A-list actors are so dedicated to their role they’re often willing to undergo a complete transformation to get into character.
Following the makeover, actors often become completely unrecognizable, and the same can be said for Charlize Theron. She gained 30lb and wore dentures to transform into her role portraying real-life serial killer Aileen Wuornos.
To celebrate Charlize Theron’s 47th birthday today, August 8, let’s take a look at her role in Patty Jenkins’ feature film debut, Monster.
Theron gained 30lb and donned dentures for Monster role
Charlize Theron transformed entirely for her role in 2003 film Monster playing prostitute and killer Aileen Wuornos. For the role she gained 30lb, wore contact lenses to change her eye color from blue to brown and had to wear dentures to portray stained and rotting teeth.
Charlize didn’t wear a wig to portray the dry bleached hair of Aileen Wuornos. Instead, she underwent a long hair-thinning session. Her hairstylist, Katie Swanson, made her hair look unwashed, dead and greasy for the role.
With no prosthetic make-up apart from on her eyelids, the change was a real-life and physical one. Before her acting career, Charlize was a model in New York, so portraying such a drastically different character was a transformation that went way beyond make-up.
Charlize Theron’s transformation explored
The actress also had her eyebrows partly shaved and bleached for the role to better frame her face. According to The Makeup Gallery, translucent washes of tattoo ink were also used to give her skin a different complexion and a green marble sealant was used to create texture.
The dentures were implemented by Art Sakamoto and used to push out her mouth to replicate Aileen’s teeth. To do this, Sakamoto took a dental impression and painted the discolouration and detail onto the dentures by hand. A month before shooting began, Charlize practised speaking with dentures and reading her lines while wearing them.
“I think I’ve tried most of my career to transform myself into characters. This was just more extreme. I had about three months to gain weight. We never discussed it like, ‘I’m gonna put on 30lb’ because I wasn’t trying to look fat. It wasn’t that hard. I just didn’t say ‘no’ to Krispy Kreme doughnuts or anything that was full of cream. I also gave up exercising,” Charlize said while promoting the film on The Tonight Show.
Theron earns Oscar for unrecognizable role as killer
Theron’s transformative performance earned her an Oscar. During her acceptance speech for best actress, she said: “This has been such an incredible year. I can’t believe this.” She went on to thank the cast and crew who worked on the film, along with her friends and family.