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12 Celebrities Who Look Different From Their Characters: From Bill Skarsgård's Pennywise to Tom Cruise's Les Grossman

celebrities who look different without makeup
Source: MEGA

Jun. 7 2024, Published 12:05 a.m. ET

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Bill Skarsgård as Pennywise

Bill Skarsgård portrayed the terrifying character Pennywise in director Andy Muschietti's It, the film adaptation of Stephen King's novel.

He had to show the demonic smile the character has always been known for, but instead of enhancing it through prosthetic or digital effects, the Hemlock Grove star naturally gave a smile that scared the moviegoers.

"I do this thing with my lip. It's a thing that I've been doing since I was a little kid, and I always wanted to bring this, like, lip thing to a character," he said.

In addition to his hours-long makeup session, Skarsgård also underwent a long process to wear his costume and present the character faultlessly.

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Bryan Cranston as Walter White

Bryan Cranston played Walter White for five seasons on Breaking Bad, even shaving his head to play the cancer-stricken character.

He went on to reprise his role in El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie but had no time to shave his head. As a result, the El Camino makeup team worked hard to change his appearance by applying the bald cap and giving Cranston his signature mustache.

Cranston shared the process on X, writing, "I don't know why filming takes so long, I became Walter White in less than a minute."

Christian Bale as Dick Cheney

Christian Bale has been known for his shocking transformations in order to portray characters in his hit films. In Vice, he wore prosthetics, which took four to eight hours a day to accomplish.

"It was helpful to (have) a bullish neck," Bale said as he tried to look like former Vice President Dick Cheney. "They added a number of inches (of prosthetic) around my neck."

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Colin Farrell as Penguin

colin farrell as penguin
Source: MEGA

A viral video showing Colin Farrell in the makeup chair captured people's attention as he went through a tough process to transform into the Penguin for The Batman. Though he only appeared in less than 10 scenes in the movie, he allowed the team to change how he looked from head to toe.

"When I saw what Mike [Marino, makeup artist] did, the whole character made sense to me," said Farrell. "I swear to God, I saw what he did, and I just went 'okay, okay.' And I got really excited about it. All that to say that if anyone ever thinks what I do in Batman is a decent performance, I'll gladly take 49 percent of the credit."

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Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen

Emilia Clarke gave justice to Daenerys Targaryen's character in all seasons of Game of Thrones by flaunting her costumes throughout the series. She also wore a long blonde wig in the first seven seasons before coloring her hair for the final season.

"That wig did wonders — bloody h---," Clarke told InStyle. "It was like walking around with a permanent bounce."

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Jared Leto as Paolo Gucci

Fans barely recognized Jared Leto when he completely transformed into Paolo Gucci in the House of Gucci, with the use of makeup artist Göran Lundström's prosthetic design.

"I love the idea of a mask. In the earliest theater, actors would wear masks. It's not only a disguise — a mask also reveals. My job is to create a life behind the mask, and Göran's job is to find humanity in the mask. It's not just about how well he puts together some chemicals or chooses the right colors. It's really about creating an individual," he explained to The Hollywood Reporter.

Leto spent six hours a day before the shooting to wear his bald cap, fat suit and prosthetics.

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Judy Greer as Kitty Sanchez

Judy Greer knew she looked weird when she appeared on Arrested Development as Kitty Sanchez.

"It was easier to be the funny friend instead of the pretty friend. I just didn't have the curves that most girls have, until very late, and I have really frizzy hair, and I had braces. I took ballet dancing forever and there was a natural transition into acting," she said.

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Lily James as Pamela Anderson

Lily James portrayed blonde beauty Pamela Anderson on the TV series Pam & Tommy, and her hair indeed became her crowning glory with the help of the flick's hair designer, Barry Lee Moe.

"The blonde hair, the eyebrows, and her silhouette are a staple of what idolized American beauty was at that time and [why she's] cemented into the zeitgeist of popular culture," he explained. "She captured a moment in time and set beauty trends that many wanted to replicate. That's why so many people are interested in her."

They worked hard to copy Anderson's platinum blonde hair and make James' wig look exactly like it.

The Cinderella actress also underwent a four-hour process to achieve the Anderson look.

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Margot Robbie as Queen Elizabeth I

Margot Robbie proved her versatility as an actress when she transformed into Queen Elizabeth I in the film Mary Queen of Scots. The project required her to wear layers of prosthetics and makeup, making her completely unrecognizable.

"Normally there's someone who steps in and says, 'No, keep all the girls looking pretty!'" Robbie added. "But Josie Rourke, the director, was keen to explore how Queen Elizabeth's looks affected her relationships."

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Madeline Brewer as Ofwarren

Madeline Brewer shocked viewers when she portrayed Janine Lindo, also known as Ofwarren, in The Handmaid's Tale. She ditched her signature fiery lipstick and eyeshadow to go makeup-free and had her eye covered with prosthetics.

"Janine's outlook on the world after she gets her eyeball popped out and she spent almost two years in Gilead — her version of crazy is a very smart and calculated one. She is doing what she has to do to survive, and for some people that is just playing pretend," she explained.

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Tilda Swinton as Dr. Jozef Klemperer

Tilda Swinton completely shocked her fans when she played two roles in the film Suspiria. One of her characters was an old man named Dr. Jozef Klemperer.

"Although she has a slightly androgynous look from sort of a fashion-model point of view, Tilda's got a very feminine bone structure," Oscar-winning makeup artist Mark Coulier said of Swinton.

She reportedly opted to wear a male reproductive organ so she could be in character throughout the flick.

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Tom Cruise as Les Grossman

Only a few noticed Tom Cruise was in Tropic Thunder when the action star had to wear a bald cap, fatsuit and fake chest hair to become the obese media mogul.

"Tom Cruise had the idea to play Les Grossman in the movie. That part did not exist," Ben Stiller, who directed and starred in the film, revealed. "He said, 'Well, there's no studio executive, and that would be really fun to be that guy.' And he had this whole idea of what the guy should look like. It was his idea to dance. And I remember when we did a makeup test, someone handed him a Diet Coke, and then he just started moving."

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