14 Amazing Makeup Transformations For The Movies

Every once in a while a movie comes along that requires the actors to undergo a complete transformation in order to alter their appearance. When this situation arises along comes the makeup department to create an often memorable and sometimes unforgettable character.

These movie stars must endure hours and hours of makeup applications which can include adding prosthetic body parts, changing one’s race, gender or species and also changing the actor’s age.

1. John Travolta – Hairspray

john travolta before and after his makeup for the part of a fat woman in hairspray

In the movie Hairspray, Travolta takes the role of “Edna”, a character he envisioned to be Sophia Loren…if she were to gain 200 lbs.

The role required Travolta to undergo five hours of extensive make up and prosthetics to complete his transformation. He even wore high heels in a number of scenes.

2. John Matuszak – The Goonies

john matuszak before and after his makeup for his role as sloth in the gonies

Professional football player Matuszak famously transformed into everyone’s favorite childhood freak, Lotney Fratelli or otherwise known as Sloth for the 1986 Spielberg movie – The Goonies.

The make up was quite groundbreaking at the time and it took a total of five hours for the transformation.

3. Ron Pearlman – Hell Boy

ron pearlman before and after his makeup for the film hellboy

Ron Pearlman is well known for having donned makeup and prosthetics for the role as Vincent in the 1980s Beauty and the Beast TV series and was back in the makeup chair for Hellboy.

Most of his red body suit was made of red latex, and the costume itself took 4 hours per application.

4. Selma Blair – A Dirty Shame

selma blair before and after her makeup for the film a dirty shame

The normally small-chested Blair portrayed a stripper named Ursula Udders in the 2004 film A Dirty Shame.

The prosthetic breasts used in the film required four hours of make-up. For the nude scene prosthetic breasts costing $5,000 were used and the studio’s lightning was so bright that the film only had several hours to film before fake breasts cracked

5. Eric Stoltz – Mask

eric stoltz before and after his makeup for the film mask

Stoltz appeared in the 1985 drama which was based on the real life of Roy L. “Rocky” Dennis.

The mask was created by using three separate pieces of foam latex applied to the face and then blended with makeup. Stoltz also wore dentures to simulate Rocky’s deformed teeth.

6. Robin Williams – Mrs. Doubtfire

robin williams before and after his makeup for the film mrs doubtfire

Robin Williams portrayed Mrs Doubtfire in this 1993 comedy and his transformation was brilliant and so believable.

Williams’ underwent eight separate stages of makeup and a whole lot of blush for this role.

7. Tom Cruise – Tropic Thunder

tom cruise before and after his makeup for the film tropic thunder

Tom Cruise’s performance in Tropic Thunder surprised moviegoers (including myself) with his greedy and ruthless Hollywood producer character – Les Grossman.

For this role Cruise donned a fat suit, bald wig, chest hair mat and prosthetic hands.

8. Eddie Murphy – Norbit

eddie murphy before and after his makeup for the film norbit

Murphy enlisted the work of Rick Baker to help create a multitude of other characters for the movie Norbit. The most outrageous of these, was “Rasputia Latimore”, an outrageously sex-crazed and obese woman.

9. Gwenyth Paltrow – Shallow Hal

gwenyth paltrow before and after her makeup for the film shallow hal

Gwenyth Paltrow plays the love interest of Hal (Jack Black) in this 2001 comedy in which she plays a very fat and heavy woman.

The application of her body suit and accompanying make-up took four hours each time but we did also get to see her in her true beautiful form a few times as well.

10. Rebecca Romijn– X Men

Romijn’s makeup in X Men, was the culmination of the work of four make-up artists, a hundred small silicon prosthetics, lots of body paint, and nine hours of application per use. The end result is completely worth it. According to Romijn, for X Men 2, the application time was shortened to six hours.

11. Emma Thompson – Nanny McPhee

emma thompson before and after her makeup for the film nanny mcphee

In this film, Thompson plays a haggard and wart-covered nanny, need I say more.

12. Charlize Theron – Monster

charlize theron before and after her makeup for the film monster

For this role Theron took a break from being her normal gorgeous self and was transformed into a rough, life tarnished monster.

This is a change we hope she doesn’t plan on making again for a while.

13. Heath Ledger – Batman: The Dark Knight

heath ledger before and after his makeup for the film batman the dark knight

Heralded as Ledger’s career defining performance, his portrayal of The Joker was quite different than that of his precursor, Jack Nicholson. A nice touch was the subtler green hair, an overall more disturbed and disheveled appearance, and the “Chelsea Grin” facial scars.

14. Brad Pitt – The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

brad pitt before and after his makeup for the film the curious case of benjamin button

In the film adaptation of F Scott Fitzgerald’s famous children’s book , Pitt plays a character that ages backwards. He went several transformations for this film, and it is not until the end do female movie goers get to see the Brad Pitt they are used to.

15. Jim Carrey – The Grinch Who Stole Christmas

jim carey before and after his makeup transformation to the grinch

After filming The Mask, Carrey swore off future films involving intense make-up, but claims he was unable to pass on this role. Reportedly, the makeup and costume donned by Carrey for this film took between 3-8 hours to complete. This unique transformation seems as if it could not have been executed successfully, had it been anyone but Carrey.


If you can think of any other movies that featured great makeup transformations let us know in the comments section below.