LOTR: 5 Characters That Took The Longest Time In Costume/Make Up (& 5 That Took The Shortest)


The Lord of the Rings trilogy required some of the actors to spend a lot of time in the makeup chair, while others had costumes that were more simple.

The Lord of the Rings trilogy remains one of the greatest trilogies in film history, and not only was it embraced by audiences but it went on to win a significant amount of awards. This in large part due to the amazing production design that was featured in every film.

The make-up and costumes of every character fit perfectly into the unique world of Middle Earth and unlike The Hobbit films, here, almost everything is done practically and the results speak for themselves. With this in mind, here are five characters that took the longest amount of time in costuming or make-up, and five that took the shortest.

10 Shortest: Gollum

Gollum & Smeagol

Played by Andy Serkis, Gollum is undoubtedly one of the trilogy’s greatest creations. He also happens to be one of the characters that required the least amount of make-up and costume time.

This is of course because the creature was brought to life through motion capture technology and cutting-edge special effects. This required Serkis to wear the unflattering ping-pong covered onesie, which he has gone on to don many more times.

9 Longest: Frodo

Frodo did the impossible and proved everyone who doubted him wrong by achieving destroying the one ring. Played by Elijah Wood, Frodo is without a doubt the noblest and bravest of all Hobbits. The unique look of the Hobbit was achieved with a wig and prosthetic ears.

But the biggest challenge proved to be the Hobbit’s uniquely large hairy feet. Prosthetics were used to create the feet, which they would slide on and then glue in place. In total, this process took around two hours to complete.

8 Shortest: Saruman

Christopher Lee was transformed into Saruman the White and appeared throughout the trilogy. The evil wizard is the polar opposite of Gandalf and has been corrupted by the Dark Lord.

While not the most dramatic transformation, Lee embodies Saruman due to his excellent costume. With a long flowing beard and hair, the white wizard is far neater and well-kept than his counterpart, Gandalf.

7 Longest: Gimli

John Rhy Davies as Gimli in Lord of the Rings

Actor John Rhys-Davies was transformed into Gimili the Dwarf and is completely unrecognizable. Buried under a vast beard and hair, the actor becomes completely lost.

But beyond the hair, Davies was also required to wear prosthetic make-up on his face, to add more definition and give him the signature Dwarf look. This make-up proved to be a long process to and apply and was also deeply uncomfortable for the actor.

6 Shortest: Boromir

The process of transforming Sean Bean into Boromir was relatively straightforward and simply required the actor to don a wig. Wigs were commonplace during the filming of the trilogy, with virtually ever actor required to wear one.

This proved to be far easier for Bean than the other actors, as the trilogy shoot went on for over 400 days but Boromir was tragically killed by Lurtz at the climax of The Fellowship of the Ring.

5 Longest: Legolas

Legolas proved to be an indispensable member of the fellowship and remained a loyal ally throughout. Portrayed by Orlando Bloom, he was required to don a long blonde wig for the role. In addition to this, he was required to wear contact lenses that irritated his eyes.

To top off the Elven look, he wore prosthetic pointed ears. While certainly not the longest make-up to apply, when compared to some others on this list, Bloom did his fair share of time in the make-up chair.

4 Shortest: King Théoden

Benard Hill did not require an extensive amount of make-up to transform him into the noble King Théoden. But this was not always the case, as the character previously appeared in an altogether different form.

Théoden proved to be one of the greatest leaders in Middle-Earth, inspiring his men and leading them into battle against the forces of Sauron. This resulted in his death, though he inspired his daughter to join the fight.

3 Longest: King Théoden (Cursed)

Gandalf frees Theoden in Two Towers

The extensive make-up required to transform Bernard Hill into the cursed King Théoden required the actor to spend nine hours in the make-up chair. In addition to this, he was required to wear contact lenses that turned his eyes milky-white.

This elaborate make-up resulted in a king that truly does look cursed. Appearing in Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, Hill is unrecognizable. His transformation back into his old self remains one of the greatest scenes in the trilogy.

2 Shortest: Aragorn

Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn in Two Towers

When compared to many other characters, very little was required of Virgo Mortensen to be transformed into Aragorn. Where other actors had complex prosthetics to worry about, all that was required of Mortensen was a shoulder-length black wig.

His costume, too, is relatively simple. Where others had long flowing robes, Aragorn’s clothes are altogether more simple and practical.

1 Longest: Lurtz

Lurtz arguably required the most amount of make-up of any character in the series. The process to create the hulking Uruk-hai was a grueling process that took 11 hours to apply. This required actor Lawrence Makoare to come to set far before anyone else to begin the long and arduous process of applying the make-up.

If that wasn’t bad enough, the prosthetics also took a long time to remove without damaging them. The results are astonishing, and add a sense of realism to the fantasy epic that CGI simply could not do.

NEXT: Lord Of The Rings: 10 Weird Inconsistencies In The Original Trilogy


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About The Author

Daniel is a writer based in the UK. He studied at the University of Sunderland and is a big fan of movies and tv.

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