The Most Complex Makeup In 'Guardians Of The Galaxy' Took More Than 4 Hours And A Shaved Head


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Marvel/Jay Maidment

When you head out to see "Guardians of the Galaxy," you'll probably spend a few minutes trying to figure out who the different actors are under their detailed prosthetics.


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Courtesy of David White and Disney/Marvel

A bust of Karen Gillan's head used by the special effects make-up team.

A team of 50 special effects make-up artists made stars from Zoe Saldana to wrestler David Bautista nearly unrecognizable.

However, special effects makeup artist David White tells Business Insider actress Karen Gillan's prosthetic makeup was the "most complex and interesting" to apply.

In the film, Gillan plays blue villain and assassin Nebula who is at odds with the Guardians throughout the movie.


White says it took approximately four hours and 15 minutes to apply her make-up and another 30 minutes to remove.

"The five-piece prosthetic was a puzzle of butt joins and blend offs all on the same pieces and the density of the prosthetic changes to accommodate the need to control the amount of prosthetic movement from one piece to another," White tells us.

White says Gillan's character also required 22 millimeter contact lenses.

Gillan probably underwent one of the biggest transformations for the film. Last year, the "Doctor Who" actress, known for her long red hair, shocked fans when she shaved her head for the role. Gillan debuted the look at San Diego Comic-Con last year by pulling off a wig during the Marvel panel.

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Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Here's Gillan's complete transformation:

karen gillan makeup guardians of the galaxy

Frederick M. Brown/Marvel, BI Composite