It’s no secret that makeup can change a person’s appearance but movie makeup takes it to a whole new level. In addition to masking flaws and beautifying actors, movie makeup has the capacity to bring imaginary characters to life. And a good make-up can determine the success of a film.
In Hollywood, there are many skilled makeup artists who are known as real-life shape-shifters. By combining their abilities and the power of prostheses, they can completely modify a person’s appearance (from skin color to his entire body). These skilled makeup artists have the ability to turn people into terrifying mystical monsters. For example, in “Game of Thrones,” Richard Brake’s makeup for Night King was so different that the rest of the cast couldn’t recognize him without his makeup.
Here are some of the most incredible makeup makeovers that actors have gone through for film roles. Some of these transformations look like magic!
#1 Richard Brake as The Night King in “Game of Thrones”
Source: HBO | Getty
In the movie, Richard Brake played the first version of the ancient villain, The Night King.
#2 Vladimir Furdik as The Night King in “Game of Thrones”
And Vladimir Furdik took over as the character until the end of the series.
#3 Emmy Rossum as Angelyne in “Angelyne”
Emmy Rossum dressed like a Barbie doll to play Angelyne in the Peacock original series “Angelyne” (2022). The series reveals the origin of Angelyne (née Renee Goldberg), who got her 15 minutes of fame in the ’80s via a series of L.A. billboards.
#4 Doug Jones as Lieutenant Saru in “Star Trek: Discovery”
Source: CBS | Getty
Doug Jones has landed a regular role as Lieutenant Saru (later Captain Saru) in the new Star Trek series.
#5 Sean Penn as John Mitchell and Julia Roberts as Martha in “Gaslit”
“Gaslit” is about the Watergate crisis. In the movie, Sean Penn wore a balding cap to play Nixon’s attorney general John Mitchell. And his wife, Martha, played by Julia Roberts.
#6 Jodie Comer as Villanelle in “Killing Eve”
Source: AMC | Getty
In season 3 of “Killing Eve”, Villanelle dresses up as a clown for a job. This is one of her most impressive roles.
#7 Michael Dorn as Worf in “Star Trek: The Next Generation”
Source: CBS | Getty
On “Star Trek: The Next Generation”, Michael Dorn played Worf, the Klingon chief of security and tactical officer. Dorn has been in four Star Trek films and has the most onscreen appearances of any actor in the franchise.
#8 Sacha Baron Cohen as Gio Monaldo in “Who Is America?”
Sacha Baron Cohen is usually easy to detect when he wears caked-on makeup to mock people on his shows. His Gio Monaldo on “Who Is America?” is a work of beauty.
#9 Paul Bettany as Vision in “WandaVision”
Source: Marvel | Disney | Getty
In “Age of Ultron”, Bettany appears as Vision. He spent a good deal of time in the makeup chair. And much more so in 2021, when he featured in “WandaVision”. He also played J.A.R.V.I.S. in the “Iron Man” and other Avengers films.
#10 Golda Rosheuvel as Queen Charlotte in “Bridgerton”
Source: Netflix | Getty
Actress Golda Rosheuvel disappeared behind an awesome purple wig and royal costume and makeup as the elegant Regency-Era Queen Charlotte.
#11 Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as Cal Abar/Mr. Manhattan in “Watchmen”
On “Watchmen”, rising star Yahya Abdul-Mateen II played Cal Abar before revealing himself to be Mr. Manhattan.
#12 Sarah Paulson as Linda Tripp in “Impeachment: American Crime Story”
Source: Jason Merritt/Getty/FX
To play well her role, Sarah Paulson has undergone the most dramatic transformation. She used a nose prosthetic, a neck prosthetic, and false teeth to become “ugly.” Paulson also put on 30 pounds for the part.
#13 Evan Peters as Tate Langdon in “American Horror Story”
Tate Langdon disappeared behind an outstanding makeup job for a dream sequence on AHS. Many recognized it as the tattoo of Rick Genest, a model who aspired to appear like a zombie.
#14 Anya Taylor-Joy, as Beth Harmon in “The Queen’s Gambit”
In Netflix’s popular miniseries “The Queen’s Gambit”, Anya Taylor-Joy portrays a teenage chess prodigy named Beth Harmon.
#15 Donald Glover as Teddy Perkins in “Atlanta”
In Season 2, Episode 6 of “Atlanta”, Donald Glover used whiteface makeup to play Teddy Perkins. This is one of his most intriguing characters.
#16 Robin Weigert as Calamity Jane in “Deadwood”
Perhaps the most underappreciated television performance ever. In “Deadwood”, Robin Weigert transforms into Jane Cannery, or Calamity Jane. 13 years after the program ended, she reprised the role in “Deadwood: The Movie” (2019).
#17 Alan Tudyk as Harry Vanderspeigle in “Resident Alien”
Source: SyFy | Getty
Courtesy of Alan Tudyk’s surreal portrayal as alien-posing-as-human Harry Vanderspeigle, “Resident Alien” becomes one of the greatest new series in recent years.
#18 Kae Alexander as Leaf in “Game of Thrones”
On “Game of Thrones”, Leaf is another of the show’s oldest characters. In Season 6, actress Kae Alexander went all out to play her.
#19 Henry Cavill as Geralt of Rivia in “The Witcher”
Source: Netflix | Getty
Henry Cavill donned contacts, a long wig, and makeup to transform into Geralt of Rivia.
#20 Lily James as Pamela Anderson in “Pam and Tommy”
Source: Getty | Hulu
British actress Lily James underwent a striking makeup and hair transformation to play Pamela Anderson in “Hulu’s Pam & Tommy.”
#21 André the Giant as Sasquatch in “The Six Million Dollar Man “
André the Giant was a legend. He had a great debut for him as an actor. In 1976, André appeared in a two-part episode of “The Six Million Dollar Man” as a Sasquatch. For the historical period, this is a very impressive makeup job.
#22 Neil Patrick Harris as Count Olaf in “A Series of Unfortunate Events’
Source: Netflix | Getty
Neil Patrick Harris played well in his role as Count Olaf.
#23 Alicia Witt as Nicole Kim in “The Exorcist”
Source: Fox | Getty
Yes, that’s the true beauty of Nicole Kim from “The Exorcist”. This short-lived Fox series ran from 2016 to 2017.
#24 Ethan Phillips as Neelix in “Star Trek: Voyager”
Ethan Phillips played another great-looking Star Trek alien: Neelix.
#25 Gillian Anderson as Margaret Thatcher in “The Crown”
In season 4 of “The Crown”, Gillian Anderson used makeup to play former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher. This is one of her most intriguing characters and earned her many nominations.
#26 Ethan Hawke as John Brown in “The Good Lord Bird'”
Source: VCG via Getty | Showtime
In the Showtime drama “The Good Lord Bird”, Ethan Hawke used very vivid blue eye contacts to play American abolitionist and holy maniac John Brown.
#27 James Marsters as Spike in “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”
Source: CW | Getty
As the vampire Spike in “Buffy”, James Marsters left an indelible impression.