Superhero movies have been entertaining us for a long time, presenting us with larger-than-life characters that overcome impossible odds to save the day. The real heroes though, are the actors who don the superhero costumes to bring these comic book legends to life…because the experiences aren’t always pleasant. Here are some examples of actors who have put on the suits, but didn’t particularly enjoy doing so.
Before Jennifer Lawrence achieved global fame by becoming the Mockingjay in The Hunger Games series, she played a young Mystique in 20th Century Fox’s X-Men prequel X-Men: First Class, a role she reprised in X-Men: Days of Future Past and X-Men: Apocalypse. As one can imagine, becoming Mystique can take quite awhile in the dressing room, especially if the production team wants to utilize as many practical effects as possible. But that tends to have an adverse effect on the actress.
Leading up to the release of First Class, a behind-the-scenes featurette revealed that Lawrence had to undergo a seven-hour makeup process every time she needed to appear as Mystique. “I love working with Bryan, and I love these movies,” she told Entertainment Weekly. “It’s just the [body] paint.” When she initially signed on as Mystique, she didn’t care about “fumes and toxins. Now I’m almost 25, and I’m like, ‘I can’t even pronounce this, and that’s going in my nose? I’m breathing that?'”
Luckily for her, that makeup process was cut down to approximately three hours for Days of Future Past, and then again for Apocalypse. For the sequels, she was able to wear a body suit instead of being fully covered in paint.
Ron Perlman has spent a great deal of his career hiding his face under makeup and prosthetics, but of all the roles he’s played, perhaps his most famous was the hero in Guillermo del Toro’s Hellboy movies.
According to makeup artist Jake Garber, “The makeup on Ron [Perlman] was all foam prosthetic pieces. The first piece we applied was a back and chest piece that flipped over his head, went along his jawline and rested on his pectorals; that’s the chest muscles in front of him.” It’s a process that took over four hours to complete, and one that Perlman underwent 86 times for the series’ first movie. Del Toro believes part of the reason Perlman didn’t immediately want to make a third installment is because of the makeup process: “He really grew tired of the makeup in the second film and he was really rubbed the wrong way by those seven-hour sessions.” Still, even though he hated the process, Perlman has admitted to finding gratification in playing Hellboy.
Andrew Garfield played the lead in Sony’s Amazing Spider-Man films, giving us a different look at Peter Parker and his relationship with Gwen Stacy. What Garfield didn’t want us to get a look at was his relationship with the Spider-Man superhero costume and how uncomfortable and unflattering it was. In an interview on The Ellen Degeneres Show, he talked about when he first started shooting the first movie in downtown L.A.; his Spider Sense must have been tingling, because he felt that pictures were being taken of him in the suit. “I knew there were paparazzi taking terrible unflattering shots of my, you know, everything,” lamented Garfield, according to Digital Spy.