Old Age Makeup in the Movies: The Good, the Bad and the LOL

Old Age Makeup in the Movies: The Good, the Bad and the LOL

If you saw Clint Eastwood's J. Edgar this past weekend, and many of you didn't since it only came in fifth at the box office to the tune of $11.2 million, then you were forced to look at some of the strangest old age makeup jobs in recent film history. We aren't talking about Naomi Watts's old lady latex, or even the believable work that was done on Leonardo DiCaprio to turn him into the bulldog FBI head Hoover. It was Armie Hammer's appearance as Hoover's companion Clyde Tolson that weirded us out the most.

True, it's not easy to make someone look believably aged, but sometimes the efforts to turn a strapping hunk in his mid-twenties into a gray, wrinkled sack of bones fail and viewers are distracted from the story, looking instead at rubbery jowls and wispy hair. This was the case with J. Edgar, and many, many other films featuring flash-forward views of main players.

Michael J. Fox in Back to the Future II
Michael J. Fox in Back to the Future II

Take Michael J. Fox, pictured here in the futuristic scenes in Back to the Future II, with the artists assuming that Fox would look like utter shit at the age of 47. Obviously Fox, who turned 50 this year, looks amazing for his age today. Maybe the makeup department and director Robert Zemeckis were trying to convey that the future would suck the life out of you, to the point where you look like a postapocalyptic mutant?

Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence in 1999's prison comedy Life
Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence in 1999's prison comedy Life

I admit I have always had a soft spot for this underperforming comedy. The cast is fun, the writing is simple and it has its heart in the right place. Over the course of the film, the cast members journey from 1932 to 1997, and the art department goes out of the way to uglify Murphy and Lawrence. Hopefully the duo won't age this bad in reality. Murphy at age 50 looks better than some people half his age.

Dustin Hoffman in Little Big Man
Dustin Hoffman in Little Big Man

Hoffman plays a 121-year-old man in this 1970 film about the life of a white boy raised by a Cheyenne tribe. We have four decades to see if Hoffman, now 74, will look like the toxic-waste damaged dude from Robocop.

Winona Ryder in Edward Scissorhands
Winona Ryder in Edward Scissorhands

This was a reasonable makeup job, but then again of course it was with Stan Winston on staff, already working on Johnny Depp's title character. Ryder's makeup is not over the top, and it has the right amount of believability to it, opting for less appliances and not packing goop on her face and hands.

Russell Crowe in A Beautiful Mind
Russell Crowe in A Beautiful Mind

Strangely enough, Crowe's fogey makeup in 2001's Oscar winner was close to what the real John Nash aged into. Co-star Jennifer Connelly was a different story. She sorta resembled what a wax figure of an old Jennifer Connelly will look like in an abandoned wax museum in 2076.

The Potter kids in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
The Potter kids in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2

You would think wizards would use their powers to progressively look more like Greek gods as they got older. Look at the poor bastard Rupert Grint, and we have total faith that Emma Watson will outfox Helen Mirren when she herself is 65.

Brad Pitt in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Brad Pitt in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

The team working on this decades-spanning reverse-aging David Fincher flick got to de-age Brad Pitt as the picture went on. Their projections of an old Pitt don't look too rubbery or stilted. There was a heavy use of CGI, but overall this one is a winner. What was cool was how at the end of the film they managed to return him to his young and lithe Thelma & Louise self. If Pitt ages as well as the movie depicts, he may have a few more Sexiest Man Alive covers under his belt for the next few decades.

Lindsay Lohan in Yet Another Courtroom Appearance
Lindsay Lohan in Yet Another Courtroom Appearance

The makeup department working on Lindsay Lohan's upcoming feature, Haggard Ex-Starlet Bashed in Face with Two By Four, are already hearing Oscar buzz for their work on the star, as these released publicity stills show.


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