Leonardo DiCaprio looks very old in J. Edgar. It’s a nice bit of movie magic. But how did they do it?
DiCaprio spend 6 to 7 hours a day getting makeup applied. And a lot of prosthetics. We’re talking fake teeth, a bald cap, a device to reshape his nostril, latex body pads, colored contacts and layers of silicone lined on his face.
Leo even used the makeup to his advantage. For older J. Edgar Hoover, Leo had to wear upper and lower prosthetics for his mouth. For one of the scenes in which he played young Hoover, Leo asked to wear the lower prosthetic to help with his speech.
See, Hoover was known for his bulldog jaw and terrible teeth. That’s why Leo wore prosthetics to push out his jaw, and alter his voice and speech.
As for his hair as old Hoover Leo wore a full bald cap with individual hairs punched into it. A toupee was glued on top of that and the two were fused together. For Leo’s eyes, he actually wore two layered contacts. Brown contacts were laid over yellowed contacts that aged Leo’s eyes.
Super soft silicone was applied all over DiCaprio’s face as well. They were hard to apply for the makeup artists, as they’re kind of like Jello, so that the silicone moves like real skin. They not only had to affect his skin, they had to change Leo’s nose. Hoover had a protruded nose because of a boil he suffered when he was young, so DiCaprio had an augmenter inserted into one of his nostrils to change the shape a little.
So now when you’re sitting in that theater watching J. Edgar and wondering how they changed Leonardo DiCaprio into a 70-year old man you can impress your friends. That’s the power of movie magic. [THR]