Marvel Cinematic Universe — The Heroes Behind Masks (and CGI)

Everybody knows the key faces of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. There’s RDJ, all the Chrises, Scarlet, Ruffalo, etc. etc. etc. But what about the faces of the people who had to wear masks the entire time? Or people whose characters were entirely CGIed. Or people who had to wear crazy prosthetics during the entire movie production? This article is about them — the heroes behind masks in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
 
 
Ronan — Lee Pace
The son of Thor, Ronan, was depicted in the MCU movies by Lee Pace, whom you might be able to recognize as the elf from The Hobbit who got to ride a moose.

 
Yondu Udonta — Michael Rooker
Star Lord’s foster parent, guardian, and father figure, Yondu Udonta, was played by the actor Michael Rooker. You may have seen him before on shows like The Walking Dead and movies like Cliffhanger. Michael Rooker has starred in over 45 movies and TV shows, and in nearly all of them he is cast as a villain with a good heart or a hero with a dark side. So, definitely perfect casting for the character of Yondu.


Vision — Paul Bettany
Paul Bettany had the time of his life voicing J. A. R. V. I. S. in the Iron Man movies and the first Avengers movie. He would come in, read some lines in his own voice, get paid, and leave. That was the extent of his job. So when the time came to actually play a character, in real life, with his body — he was rather annoyed. And it’s one thing to just play a character in a movie, it’s another thing when to prepare for the role your entire face has to be painted red and a prosthetic is applied to your face so that your forehead can have an Infinity Stone in it.

 
Red Skull — Hugo Weaving & Ross Marquand
Red Skull, the Nazi skeleton who had most of his skin burned off and walked around like a red monstrosity trying to figure out the most effective way to terrorize the world, was played by two actors. Over the course of his appearances in the MCU he was portrayed by Hugo Weaving (The Matrix, Lord of the Rings) and Ross Marquand (The Walking Dead).


Ultron — James Spader
James Spader did the voice acting and motion capture for Ultron, the villain of the second Avengers movie. Before taking on the role of Ultron, James Spader could be seen in classic movies like Pretty in Pink, or TV shows like The Office (US), Blacklist, and Stargate.

 
Nebula — Karen Gillan
Of all the characters in the MCU, the facial prosthetics that were necessary to give Karen Gillan that Nebula look were the most difficult. The crew says so themselves. It would take 4 hours every day to apply makeup and prosthetics to Karen’s face, and then it would take between 1 and 2 hours to take it all off once the filming was done. The actress had to cut off her hair for the role (not all of it, but definitely most of it) as well.


Thanos — Josh Brolin
Josh Brolin is one of the few actors who appeared in both the Disney side of Marvel movies and the Sony side of marvel movies. Some of you might recognize Thanos’s face as the face of Cable from Deadpool 2! Same actor! During each of his roles as Thanos in the MCU, Josh Brolin had to wear facial prosthetics to give him that Thanos look. The most attentive fans may have noticed that Thanos’s skin changed color a little between the post-credits scenes of Phase 2 MCU movies and the final Infinity War/Endgame movies.

 
Korg — Taika Waititi
Not only did Taika Waititi write and direct Thor Ragnarok, he also did a little cameo in the movie as the rocky alien Korg. Waititi’s NZ accent made the delivery of every funny line by Korg even better. There’s something about the cadence and rhythm of a New Zealand accent that makes it perfect for delivering deadpan jokes.
Needless to say, Korg also appeared in Avengers: Endgame for a few brief moments alongside Thor.


Ayesha — Elizabeth Debicki
A lot of the plot of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 revolves around the mission that was given to the Guardians by Ayesha. She was played by Elizabeth Debicki, who also starred in Widows, the TV show The Night Manager, and The Man From U. N. C. L. E.

 
Talos — Ben Mendelsohn
In Captain Marvel, the green alien Talos was played by Ben Mendelsohn. Mendelsohn also started in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Bloodline, and the recent film adaptation of Robin Hood. During the production of Captain Marvel, Mendessohn had to wear prosthetic makeup which he found to be very uncomfortable. However, in the end, the villain-turned-ally of the Captain Marvel movie was a memorable addition to the big roster of interplanetary species of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.


Rocket — Bradley Cooper
Until Teenage Groot became a thing in the second Guardians of the Galaxy the world was split pretty evenly between people who preferred Groot and people who preferred Rocket. This little raccoon was voiced by Bradley Cooper. This little raccoon’s facial expressions also were created by Bradley Cooper (and a very, very skilled team of CGI engineers). Bradley was able to give this character a memorable persona with his voice acting and emotive facial expressions.

 
Groot — Vin Diesel
It’s widely known that Vin Diesel voiced Groot. He had to say “I am Groot” over and over and over again in different voices. Each voice and each change in intonation meant something different in the language of Groot. The more I think about it, the more it seems like maybe Groot is a Pokemon? He can only say his name after all.
Sorry, I got off topic there. What I was leading towards is that unlike Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel voiced Groot in many more languages other than just English. In fact, he voiced Groot in 15 different languages.



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