Supposedly Hollywood loves superheros, and yet the actors who play them are routinely put through hell. For starters, many of the costumes that look intimidating in the pages of a comic book are absolutely ridiculous in real life. It's incredible that Lynda Carter managed to become a '70s sex symbol while wearing what's essentially a star-spangled diaper and a sparkly tube top, and George Clooney will be fielding questions about Batman's nipples for the rest of his life. However, in addition to potentially career-ending humiliation, the actors who play superheroes face an even bigger obstacle: Wickedly uncomfortable costumes.
Andrew Garfield is the latest actor to endure a torturous shoot as a masked crime fighter. On Ellen, Garfield revealed that his Amazing Spider-Man suit is so tight that he was forced to go commando. Plus, "It's made of something that is designed to make you irritated," he said "I don't know the material name, but that's the description underneath."
Garfield isn't the only superhero suffering these days. On the set of The Avengers, Mark Ruffalo described the indignities of wearing a motion capture suit to play the Hulk. "It was smoky, it was hell and I felt really uncomfortable," he explained. "I’m not well-endowed, and those suits don’t really show you off in the most…"
Scarlett Johansson might have had it even worse. Like Garfield, nothing came between her and the unitard. "They spray paint her suit on in the morning," Ruffalo said. "But she looks good in it." While CGI has advanced leaps and bounds in the past few decades, it seems stepping into superhero garb is as embarrassing as ever for the mere mortals who play them. Here are a few other stars who've suffered a very private kind of pain for their craft. Hopefully having their own action figure (not to mention the hefty paycheck) made it all worth it! Michelle Pfeiffer, Catwoman in Batman Returns In 1996, Michelle Pfeiffer was asked if she had any advice for George Clooney about playing Batman. "I said, 'Make sure they give you a trapdoor in your Batsuit,'" she answered. "They get you in this contraption, and in order to go to the bathroom you have to completely disrobe, and it takes an hour to get it back on." Malin Akerman, Silk Spectre in The Watchmen While Akerman wore one of the skimpiest costumes in comic book history, like Pfeiffer, she encountered some bathroom trouble. "You dread it more and more every day. The first day, it’s exciting and it’s fun, and by the end of it you just want to burn the thing," she said. "In many different ways, they were all uncomfortable. Mine was made out of latex. It’s always freezing, and they were always hot because they had the foam. It would have been [difficult to go to the bathroom], but I figured out the ‘slide to the side’ technique, because there’s no other way. Sorry to get so graphic, but it’s a graphic novel." George Clooney, Batman in Batman and Robin The nipples weren't the only thing about the Batsuit that bothered Clooney — he couldn't even stand up without assistance. “If Batman had to wear the suit that you have to wear, everyone would die,” Clooney joked. “You’re laying on a board and you can’t move and they just prop you up and you’re like, ‘I’m Batman.’” Rebecca Romijn, Mystique in X2: X-Men United Though Rebecca Romijn didn't have to deal with layers of rubber and spandex, she endured with a different kind of discomfort. While playing Mystique, Romijn was essentially nude, aside from a bit of body paint. "I've been in denial about the nudity: 'No, no, I'm VERY covered up,'" she explained. "I kept checking with the rest of the cast, 'You guys, I'm totally covered up, right?' And they'd tell me, 'No, Rebecca, you're naked.' I'm hoping by X3 they can do it digitally. Maybe I won't even have to show up [laughs]. One time, [director] Bryan [Singer] opened the tent where I was literally bent over a chair getting my crack touched up. And I was like, 'Don't come in here, Bryan! You don't need to see this.'" [E!, Huffington Post, XFinity, The Improper, EW]
Theatrics slapstick and cheer are cinematic qualities you rarely find outside the realm of animation. Disney perfected it with their pantheon of cartoon classics mixing music humor spectacle and light-hearted drama that swept up children while still capturing the imaginations and hearts of their parents. But these days even reinterpretations of fairy tales get the gritty make-over leaving little room for silliness and unfiltered glee. Emerging through that dark cloud is Mirror Mirror a film that achieves every bit of imagination crafted by its two-dimensional predecessors and then some. Under the eye of master visualist Tarsem Singh (The Fall Immortals) Mirror Mirror's heightened realism imbues it with the power to pull off anything — and the movie never skimps on the anything.
Like its animated counterparts Mirror Mirror stays faithful to its source material but twists it just enough to feel unique. When Snow White (Lily Collins) was a little girl her father the King ventured into a nearby dark forest to do battle with an evil creature and was never seen or heard from again. The kingdom was inherited by The Queen (Julia Roberts) Snow's evil stepmother and the fair-skinned beauty lived locked up in the castle until her 18th birthday. Grown up and tired of her wicked parental substitute White sneaks out of the castle to the village for the first time. There she witnesses the economic horrors The Queen has imposed upon the people of her land all to fuel her expensive beautification. Along the way Snow also meets Prince Alcott (Armie Hammer) who is suffering from his own money troubles — mainly being robbed by a band of stilt-wearing dwarves. When the Queen catches wind of the secret excursion she casts Snow out of the castle to be murdered by her assistant Brighton (Nathan Lane).
Fairy tales take flack for rejecting the idea of women being capable but even with its flighty presentation and dedication to the old school Disney method Mirror Mirror empowers its Snow White in a genuine way thanks to Collins' snappy charming performance. After being set free by Brighton Snow crosses paths with the thieving dwarves and quickly takes a role on their pilfering team (which she helps turn in to a Robin Hooding business). Tarsem wisely mines a spectrum of personalities out of the seven dwarves instead of simply playing them for one note comedy. Sure there's plenty of slapstick and pun humor (purposefully and wonderfully corny) but each member of the septet stands out as a warm compassionate companion to Snow even in the fantasy world.
Mirror Mirror is richly designed and executed in true Tarsem-fashion with breathtaking costumes (everything from ball gowns to the dwarf expando-stilts to ridiculous pirate ship hats with working canons) whimsical sets and a pitch-perfect score by Disney-mainstay Alan Menken. The world is a storybook and even its monsters look like illustrations rather than photo-real creations. But what makes it all click is the actors. Collins holds her own against the legendary Julia Roberts who relishes in the fun she's having playing someone despicable. She delivers every word with playful bite and her rapport with Lane is off-the-wall fun. Armie Hammer riffs on his own Prince Charming physique as Alcott. The only real misgiving of the film is the undercooked relationship between him and Snow. We know they'll get together but the journey's half the fun and Mirror Mirror serves that portion undercooked.
Children will swoon for Mirror Mirror but there's plenty here for adults — dialogue peppered with sharp wisecracks and a visual style ripped from an elegant tapestry. The movie wears its heart on its sleeve and rarely do we get a picture where both the heart and the sleeve feel truly magical.