Behind the scenes of Lord Voldemort make up

I was going to write another blog on double make ups but I thought it would be interesting to jump back into the world of Harry Potter again…and to He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named!

Way back on Harry Potter & the Philosophers Stone (14 years ago now!) I was working for Nick Dudman in the creatures department, The main job I was given on the first film was working on the Goblin bank sequence which turned out to be an incredible experience for myself and the rest of us.

Late on in the film schedule the producers had asked us to look at seeing if we could make Voldemort as a silicone prosthetic which obviously we jumped at the chance to produce such an iconic character.

Even though we filmed for just over two weeks for the sequence involving Voldemort killing Harry’s parents, the producers & director decided not to reveal Voldemort’s appearance on camera (which was a real shame as the make up we made looked as creepy as hell!)

4 years later we got the opportunity to redo him for the Goblet of Fire. Originally I wasn’t involved at all in the beginning on the character as I was full on with Mad Eye Moody but in between shooting I got to sculpt up some concept heads along with Mark Coulier & Julian Murray.

The producers wanted Voldemort’s nose to be removed to give him that snake like appearance and asked if it could be done practically, so even though we knew it was fairly impossible we went ahead and sculpted a version which of course they rejected! :)


As we got closer to shooting Voldemort I became more and more involved with the character, we tested and tested the various looks and vein work that was required for the make up on one of our crew members Dave. We realised that it would be fairly impossible to airbrush those vein patterns every day onto Ralph Fiennes head, arms & body so we devised a series of tattoo transfers to cover those areas.

In the photograph you can see the amount of vein tattoo’s that were made (which was a continuity nightmare!)

The only prosthetic appliances that were made were for Ralph’s eyebrows as he only shaved his head for the role. These ‘EyeBrow Blockers’ were made in gelatine.

The whole process took a little over 3 hours each day. We usually started with a fresh head shave to get rid of any stubble shadow, then we based out his head and body with Rice Paper Skin Illustrator (due to the amount of airbrushing we did at that stage we used fan extractors to remove all the fumes out of the room!) I would then apply one side of the eyebrow blockers and Mark Coulier would do the other. Then mark and myself would apply the transfer tattoo’s and paint and blend all the colours together. We used a camouflage cream called Veil which finally blended everything together.

I was only involved in the Goblet of Fire film for lord Voldemort as in the Order of the Phoenix I was applying Mad Eye Moody again which over lapped Voldemort’s days on set.

The Graveyard sequence took around 12 days to shoot and is still one of the best and most rewarding Prosthetic make ups I’ve ever been involved with, and such an iconic character to have worked on.

I hope you enjoy the pictures and my reminiscing…

Till next time :)