Behind the 22,500 Facial Prosthetics in “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3”

Marvel Studios / Jessica Miglio

On May 5, Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” released in theaters and broke the world record for the largest prosthetic-makeup film in history. (The previous owner of that record? The 2000 holiday movie “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”)

For “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3,” the numbers speak for themselves: more than 22,500 prosthetic appliances, 500 wigs, 130 facial hair pieces, and 117 pairs of contact lenses were used to transform a cast of 100 principal actors and 1,000 background artists. The masterminds behind the magic were three-times Emmy-winning makeup-department head Alexei Dmitriew and award-winning hair-department head Cassie Russek. Rather than relying on CGI, they took on the awe-inspiring yet daunting job of utilizing practical special-effects makeup to get the viewer to another world.

“I spent the summer of 2021 going through all of the assets Marvel had from Guardians 1 and 2,” Dmitriew says. “My job was to look through 55 pallets’ worth of molds and assets and see what we could use for inspiration or reference.” Russek did the same, respectively, for hair.

The result is, as you could imagine, out of this world. Ahead, Dmitriew and Russek give us a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the SFX makeup and hair in “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.”

Related: Confessions of a Movie Prosthetics Designer

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