Some actors go to incredible lengths to pull themselves into a character. They’ll change their appearance dramatically to fit the role they are playing. As a result, some serious dental and prosthetic work went into getting these actors to look the part. Here are a few examples.
Leonardo DiCaprio – J. Edgar Hoover
To play the role of the aged J. Edgar Hoover in certain parts of the film, extensive makeup was applied to DiCaprio to give him the right look. They put a hairpiece on him to show the receding hairline of the late FBI director. They also applied a thin layer of latex to his face to create the wrinkled and jowly look of an older man. The resulting effect was quite stunning. It was still DiCaprio under the makeup, but the aged look was very convincing.
Jared Leto – The Joker
Hot on the heels of the late Heath Ledger’s performance of the same character, Leto’s interpretation is looking to be just as shocking. The dental work behind your favorite Hollywood movies is matched and possibly exceeded here by the unique silver caps covering his teeth. Likely to show how much Ben Affleck’s Batman has beaten him over the years. Not only are the teeth a big shock to the system, but the tattoos as well. This interpretation of the classic comic book character is sure to be just as revolutionary as the last.
John Rhys-Davies – Gimli
Casting six foot John Rhys-Davies as the dwarf Gimli in The Lord of the Rings trilogy is in itself a feat of movie magic. To create that startlingly different appearance though. Rhys-Davies had to undergo a significant amount of prosthetics work to look the part. His brow, nose, cheeks, and chin were not spared the treatment. It’s a wonder that he could act at all under all that. Funnily enough, Rhys-Davies turned out to be allergic to the prosthetics too and had an awful time wearing them during the production of all three The Lord of the Rings films.
Bela Lugosi – Dracula
Armed with possibly the most widely recognised set of false teeth in the film business, Bela Lugosi’s portrayal of Dracula is one that has entered pop culture forever. They’re also incredibly subtle. They’re rarely bared and for good reason. Lugosi found them difficult to talk in, so they were only used in certain shots where he wouldn’t have to speak. Whether you’ve seen the film or not, Lugosi’s Dracula is an image you can conjure in your head immediately.
Sean Connery – James Bond
“James Bond had makeup work?” I hear you ask. I’m not talking about the racially insensitive work in You Only Live Twice either. Did you know Sean Connery wore a hairpiece throughout his entire career as James Bond? It’s only really obvious in Never Say Never Again, but the rest are totally natural. Connery started losing his hair in his late teens and opted for custom wigs to cover his balding head. They’re quite possibly the strongest example of movie magic out there, as you’d never know they were wigs until you were told.