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22 Facts About The "Harry Potter" Movie Makeup You Probably Never Knew

Aunt Marge actually inflated.

This is Mark Coulier. He's a makeup artist with two Oscars, two BAFTAs, a ton of amazing credits — and he worked on all eight Harry Potter movies.

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He recently dropped by BuzzFeed to turn us into zombies, and while he was here, we picked his brain (haha) about his experience working on the magical films.

Macey J. Foronda for BuzzFeed

1. The underwater scenes from Goblet of Fire were "really intense," and so was the makeup. The gills Harry grows after eating the Gillyweed took about an hour and a half to apply and were made of silicone.

"[Dan's] underwater swimming in a real tank, and just to get one shot was amazing. There’d be, like, 20 divers underwater. One would be moving bubbles out of his hair and off his face... You wouldn’t believe the difficulty of getting just one shot," Coulier told BuzzFeed.
Warner Bros.

"[Dan's] underwater swimming in a real tank, and just to get one shot was amazing. There’d be, like, 20 divers underwater. One would be moving bubbles out of his hair and off his face... You wouldn’t believe the difficulty of getting just one shot," Coulier told BuzzFeed.

2. The interior gill filaments were made out of silk so they would flow nicely and billow underwater.

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"We did so many tests for that, on both Dan and his double."

3. But doing Daniel Radcliffe's makeup was a lot of fun.

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"Dan Radcliffe’s a good laugh, we had a lot of fun with him. He was a kid when we first started to film, he was 11 or so, and grew up around all of us. And by the time we’d done, you had this 16-, 17-year-old little git. We were always making fun of him, telling jokes."

4. Ralph Fiennes only had his Voldemort makeup applied 60 to 70 total times throughout all the movies.

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5. And 40 to 50 of those applications were in the two final films alone.

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6. It took three people two hours to apply his makeup every time — which is actually pretty quick.

"That was our time limit in the chair with Ralph: We were allowed two hours, which is why we had three people do it."
Warner Bros.

"That was our time limit in the chair with Ralph: We were allowed two hours, which is why we had three people do it."

7. Voldemort's makeup included eyebrow blockers, a "little intricate paint job all over him," darkening of the eyes, and a lot of vein transfers — aka temporary tattoos — as well as fake teeth and fingernails.

"We did want him to look very snake-like."
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"We did want him to look very snake-like."

8. His famously creepy nose was all CGI, and it took a while to decide whether or not they wanted his nose removed or not.

"There was a big conversation about whether or not they wanted to have his nose removed or not. That took a while to work out."
Warner Bros.

"There was a big conversation about whether or not they wanted to have his nose removed or not. That took a while to work out."

9. Partly because they wanted to use as much of Ralph's real face as possible, so he was still recognizable.

Eamonn M. McCormack / Getty Images
Warner Bros.

"When they’re paying that kind of money for a major star, you don’t want to cover him up so he’s unrecognizable. And Ralph’s got such a striking look that we wanted to use him and not have the makeup be too intrusive."

10. And Fiennes loved the makeup.

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"He loved looking at kids on set, and if he could make them cry, he would look over and give me a little smile. He's great."

11. It took about 20 people four whole months to build Aunt Marge's inflatable suit in Prisoner of Azkaban.

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12. And most of that scene is actually real — there isn't much CGI.

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"The CGI bit is the flying and wire removal bit. She was on a big wire rig being lifted into the air — it was really complicated. But most of it is real."

13. The suit required three stages of prosthetics, pumps, de-gassing chambers, and large inflatable bladders.

"We made a bladder for her face, and we sculpted one that looked like her, and stuck that over the balloon on her face and blew that up. That’s what you see when she first inflates. We did a second stage where we sculpted the inflated bit, and then reinflated it a bit more. Then we did a third stage and she’s fully inflated."
Warner Bros.

"We made a bladder for her face, and we sculpted one that looked like her, and stuck that over the balloon on her face and blew that up. That’s what you see when she first inflates. We did a second stage where we sculpted the inflated bit, and then reinflated it a bit more. Then we did a third stage and she’s fully inflated."

14. The prop they made for Aragog's dead body took 15 to 20 people about six months to make.

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15. It weighed around one ton and was the size of a small car, and they needed a crane to shift it on set.

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16. Even though it never moved during the funeral scene, the spider had to be jointed because they wanted to change the positions during filming. So it could, technically, move.

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17. Ciarán Hinds, who played Aberforth Dumbledore, was made up extensively to look more like Michael Gambon, who played his brother, Albus Dumbledore.

Robin Marchant / Getty Images
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18. After some concept designing, Coulier sculpted Gambon's nose, a full forehead piece, and exact prosthetic replicas of Gambon's eye bags on Hinds.

Warner Bros.
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19. Coulier especially wanted to nail Gambon's unique eyebrows. He used the forehead piece to shift Hinds' eyebrows up, and punched every eyebrow hair into the piece. He copied every one of Gambon's eyebrow hairs as closely as possible.

"Michael Gambon's got pretty high eyebrows. It’s a very distinctive feature and they’re long and gray and bushy, and Ciarán Hinds doesn't have eyebrows like that at all... It worked pretty well. We didn't want them to look identical, but like brothers."
Warner Bros.

"Michael Gambon's got pretty high eyebrows. It’s a very distinctive feature and they’re long and gray and bushy, and Ciarán Hinds doesn't have eyebrows like that at all... It worked pretty well. We didn't want them to look identical, but like brothers."

20. Coulier initially made some prosthetic noses for Alan Rickman as Professor Snape, but in the end they decided not to use a fake.

"They decided he was gonna be in every movie and they didn't want to put him through the torture of having prosthetics on. He was great — Alan was great."
Warner Bros.

"They decided he was gonna be in every movie and they didn't want to put him through the torture of having prosthetics on. He was great — Alan was great."

21. Gambon was a blast to work with. He used to come back from lunch and put chips in his fake beard as a joke.

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"He’s such a great guy. He used to have a lot of fun with [his makeup and hair team]. He’d do the funniest stuff."

22. But Coulier is unsure who made the decision to tie Dumbledore's beard.

Warner Bros.

"I actually don't know who made that decision."

To see some of Coulier's more recent work, check out Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, available on DVD and Blu-ray now.

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