The magic of cinema knows no bounds. We’re all used to watching actors take on roles to become someone else, but what about when their characters have to be someone different? Disguises in films can vary from the ordinary to the extraordinary and you’ll spot them in lots of genres. We’ve picked some of our favourites.
You can’t write about film disguises without mentioning this classic troupe. It’s used in a wide array of movies. From the Dark Knight Rises to 101 Dalmatians. You’ll see characters swiftly done into uniforms, hoping to go unnoticed by whoever it is they’re trying to fool. It has varying levels of success. It makes for an easy costume, though.
You can easily replicate it yourself by getting some work gloves and overalls. The fake moustache is up to you.
OK, so sadly this one isn’t manageable in really life but it’s definitely worth a mention. In the Harry Potter films we see a few instances of Polyjuice potion. Harry and Ron change into Crabbe and Goyle. Hermione turned into a cat. It’s also used as a plot twist in the Goblet of Fire. Its most iconic use is arguably in the Deathly Hallows Part 1. Where we see seven people all turn into Harry Potter. It’s magical, surreal, and proves to be very effective.
Horror films implement disguises a lot and have created some iconic costumes as a result. From the ghost mask in Scream, to Silence of the Lambs and Hannibal Lecter’s mask. There’s more to these looks than just wanting to scare the audience. When you start breaking down the disguises, there can be a lot of hidden representation behind them. You can copy these horror looks yourself – depending on what your budget is.
Despite CGI, prosthetics are still sought-after in the film industry. It can be used to create fantasy creatures like the Orcs in Lord of the Rings. Or it’s used for realistic effects, like Gary Oldman being made to look like Winston Churchill in the Darkest Hour. Perhaps the most-well loved example would be Robin Williams becoming Mrs Doubtfire. Prosthetics is such an art-work and unless you’ve got the right training – not to mention patience – you probably can’t do it your next costume party.
Superheroes are well known for their iconic looks. Superman’s red cape, Captain America’s shield Wonder Woman and her golden lasso. It’s easy for you to replicate these looks at a party. However, turns out superheroes aren’t great at disguising themselves in their regular life.
From magical potions to Hollywood prosthetics – film disguises are so impressive and add so much to the storytelling. You can even try out some for yourself. What’s your favourite film disguise?