.
Speaking to Harper's Bazaar for the December 2018/January 2019 cover, Robbie said that she would start each day on set getting her head wrapped before a bald cap and wig were put on. The actress also wore white powder and the shape of her eyebrows was altered. "Surprisingly, the quick part was the white makeup," Robbie told Harper's Bazaar. "And the heavily drawn-on blush, eyebrows, lips." In the film, Queen Elizabeth I had scars as a result of smallpox. In order to achieve a similar effect, Robbie wore fake scars that were created using prosthetics. "With smallpox, you are left with a very badly scarred face, and your hair falling out, so I used that route to try and change Margot Robbie's features, by placing the boils of the smallpox along her bottom lip," Jenny Shircore, the movie's hair and makeup designer," told Deadline. "It would mean that there were scars left there, which she'd need to cover, which would mean she wore a thick white makeup, blocking out that wonderful bottom lip of Margot Robbie's," she added. Shircore used the same strategy for Robbie's eyebrows, by "placing the blisters and the boils along the areas that I wanted to eventually cover with makeup, thereby changing Margot Robbie's face, and getting her to the iconic look." Doug Jones' transformation into an amphibious creature in "The Shape of Water" took hours.
The Oscar-winning Guillermo del Toro movie focused on a love story between a mute cleaning lady named Eliza (played by Sally Hawkins) and an Amazonian fish-man (Jones). "When wearing any kind of a costume and makeup that's this extensive, you become a bit of a nursing home patient," Jones told Wired. "I can't see as well, I can't hear much, I can't feel much, and I got these webbed fingers on — I can't do anything for myself." For the role, Jones wore a snug, zipped suit that was comprised of foam, latex, and rubber. It covered his body from the neck down and required four people to get him into. His outfit also consisted of a fiberglass helmet that was equipped with "built-in buzzing, whirring mechanics" to move his gills, according to IndieWire. In an interview with BackstageOL, the actor said that he had amphibian-like hands glued on and the creature's eyes were given the CGI treatment during post-production to look more realistic. The whole transformation took approximately three hours, which is less time compared to other costumes Jones has worn in other movies, and 40 minutes to remove. You can watch a time-lapse of the process in this video shared by Fox Searchlight. Charlize Theron changed her accent and appearance for her Oscar-winning performance as serial killer Aileen in the 2003 drama "Monster."
Theron gained 30 pounds, had makeup applied to give her skin a blotchy appearance, and wore prosthetic teeth. "It wasn't about getting fat," the actress told Spliced Wire. "Aileen wasn't fat. Aileen carried scars on her body from her lifestyle, and if I'd gone to make this movie with my body —physically I'm very athletic — I don't know that I would have felt the things Aileen felt with her body." She added: "It was about getting to a place where I felt closer to how Aileen was living. I didn't want to look at my body and see my natural muscle. That kind of thing would have thrown me off completely in trying to be her." Nicholas Hoult looked unrecognizable as Nux in the Oscar-winning 2016 film "Mad Max: Fury Road."
Hoult told "E! News" that shaving off all his hair to play Nux, who was basically on death's door at the start of the movie, was "freeing." The various scars on his lips and body were the result of two hours of makeup and to get the chalky skin tone, clay was applied. In order to achieve a thinner physique, Hoult told Screen Slam that he "didn't eat as much and jumped rope a lot." Karen Gillan underwent an extensive process to become Marvel's Nebula.
For her first appearance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2014's "Guardians of the Galaxy," Gillan actually shaved off all her hair. The actress revealed her bald head at San Diego Comic-Con in 2013 and called the move "liberating."' In 2014, special effects makeup artist David White told Business Insider that Gillan's prosthetic makeup was the "most complex and interesting" to apply. Moreover, it took approximately four hours and 15 minutes to apply and 30 minutes to remove. By the time Gillan reprised her role as the assassin for the "Guardians" sequel, the process was shortened to two and a half hours and she only had to shave the sides of her head. You can see Gillan transform into Nebula in this video shared by Mashable. Read more: THEN AND NOW: The 'Avengers' stars before they were famous Christian Bale's facial features were covered in prosthetics to play VP Dick Cheney in "Vice."
Makeup designer Greg Cannom told IndieWire that Bale gained 25 pounds for the role and actually added additional weight for one particular scene. He also wore a fat suit in the film and shaved his head. Bale's face looked unrecognizable in the Oscar-winning movie because of various types of prosthetics that were applied, from neck and nose pieces to "cheek appliances." According to USA Today, the whole process took four to eight hours each day. In addition to wearing makeup on his face, Joaquin Phoenix lost 52 pounds for his titular role in "Joker."
The actor has talked about his physical transformation during multiple interviews. During a recent appearance on ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live," Phoenix said that losing weight was "difficult," but also "very empowering." "In the beginning, you're exhausted," Phoenix said. "You look at a flight of stairs and it takes like 30 seconds. You have to talk yourself into it and say, 'I can do this, I know I can do this.'" The actor went on to say that "once you reach your target weight, I don't know what happens, it's incredible. You start to feel energized and excited.'" Aside from eating a little more than an apple a day for the role, Phoenix kept his hunger under control by not watching TV (therefore avoiding food commercials that might tempt him) and avoiding socializing with others since "food and drink are what all of our social activity revolves around." Read more: Here is every actor who has played the Joker