It's no secret that most television and film actors are 100 percent dedicated to their roles. Often, that dedication extends into not just becoming the character on the inside, but also in becoming the character on the outside. Some of the more demanding roles even require actors to look nothing like themselves, meaning that they must spend hours upon hours in the makeup chair to get their character to the perfect look. These actors arrive on set much earlier than their peers and allow makeup artists to transform them into aliens, fantastical creatures, burn victims, and other things that don't resemble their natural selves. Although the end result is flawless, the time spent undergoing these transformations is nothing short of extraordinary. Here are some actors and actresses who dedicated themselves to their roles with extended hours in the makeup chair.
15 Johnny Depp - "Alice In Wonderland"
When Tim Burton cast Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter in the Alice in Wonderland movies, the director had very specific concepts in mind when it came to how the film's characters would look. To transform himself into the Mad Hatter, Depp spent hours getting white airbrushed onto his face and skin. Makeup artists then carefully painted on the rest of the details over that, including some crazy and colorful eye makeup, cheek colors, and lips. But Depp also endured having long and wild orange hair glued to his eyebrows, followed by a matching orange wig and the Mad Hatter's signature top hat. The final look is decidedly Tim Burton, but Depp's own personality as the Hatter shines through the makeup in his performance, too.
14 Jennifer Lawrence - "X-Men"
Like the previous Mystique in the X-Men movies, Jennifer Lawrence had to undergo hours in the makeup chair naked. The entire process took eight hours, meaning that Lawrence has the endurance of a saint. Makeup artists had the actress standing most of the time, while they added scales and then three layers of blue paint. But that was only the beginning: another five layers of textured details went on her skin after that. The job took a total of six people working on Lawrence at any given time, but the final result looks stunning on film.
Fortunately, for the makeup artists, Lawrence took it all in stride. "I know that everyone feels sorry for me, but it's so much fun," Lawrence said to Business Insider. "It's like a sleepover, except I'm naked and getting painted."
13 Michael Dorn - "Star Trek: The Next Generation"
When it comes to Star Trek, many actors spend a lot of time in the makeup department getting their alien special effects glued on and their faces painted. Perhaps the most dedicated actor from that franchise, though, is Michael Dorn, who portrayed the Klingon Worf on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Although such makeup wouldn't take as much time now, in the late '80s and early '90s, it took up to seven hours to achieve that perfect Klingon look.
"It's really not all that weird now, because it used to pretty tough, because they used a large amount of glue and makeup," Dorn said in a 1997 interview. "It just was a real process." Fortunately, for Dorn, should he ever return to the role, thanks to the use of less glue, the process is much simpler now.
12 Charlize Theron - "Monster"
The always beautiful Charlize Theron underwent a complete transformation for her role in the movie Monster. Not only did the actress put on quite a bit of weight to become her character, but she also spent time in makeup that made her completely unrecognizable. Gaining the weight was easy: Theron embraced a new love for Krispy Kreme doughnuts and stopped working out. But her face was where the real transformation took place: she wore her hair greasy, plucked out her eyebrows and wore dark contact lenses. Makeup artists used special makeup to alter her complexion and added crooked teeth. The skin discoloration's alone took around an hour. The transformation paid off, though. Combined with Theron's stellar performance, she took home an Academy Award for her trouble.
11 Ron Perlman - "Hellboy"
For the Hellboy movies, actor Ron Perlman not only had to paint himself red, but had to spend a lot of time in the makeup chair while his brilliant artist transformed him into a horned demon. Perlman spent four hours in the makeup trailer every day while artists applied foam prosthetics to his face and body. And the artist, Jake Garber, had to do this every day during filming.
"Ron's makeup was difficult because of the duration," Garber said to How Stuff Works. "I did his makeup 86 times. I was really questioning myself if I could hang out and do the makeup for that long because usually when you do a prosthetic for a film you're either doing it for one or two days for a certain event or you're doing a character that may not be in it for the whole movie. [Prior to Hellboy] the most times I'd ever made up a character was maybe a dozen times."
10 Idris Elba - "Star Trek Beyond"
The normally handsome actor Idris Elba became an alien for the latest sci-fi blockbuster Star Trek Beyond. Every morning before filming, Elba would show up four hours earlier than his co-stars to sit in the makeup chair to get transformed. The prosthetics included two large pieces, along with fake teeth and eyes. But that time spent in makeup was only the beginning of Elba's days on set. After makeup, the actor got to work, often spending up to 18 hours in the heavy pieces. But his day was still not over: Elba spent another hour in the makeup chair having it all removed, although the actor recently admitted that he often just yanked it off, which resulted in him losing some eyebrows in the process.
9 Doug Jones - "Falling Skies"
Doug Jones is the king of actors in makeup. He's worn prosthetics and heavy makeup so much that most fans wouldn't recognize him without it. But it's his turn as the Volm alien Cochise on the Falling Skies TV series that stands out the most, probably because he had to put on all that makeup every single day as part of his job. Cochise required hours of makeup, lots of prosthetics and rubber, all held on by latex and glue, which meant that Jones couldn't see or hear very well while in costume. Jones admits to enjoying the process, though, maybe where other actors would not. The good news is that Jones' mouth as Cochise is free enough to allow him to talk and interact with other actors.
8 Leonardo DiCaprio - "The Revenant"
Although Leonardo DiCaprio's character in The Revenant wasn't an alien or otherworldly being, the character still required a lot of special makeup. The character not only had wounds from a bear attack, but also often needed a look that was frostbitten. And that makeup had to stay on and continue to look good over long filming days, even through extreme weather conditions. Even before the bear attack, DiCaprio's makeup process took a long time.
"His makeup took over 45 minutes as I had to weather his skin and age him as well as paint individual grey hairs in his beard," makeup artist Sian Grigg said to Variety. "The stages were so gradual and subtle. For his neck alone we had seven different prosthetics to transition through each stage of recovery."
7 Ralph Fiennes - "Harry Potter"
Another example of a handsome actor transformed into something horrific is Ralph Fiennes, who portrayed Voldemort, He Who Must Not Be Named, in the Harry Potter movies. To become the ultimate and most evil villain in the wizarding world, Fiennes spent around two and half hours every morning in the makeup chair. Makeup artists painted the actor's face a deathly shade of pale and created everything seen in the final film, save for the red eyes and snake-like nose. Because the actor's performance got combined with CGI, he also had to wear those little "dots" on his face that allows the cameras to do motion capture of his every expression. But Fiennes believed it was worthy it to get into character.
"A certain look that you have helps you locate who you're being," he said to MTV. "You look at yourself in the mirror, you see this face, and you say, 'I know who I am'."
6 Jared Leto - "Suicide Squad"
Jared Leto's performance and look for the Joker in Suicide Squad was controversial, but the actor committed to the role, leaving many crazy stories behind in his wake. The look, though, probably created the most stir among fans, but it wasn't something so casually put together. Behind that new Joker look was makeup artist Alessandro Bertolazzi, who transformed Leto into the tattoo-sporting and grill-wearing Joker seen in the movie.
"When he arrived in the morning, he'd come straight to the makeup department without seeing anyone else and we'd start the process of the transformation," Bertolazzi told The Hollywood Reporter. "The Joker's part of the film, it's like another movie inside Suicide Squad. So we decided to keep him completely separate. He had the whole makeup department and it was just me and him alone for three hours."
5 Zoe Saldana - "Guardians of the Galaxy"
Actress Zoe Saldana totally committed herself to her role in Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy. As Gamora, she endured long hours in the makeup chair, not just getting her face done, but also her entire body. Not only did Saldana get painted green every day, but she also had several prosthetic pieces attached to her face. The prosthetics alone took about two to three hours to apply, followed with the painting and makeup that went over that. The entire process meant that Saldana got very little sleep while working on the production.
"This one [time] I got picked up at three in the morning -- and my dog wasn’t even happy about that," she said to US magazine. "I had to sit for five hours for five months. It was crazy, but it paid off. The movie is fantastic."
4 Helena Bonham Carter - "Planet of the Apes"
Helena Bonham Carter often transforms herself for roles, but probably not as much as she did for her character in Planet of the Apes, a primate. Although some of Carter's face showed through the makeup, she endured hours in a chair, getting a special nose attached and wearing multiple prosthetics all over her body. Although Carter still turned in a fantastic performance, she did admit that working with all that makeup was often tiresome.
"Not only was it nearly impossible to hear because of these huge rubber ears we had to wear, but we also had these huge furry hands which were absolutely useless, especially if you had to scratch yourself somewhere," she said to Cinema.com. "Sometimes it was unbearably hot under the mask and the costume and a lot of the chimp and ape actors were ready to kill at the end of the day's shooting!"
3 Michael Keaton - "Beetlejuice"
Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice! Say it three times and the ghostest with the mostest will suddenly appear. But it's not quite as easy as that, at least for the actor portraying the infamous character from the world of the dead. Michael Keaton spent a lot of time in makeup getting transformed into the character. The original idea for Beetlejuice's look, though, started with a sketch from director Tim Burton. Makeup artists took that concept and turned it into art on Keaton's face, making the actor unrecognizable. Not only did Keaton sport a crazy hairdo, but he also had to wear prosthetics and large teeth. It paid off, though, because Beetlejuice makeup artists Ve Neill, Steve La Porte and Robert Short won the Academy Award for Best Makeup in 1989.
2 Tom Cruise - "Tropic Thunder"
Handsome actors and beautiful actresses often undergo hours in the makeup chair to turn them into completely different people who look nothing like them. Tom Cruise hit the chair for comedy Tropic Thunder and underwent four days of makeup tests, until artists got the look just right. The result is someone we don't even recognize: the balding, overweight, hairy-chested movie producer, Les Grossman.
"I had about a dozen people making the silicone prosthetics for his head, neck, chest, and hands," makeup designer Barney Burman said to Grantland. "We made him special gloves. I did the sculpting, someone else did the molds, someone else was casting them. I had six different people punching hairs into the scalp piece, so his entire head was one-at-a-time, hand-punched hairs; his arms were hand-punched one at a time; his chest was hand-punched."
1 Tim Curry - "Legend"
Tim Curry's transformation to a satanic-looking demon lord in the fantasy film Legend took a whole team of makeup artists to get just right. Curry spent over five hours every day in the makeup chair to get into that character, with multiple pieces of prosthetics that included talons and three-foot horns that often strained his neck. That's commitment and dedication, especially considering the long amount of time on set spent in the makeup, as well as the long amount of time it took to take it all off. Today, such effects are usually CGI, but before that technology existed, actors worked harder than ever to transform into their characters. Curry would later endure a similar process for his turn as Pennywise the Clown in Stephen King's It.