9 actors that are often hidden behind makeup and special effects

Declan Marks Tuesday 11 April 2017

Thanks to the advancement in technology in recent years, the film industry has taken advantage of the resources available to create a whole new world that we never could have imagined before in cinema. In the current times we live in, thanks to the array of digital technology available, it is possible to design near enough anything you want to be put into a film. Nevertheless, despite these developments, many film producers still opt for the traditional methods such as the use of makeup and costumes. The use of these methods will continue to bring the aspect of authenticity and realism to a film that CGI will never be able to offer.


In any case, the human factor remains crucial, especially for an imaginary character, as we tend to forget that there is actually an actor behind these characters. These are the actors who spend hours and hours under heaps of makeup, sweaty costumes, or wrapped in hundreds of wires before they get transformed into their CGI form. There are a handful of actors who have spent a chunk of their career doing this, so we thought we would pay tribute to them by giving you 9 actors who are often found hiding behind makeup and special effects.

1 Andy Serkis


Andy Serkis is no stranger to playing characters that are created through digital effects. His most infamous role is without a doubt that of Gollum in 'The Lord of the Rings' in which he truly bought his character to life. Serkis has also appeared in another Peter Jackson film in the form of 'King Kong' where he played Kong himself. The actor has also popped up in 'Rise of the Planet of the Apes' where he played Caesar, as well as playing the leader of the First Order, Snoke, in the 'Star Wars'.

2 Warwick Davis


The Surrey born actor became famous in the 80s when George Lucas featured him as an Ewok named Wicket in 'Star Wars: Episode VI- Return of the Jedi'. A few years later Warwick Davis would play the lead role in the 1988 film 'Willow'.

Since then, Davis has used his height to form a successful acting career by playing a handful of memorable characters that only he could really play. These include characters in films such as 'Leprechaun', 'The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian', 'Harry Potter' and 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy'.

3 Doug Jones


Doug Jones has been transformed into a wide range of different characters throughout his career for different types of films. For example, we have seen the American play the character of Abraham Sapien, the amphibious man in 'Hellboy'. Jones has also appeared in 'Pan's Labyrinth' where he plays both the Pale Man and the Faun.

He has also dabbled in the Marvel universe where he played the Silver Surfer in the live action film 'Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer', however Laurence Fishburne voiced the character. In the world of television, we have seen Jones in the likes of 'Falling Skies' where he plays Cochise, as well as seeing him pop up in Buffy the Vampire Slayer where he portrayed the lead Gentleman in the episode 'Hush'.

4 Ron Perlman


Ron Perlman's most memorable role behind a costume has to be that of 'Hellboy'. However, this isn't the only role the New York born actor has been involved in where he has been completely transformed.

In the 80s, Perlman played Beast in the television series 'Beauty and the Beast'. He has also appeared in the 1981 film 'Quest for Fire' where he plays the character of Amoukar who is part of a tribe of early Homo sapiens. In 1986 Perlman played Salvatore in 'The Name of the Rose' and in 2002 he portrayed Reman Viceroy in 'Star Trek: Nemesis'. More recently, the actor has benefited from the advancement in technology and hasn't had to hide under heaps of make up and sweaty costumes as he played the goblin Gnarlak in 'Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them'.

5 Bruce Spence


Auckland born actor Bruce Spence has appeared in a number of successful productions which have required him to chuck on makeup, a costume or be transformed through CGI. Known for his role as The Gyro Captain in 'Mad Max 2', his height has allowed him to be transformed into scary villains with the help of CGI and make up. Some of these roles include Tion Medon in the 'Star Wars' saga, the Mouth of Sauron in The Lord of The Rings trilogy and Molokai in 'I, Frankenstein'.

6 Jeffrey Combs


Jeffrey Combs is best known for his roles in a number of horror films such as 'Re-Animator' where he played the character of Herbert West. However, the majority of people will know him for his role in 'Star Trek', where he played eight different characters in the franchise most notably as Brunt and Weyoun in 'Star Trek: Deep Space Nine' and the Andorian Shran in 'Star Trek: Enterprise'. All of the roles he took on required a huge transformation with the help of prosthetic make up.

7 Helena Bonham Carter


Helena Bonham Carter is one of the most colourful actress' in the film industry. Throughout her career, her roles have involved a number of impressive transformations. The London born actress has appeared in productions such as 'Frankenstein', 'Planet of the Apes' and 'Alice in Wonderland' where she played the role of the Red Queen. To make these roles as realistic and impressive as possible, the use of make up, costumes and CGI technology were essential.

8 Bill Blair


Bill Blair holds the Guinness World Record for "Most Special Effects Characters Played in a Career". The actor has been acting since 1989, and since the start of his career he has notched up over 200 roles that have required him to wear special make up or prosthetics. His roles range from aliens, demons and creatures in series such as 'Star Trek' and 'Charmed'.

9 Brian Steele


After hiding under the hairy costume of the Bigfoot named Harry in 'Harry and the Hendersons', the American actor found himself portraying a number of monsters and creatures in television series and films. Since the mid-90s, Steele has had a number of roles in films such as the 'Underworld' saga, 'Hellboy', 'Lady in the Water' and 'Terminator Salvation'.

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